Sept. 24, 2021
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP has rare access as Haitian migrants, in bid to reach US, face perilous jungle crossing of Darien Gap
Hundreds of migrants try each day to cross the Darien Gap — a thick jungle between Colombia and Panama traversed by many ultimately seeking the U.S. border — yet journalists rarely observe more than the first few steps of the journey.
But after days of negotiations with locals who participate in a human-trafficking network, the Bogota-based all-formats team of correspondent Astrid Suárez, photographer Fernando Vergara and video journalist Marko Álvarez were given exclusive access to the first hour of a treacherous six-day journey. That single hour was enough to tell the stories of migrants willing to risk their lives in a jungle teeming with threats, from raging rivers to gangs targeting migrants for theft and sexual assault.
For a stark all-formats portrait of desperation and determination in the depths of the jungle, Suárez, Vergara and Álvarez earn AP’s Best of the Week — First Winner.