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Over Half a Million Migrants Brave Panama’s Darien Jungle This Year

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Over half a million migrants have crossed the inhospitable Darien jungle, located on the border between Colombia and Panama, on their way to the United States this year. This record number doubles the total for all of 2022, a Panamanian minister reported this Wednesday.

“Yes,” answered Juan Manuel Pino, the Panamanian Minister of Security, succinctly to AFP’s question if the number of migrants entering the country through the jungle this year had surpassed half a million. In the jungle, which is filled with natural obstacles, there are also bands that rob, kidnap, and violate.

Previously, the Ministry of Security reported that as of October 31, 458,000 migrants, including nearly 300,000 Venezuelans, had crossed the natural border of the Darien, which spans 266 km in length and covers an area of 575,000 hectares. This jungle has become a corridor for migrants from South America trying to reach the United States via Central America and Mexico.

The record of more than half a million greatly exceeds the total for the previous year, when 248,000 people passed through the inhospitable jungle, according to official Panamanian data.

In addition to Venezuelans, the jungle is mainly crossed by Ecuadorians (50,000 until October), Haitians (41,000), Chinese (18,000), as well as Vietnamese, Afghans, and individuals from African countries. People of all ages, including babies just a few weeks old, undertake this journey.

This situation has forced the Panamanian government, along with international organizations, to set up migrant care centers at various points in the country.

Facing Dangers

“Thousands of [migrant] people who risk their lives, often along with their families, need an immediate and ongoing response of protection and humanitarian assistance,” said Olivier Dubois, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation for Mexico and Central America, this Wednesday.

Migrants “face dangers” and have specific protection needs, “especially if they were victims of sexual violence, extortion, kidnappings, or other crimes,” added Dubois in a press conference in Panama’s capital.

To try to contain this migratory wave, the Panamanian authorities announced a series of measures on September 9, such as increasing the deportation of those who enter the country irregularly.

After crossing the jungle, the thousands of migrants arrive at the village of Bajo Chiquito, where they sleep outdoors while queuing to board canoes the next morning. These canoes will take them to a shelter in Lajas Blancas, navigating almost three hours on the Tuquesa river, with a fare of 25 dollars per passenger.

In Bajo Chiquito, staff from UN agencies like UNHCR and IOM, as well as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Red Cross, are present to assist the migrants.

From Lajas Blancas, they continue on buses, paying another 40 dollars, to cross Panama towards the border with Costa Rica, and then they proceed to Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, until reaching the United States border.

Unprecedented Crisis

A month ago, United States President Joe Biden met with Latin American leaders to promote growth with more investment, with the aim of curbing migration (and incidentally countering China’s influence).

Convened by Mexico, presidents and foreign ministers from a dozen Latin American countries discussed mechanisms to contribute to orderly migration on October 22.

Also, the President of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, visited Panama in October to discuss this issue with his counterpart, Laurentino Cortizo.

“The number of migrants who have crossed the jungle amounts to more than 11% of Panama’s population. This is an unprecedented crisis that has not received enough global or regional attention,” stated Luis Eguiluz, general coordinator in Colombia and Panama of Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

“These migrants are exposed to a situation of extreme vulnerability: hunger, lack of shelter and water sources, excessive charges, misinformation and scams, xenophobia, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence,” added Eguiluz, quoted in an MSF statement.

In 2008, the first year for which records are available, 28 people entered Panama through this inhospitable jungle.



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All-Argentine Affair as Báez Overpowers Navone to Win Rio Open

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The Argentine Sebastián Báez won his first ATP 500 title on Sunday by defeating his compatriot Mariano Navone in the Rio de Janeiro tournament final, the main event in South America. The fifth seed and world number 30, which will climb nine positions, the right-hander 23-year old imposed authority by 6-2 and 6-1.

He came to have a 4-0 lead in both sets of a match settled in one hour and 22 minutes on the clay court of the central court of the Jockey Club, with capacity for 6,200 spectators.

“The beginning of the sets was important, that’s where I took the lead and I guess on Mariano’s side it became a little difficult, beyond the score, the nerves matter a little more in your first final,” he said.

The Buenos Aires native, son of a veteran of the Malvinas War (1982), achieved the greatest achievement of his career in his third participation in the hot and humid Rio competition.

He won his fifth ATP Tour title in the first all-Argentine final of the event and in an unprecedented duel against his 22-year-old compatriot, the great revelation by advancing from qualifying to the decisive match.

Before the game, his trophy case held four circuit trophies: Winston-Salem, Kitzbühel and Córdoba in 2023 and Estoril in 2022, all ATP 250 category.

He is now part of a select group that was consecrated on the city’s clay, such as Spaniards Rafael Nadal (2014), David Ferrer (2015) and Carlos Alcaraz (2022) or Argentine Diego Schwartzman (2018).

