The Darien Gap is a 60-mile stretch of dense swamp land and jungle that separates North and South America, preventing the completion of the Pan-American Highway. Despite being one of the most dangerous areas in the world, thousands of people make the treacherous journey through the Gap every year.
The Harsh Conditions of the Darien Gap
The harsh conditions of the Darien Gap make it a formidable obstacle for those seeking to cross it. Rolling hills wrapped in rainforest, rivers that swell and flood, and the presence of aggressive and highly venomous animals such as the bushmaster snake, make the journey through the Gap a nightmare. Despite these conditions, thousands of people still attempt the journey every year.
The Two Groups of People Who Brave the Darien Gap
The people who brave the Darien Gap fall into two main groups: outlaws and migrants. Outlaws include militant groups, gang members, and drug smugglers who use the Gap as a route to smuggle illegal goods, such as cocaine. Migrants, on the other hand, come from South American and Caribbean countries, such as Venezuela and Haiti, in search of a better life and flee towards North America. The journey through the Gap is a dangerous one, and many migrants become victims of the various dangers that lurk in the Gap.
The Lack of Ferry Crossings and Roadways Through the Darien Gap
Despite the thousands of people who make the journey through the Darien Gap every year, there are no ferries or roads that cross the Gap. The last ferry to operate between Colombia and Panama went out of business in 2018 and as of 2022, there are no plans to build a road through the Gap. This lack of transportation options makes the journey through the Gap even more dangerous and difficult.
The History of the Pan-American Highway
The idea for the Pan-American Highway was first proposed in 1890 at a meeting in Washington DC. Initially, the idea was for a Pan-American Railway, but after Panama declared independence, the idea was abandoned and the Panama Canal was constructed instead. The idea for the Pan-American Highway was revived in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when representatives from North and South American countries signed the Convention of the Pan-American Highway, outlining a plan to construct a massive series of roadways that could connect the Americas.
The Darien Gap: A Hotbed of Danger and an Impenetrable Barrier
Despite being an integral part of the Pan-American Highway, the Darien Gap remains one of the most dangerous and impenetrable strips of land in the world. The harsh conditions and presence of outlaws make it a nightmare to cross, and the lack of ferries or roads makes it an even more formidable obstacle. The Darien Gap is a testament to the difficulty of connecting the Americas, and despite its importance, it is unlikely that anything will be done about it anytime soon.
In conclusion, the Darien Gap is a dangerous and difficult journey that remains an impenetrable barrier between North and South America. Despite the thousands of people who make the journey every year, the lack of transportation options and the harsh conditions make it a treacherous obstacle. The Darien Gap is a reminder of the difficulty of connecting the Americas and of the dangers that lurk in the world’s most remote and inhospitable places.