WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
19 Dec 2023 | Video

Migrants in Colombia. Between Government Absence and Criminal Control

Sergio Ortiz Borbolla/WOLA

Before dawn in the seaside town of Necoclí, Colombia, toddlers from Venezuela run back and forth along a crowded sidewalk, playing as their preoccupied parents watch over them, clutching waterproof bags with their identity documents and day packs with all of their belongings. Along with several adults from Haiti, families from Ecuador, and many others, they wait to board a packed speedboat operating with a criminal group’s permission. It will take them across the Gulf of Urabá to the stretch of jungle in Panama that connects South and Central America, known as the Darién gap. There, they will walk 60 miles, one of the most dangerous segments of a 3,000-mile journey to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they hope to turn themselves in to U.S. authorities and ask for asylum.