Semi-clear path

In the tenth edition of the Rio ATP 500, which has never repeated champion, Báez had a semi-clear path thanks largely to the early withdrawal of Carlos Alcaraz, 20 years old.

The world number two and top favorite shared the main draw path with the newly crowned winner, but withdrew in the first round due to injury.

Despite Alcaraz’s absence, the Argentine had solid performances and left behind Frenchman Corentin Moutet (147) in the first round 6-4 and 6-3 and his compatriot Facundo Díaz Acosta (59), champion of the Buenos Aires tournament, in the round of 16 by 7-6 (7/1) and 6-3.

In the quarterfinals he got rid of Brazilian Thiago Monteiro (117) by 6-4, 1-6 and 2-6 and in the semifinals he dispatched the best racket in Argentina, Francisco Cerúndolo (22), with a resounding 7-5 and 6- 0.

In the title match, he repeated the dose to the surprising Navone (113, will move to 60) and consolidated a good start to the year after reaching the semis in Córdoba and the quarters in Buenos Aires.

The surprise

Born in the small town of 9 de Julio, in the interior of the province of Buenos Aires, Navone starred in two upsets on the way to disputing his first ATP Tour final.

In the quarterfinals he eliminated promising 17-year-old Brazilian Joao Fonseca (655), and in the semis he beat defending champion and favorite after Alcaraz’s departure, Briton Cameron Norrie (23).

Báez and Navone are part of the list of tennis players participating next week in the ATP 250 tournament in Santiago, Chile, the last stop on the South American clay court tour.

But Navone doubted his attendance due to mental fatigue.

The Rio tournament also crowned its doubles champions on Sunday: Colombian Nicolás Barrientos and Brazilian Rafael Matos beat Austrians Lucas Miedler and Alex Erler 6-4 and 6-3.

Matos, 28, became the first local to win the tournament.



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What is it Like to Live in Costa Rica?This is What National Geographic Says About our Country ⋆ The Costa Rica News

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In its Travel edition, the prestigious international magazine National Geographic recounted what it is like to live in the country of “Pura Vida”.The journalist José Alejandro Adamuz detailed in an article in the publication his experience on the beach, but also in the city and other points.

These are the observations he made at various points:

Hospitality

The friendliness and hospitality of Costa Ricans are aspects that define the experience of traveling in Costa Rica, especially for those who decide to travel alone. The usual warmth and friendly treatment of people creates a welcoming atmosphere, making travelers feel safe and cared for.

Security

Costa Rica’s reputation as one of the safest countries in Latin America is real. Yes, even in Chepe. They have been one of the favorite destinations for North American tourists for years and this is evident in the hotel infrastructure. Additionally, the efficient and affordable public transportation system makes it easy to get anywhere in the country. (…) There, if you tell the driver to let you know when he is close to the place you are going, you can be sure that he will let you know. Not only him, surely everyone in the passage will do the same.

Driving

Exploring Costa Rica by car provides a unique freedom to discover stunning landscapes at your own pace. You never know when a Caribbean sunset is going to make you want to stay on the beach until the night dragonflies appear. However, it is crucial to take precautions, such as avoiding stopping in lonely places in case of mechanical problems. It is advisable to always use navigation devices, in addition to renting a 4×4 because they perform well on any road and situation. Sometimes the terrain in Costa Rica can be more adventurous than one expects (or would like).

Gastronomy

You have to try pejibaye, jocote or mamón. I remember what they told me once in a fruit shop: Everything from Costa Rico, only the grapes are from Peru. Costa Rican gastronomy is a feast for the senses, with influences from Latin and Caribbean cuisine.

Drinking water

This is a small detail that fascinated me: not depending on finding a store to buy bottled water to drink. Although bottled water is more recommended for short-stay travelers to avoid possible gastrointestinal problems, when you have been in Costa Rica for a while, you can drink tap water without a problem.

Connection with other travelers

The demand for security, hospitality and nature makes Costa Rica a country where many travelers tend to converge, so the ease of meeting people along the way skyrockets and is one of the biggest secrets of traveling alone through Costa Rica. Hostels and hostels become ideal meeting points for socializing.

Challenge Directions

The peculiar address system in Costa Rica, based on physical reference points, sometimes with the added problem that they can be references from the past, ranging from a church, a bar, a grocery store or a school, can be disconcerting for Travellers. Although in San José, for example, the streets and avenues are numbered, people usually give the address “tico”.

Spanish, Tico and English

As in the rest of Central America, the predominant language is Spanish. However, Costa Rica has a long tradition of receiving American tourists, so it is normal for English to be used in the tourism ecosystem for much more than just announcing vacant rooms. It may not be something to take into account for Spanish travelers, but it is one of the reasons why Costa Rica welcomes so many travelers from all over the world: it is easy to communicate with Ticos.

