- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - About 1,000 Cubans intent on reaching the United States have crossed into Panama in the perilous Darien Gap jungle region rather than be deported to their homeland.

So says Aliex Artiles, a spokesman for the hundreds of Cubans stranded since May in the Colombian town of Turbo near Panama’s frontier.

Colombia said Monday that just 350 migrants remained in Turbo, where they had lived in miserable conditions.

Fourteen Cubans who accepted repatriation were flown to Cuba on Saturday.

The Darien Gap is a lawless, roadless expanse where rebels and criminal syndicates operate.

Cubans who fear that detente with Havana will lead the U.S. government to end preferential immigration treatment have been heading by the thousands for North America.

But they’ve been stymied by a migration crackdown by regional governments.


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