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Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega facilitates an air route that enables migrants from diverse regions to bypass the perilous Darien Gap jungle, opting for a faster journey to the United States. Recent incidents, such as the grounding of an Indian plane in France carrying 303 passengers bound for Nicaragua, shed light on the escalating trend.

Migration expert Manuel Orozco reveals that the Nicaraguan government actively supports a network of international air services, streamlining travel for migrants aiming to reach the US-Mexico border swiftly. Orozco emphasizes that the government’s involvement in this migration route is not only intentional but also serves to generate revenue through visa fees, tourist cards, and landing taxes.

Despite an Airbus A340 being detained in Paris amid suspicions of human trafficking, investigations confirmed the passengers willingly sought the journey, with Indian police disclosing substantial payments made to agents facilitating their passage to the US southern border.

Nicaragua’s role as a pivotal transit point becomes evident as migrants, having gained prior approval, enter the country and subsequently embark on an overland journey through Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico to reach the US border, avoiding the hazards of the notorious Darien Gap. This strategic route has gained popularity, especially among Cuban and Haitian migrants since the removal of visa requirements in 2021.

Migrant statistics from Honduras underscore a five-fold increase in arrivals from countries like Guinea, China, Senegal, India, Afghanistan, and Angola, highlighting Nicaragua’s emergence as a vital springboard for diverse populations seeking an alternative route to the US.

As the International Organization for Migration observes a notable shift in migration patterns, with more Cuban and African migrants opting for air routes, regional dynamics are changing. The impact extends to neighboring countries like El Salvador, which imposes an airport transit fee on specific nationalities, directing a significant portion of these travelers towards Nicaragua.

Colombia notes a surge in African migrants, particularly from Turkey, using Nicaragua as a gateway, emphasizing the population’s financial means to secure air travel and their strategic avoidance of the perilous Darien Gap.

As the migration crisis evolves, Nicaragua stands as a key player in reshaping the routes taken by global migrants seeking a faster, albeit controversial, path to the United States.

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