Pure Life dude

“Puravida” is not just an expression or a cliché, but an entire way of life in Costa Rica. Used to greet, say thank you or say goodbye, it represents a philosophy of a relaxed, calm and happy life, anyone’s dream. This mentality positive transcends from orality to the travel experience.

Resonance Costa Rica
At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel https://youtube.com/@resonanceCR



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6,000 Costa Ricans Die Each Year from Cancer but the Number Could Double in Less Than Two Decades, Experts Warn ⋆ The Costa Rica News

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In Costa Rica each year, more than 13,000 people are diagnosed with cancer and more than 6,000 die from this disease.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2040, the number of new cases and deaths in the country will almost double.

This drastic increase would occur if actions are not taken promptly and decisively to stop the avalanche of cancer cases and deaths that could occur. That is what specialists Warner Alpízar, an expert in tumor biology at the University of Costa Rica, and Luis Bermúdez, from the Robotic Radiosurgery Center, consider.

“Thanks to improvements in social and health conditions, life expectancy has increased substantially,” they highlight.“However, living longer leads to a longer exposure time to environmental and lifestyle factors strongly associated with the risk of developing cancer,” both warn.

Researchers list a series of elements as possible causes of diseases such as cancer. Among them they mention:

Smoking

Overweight

Obesity

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light

Excessive alcohol intake

Early diagnosis:

According to experts, to stop these growing trends, efforts must be redoubled in early diagnosis.“We have to take into account that early detection by itself does not bear fruit if it is not part of a more comprehensive strategy, which also reinforces timely access to treatment and prevention,” they consider.

They emphasize that it is essential to guarantee that people suspected or already diagnosed will receive expeditious and more efficient treatment for their disease.“And while the patient waits, the disease progresses, which reduces their chances of survival, impairs their quality of life and makes treatment more expensive,” they lament.

Cancer Advancement

As the cancer grows in size, the cancer cells accumulate more mutations – DNA damage, their instruction manual.“Therefore, the diversity of malignant cells increases and this affects the growth and degree of tumor aggressiveness. With this, it is increasingly likely that resistance to anticancer therapies will emerge,” the specialists explain.

Over time, the likelihood of cancer cells breaking away from the primary tumor, spreading to other sites in the body, and forming metastases also increases,” they added.This situation is key in the management of the disease. It is estimated that 90% of cancer deaths are due to metastatic cases.

Nutrient depletion

Another aspect that worsens over time is the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells, which excessively and inefficiently consume the nutrients that are necessary for the healthy cells that make up the body’s tissues.

“The larger the cancer, the more the person’s physical condition deteriorates, because normal cells are left without the necessary inputs for their functions,” the doctors detail.

Taken together, the biological factors make it clear that a cancer detected and treated late is synonymous with a more aggressive disease, which worsens the probability of survival, quality of life and increases the cost of care for the health system.

Diagnosis and treatment

Epidemiological studies have shown in practice that the time between diagnosis and treatment of a cancer patient is critical if mortality is to be reduced.For example, a 2020 study concluded that for every month of delay in the treatment of a person with this condition, the risk of death increases by about 10%.

Doctors consider that in Costa Rica it is necessary to define strategies that reduce the time that elapses from when a patient is referred for suspicion until treatment.In first world countries such as Iceland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the target time between referral for suspicion and treatment is eight weeks, while the period between diagnosis and treatment is four weeks.

“There are no times”

“If we look at the case of Costa Rica, there is no target time at the country level in the path of the cancer patient. In addition to this, each region and hospital in the country has different management,” the specialists highlight.

According to the consensus of three national oncologists, who were consulted, in Costa Rica there are no statistics on the average time that passes between the referral for suspected cancer and the patient’s treatment.In some hospitals the time between diagnosis and treatment could be four weeks, the time between suspicion and diagnosis can be several months.

“One of the causes of this is due to the lack of specialists, which leads to enormous waiting lists and deadlines for reporting procedures of six months to a year,” the two experts acknowledge.

“This situation is alarming. If for every month of delay in the treatment of the disease the risk of death increases by 10%, as the study showed, in Costa Rica cancer patients could have a risk of mortality that is up to 50% higher, compared to other countries“, they point out.

This could be one of the reasons why, despite the fact that diagnosis has been improved, the incidence of cases is similar to first world countries, but the cancer mortality rate is the second highest in Central America and Mexico and similar to that of Honduras.

For specialists, a change is urgently needed in Costa Rica to reduce the increase in incidence and mortality. Some of the actions they recommend are:

Attack the structural problems that the health system currently presents

Improve access to services

Guarantee the training of more specialists

Reduce waiting times

Invest in cutting-edge technologies

Streamline bureaucratic systems with the intention of guaranteeing patient access to the most effective treatments currently available

“In summary, it is crucial to establish a country goal in the path of the cancer patient, because although time heals wounds, in the fight against cancer, time is our worst enemy,” they concluded.



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