The Central America Route is characterised by people moving from the northern Central America countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (sometimes referred to as the ‘Northern Triangle’) to the United States, as well as from Nicaragua both northward to the United States as well as to Costa Rica.
Several interconnected economic and social root causes, as well as humanitarian crises, including systemic lack of opportunity, insecurity caused by gangs and organised crime, the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impacts of climate change, have forced nearly 600,000 people from this region to flee their homes.
Increasingly, migrants and asylum seekers from further south and from the Caribbean also transit through Central America. This year, well over 150,000 men, women and children have crossed from through the Darien Gap, with the United States as their final destination. Just in September 2022, 48,204 entries were registered (+89% with respect to September 2021), with migrants and asylum seekers mainly coming from Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador, and Cuba. Over 68,000 Venezuelans have crossed the Colombia-Panama border between January and August 2022, 2,400% more than in the whole 2021.
As of August 2022, Mexico received 77,786 asylum applications, four times more compared to the same period in 2021, mainly from Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, and Venezuela.
Despite the substantial increase in refugees, migrants, and returnees transiting northward through Central America, migrants are also reportedly using a new route in order to circumvent Panama and Costa Rica and transit directly through Nicaragua and then to the US.
In October 2022, RED CLAMOR launched a digital campaign aiming to raise awareness among migrants and refugees of the dangers of the route, calling them for “reflection, evaluation, and awareness before embarking on this journey that has been deadly for so many: ‘The Darién is not the road, it is a dead end’ that takes the lives and dreams of those who, out of desperation, cast their lot with crossing it.”