The presidents of Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic called on the United States Wednesday to take “concrete measures” to curb the migration of Haitians across Latin America headed for the US border.
Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo said the movement of large numbers of Haitians across Central America is an “unsustainable problem.”
“This is a regional problem, the solutions must be regional and we expect the United States to participate much more effectively,” he said, after a meeting with his Costa Rican and Dominican counterparts — Carlos Alvarado and Luis Abinader, respectively — in Panama City.
The leaders insisted on the need to involve the United States and the United Nations in a push for investment in Haiti, in particular in public infrastructures that could generate jobs and spur economic development in a country plagued by poverty, violence and institutional crises.
“We believe that the international community must carry out a series of coordinated actions in Haiti, and we are proposing a roadmap,” said Alvarado.
Last week, US Under Secretary for Civil Security and Human Rights Uzra Zeya visited Haiti and Panama, where she called for the flow of migrants to be stemmed across the Darien jungle border between Panama and Colombia, which has become a corridor for migration.
According to official Panamanian figures, more than 107,000 people crossed the Darien Gap in 2021 to reach Central America on their way to the United States.
That was almost as many as in the previous six years. Panamanian authorities estimate that 150,000 migrants take the dangerous route, where criminal groups are rampant, every year.
Featured photo: A Haitian man crosses the Rio Grande to the encampment on the Del Rio, Texas, side of the border from Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila state, Mexico on September 21, 2021.