Fleeing Haitians Trapped between Colombia and the Texas Border
The multiple crises in Haiti have led thousands of men, women and children to flee the country.
Like in Old West movies, the world saw U.S. border guards herding Haitian immigrants trying to enter the country. Since the weekend of Sept. 19, more than 13,000 refugees and illegal immigrants remain in a border town in the state of Texas. More than 1,500 have been deported to Haiti, amid questioning by human rights organizations and the resignation of the United States special envoy to Haiti.
On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Daniel Foote left office and criticized what he considers "an inhumane decision" by the government and what he described as "deeply flawed."
‘’I will not be associated with the United States' inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the dangers posed by armed gangs in control of daily life,’’ he said in his message to U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
The State Department criticized Foote for resigning under the current circumstances.
“It is regrettable that, instead of engaging in a solution-oriented political process, Special Envoy Foote has resigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
The human tragedy in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has unleashed a massive exodus of its inhabitants, who have sought to reach the United States in different ways. One of them includes the dangerous passage through the Darien jungle, on the border between Colombia and Panama, on an inexplicable route. There, in the Colombian town of Necoclí, thousands of Haitians have been waiting for conditions to continue to Central America.
Colombian Ombudsman Carlos Camargo, warned on Thursday, Sept. 23, that “in monitoring and following up on the migratory crisis in the municipality of Necoclí, we have been able to verify that about 19,000 migrants are being held in detention in this municipality, bound for Acandí, Chocó, for its transit to the border with Panama.”
Not all are Haitians, but the majority are. There are also Cubans, Venezuelans and Africans.
The official explained that two legal maritime transport companies sell 500 tickets a day to reach the other side of the border through the Caribbean, as agreed by the Foreign ministries of Panama and Colombia. He revealed that as of the departure date of Oct. 13, 11,500 tickets have been sold.
Those who have not been able to buy the tickets venture to travel at dawn in illegal boats. Meanwhile, the conditions in Necoclí worsen, since there is no infrastructure to attend to the migrants and their basic needs. The collapse of the only hospital has also been reported.