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Colombia, Acandi, 2021-10-29. Haitian migrants trek through the Darien Gap towards the border with Panama. Photograph by Yader Guzman / Hans Lucas Colombie, Acandi, 2021-10-29. Des migrants haitiens traversent le Darien Gap en direction de la frontiere avec le Panama.

REUTERS/ Yader Guzman / Hans Lucas

Panama pledges to mind the gap

Newly inaugurated Panamanian President José Raúl Mulinopledged this week to stop illegal migration through the Darién Gap, a harrowing swath of jungle along his country’s border with Colombia.

Last year, more than half a million people crossed the Darién headed northward through Central America to the US southern border.

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Presidential candidate Jose Raul Mulino arrives at a campaign rally, in Panama City, Panama, April 10, 2024.

REUTERS/Aris Martinez

Panama’s wild election approaches

This weekend, Panamanians will elect a president after a roller-coaster campaign period that has featured a dog with an X (formerly Twitter) account and a popular former president hiding in the storage room of a foreign embassy.

The country’s most popular politician, Ricardo Martinelli, is a charismatic populist supermarket tycoon known as “the crazy one” who oversaw a mini economic boom in Panama when he was president from 2009 to 2014.

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