President Rodrigo Chaves will travel to Panama on October 6th and 7th for meetings with President Laurentino Cortizo focused on addressing the migrant crisis unfolding in the Darien Gap region along their shared border.
After discussions between the leaders, Chaves and Cortizo plan to visit a migrant camp on the Panamanian side that provides humanitarian aid to the influx traversing the perilous Darien jungle seeking to reach North America.
Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez stated the visit will allow Presidents Chaves and Cortizo to engage directly with migrants and demonstrate joint efforts between the two nations to handle significant population flows.
Rodriguez noted the trip aligns with Costa Rica’s commitment to the U.S. to maintain safe, orderly migration while respecting national sovereignty. Chaves will depart for Panama on October 5th.
Over the weekend, Panama’s Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino met his Costa Rican counterpart Mario Zamora. Both countries aim to establish concrete measures to alleviate pressures from record numbers crossing the Darien Gap this year.
Data shows over 390,000 migrants, primarily from Venezuela and Ecuador, have entered Panama through the lawless jungle in 2022 thus far. The sheer volume has strained resources and services in border regions.
Minister Rodriguez acknowledged limited capabilities to manage an unprecedented situation. The large migrant presence has burdened local communities like Paso Canoas, where residents have protested negative impacts on security, health services, and more.
By witnessing realities firsthand and coordinating responses, Presidents Cortizo and Chaves hope to mitigate fallout while upholding migrant protections. Their discussions will address deploying resources efficiently and securing international assistance.
With migration flows expected to remain high in coming years, experts call the leaders’ engagement a positive step. But successfully balancing border stability and compassionate policies will require sustained regional cooperation and aid from developed nations.
As nearby transit hubs, Panama and Costa Rica’s futures are intertwined. Joint strategies arising from Chaves’ upcoming visit can set the tone for the cooperative spirit needed to confront mounting shared challenges.