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The odyssey of an ex-Venezuelan police officer who crosses the dangerous Darien jungle to America

The odyssey of an ex-Venezuelan police officer who crosses the dangerous Darien jungle to America

Lubin González left Venezuela a year ago and now works in an assembly company Credit: Lubin González (@lubin20) | Courtesy

Lubin Gonzalez was a police officer in Venezuela. He worked in his country's scientific, penal and forensic investigation department until his video went viral and caused a scandal. Soon after, he was seen on social media crossing the dangerous Darien Forest en route to the United States, as did thousands of fellow citizens besieged by the crisis.

By NY Journal

His journey began almost a year ago on April 17, 2023, and a few hours later he was already in the first displacement camp in Necogli (Colombia). The young man, in a conversation with El Diario de Nueva York, said it took him “a day and a half” to travel the challenging route, which can take up to 10 days to complete. His speed is due to his mental abilities and the knowledge he gained from his studies as a police officer.

“My mental ability, I am an educated child, graduated from a university. Everyone knows, I am Cicpc and the skills I developed served as my experience, because in the jungle you see many bad things; I also helped many people. Everything is in the mind, everything is psychological. Mental strength The jungle is for those who have it. It's not for everyone, because many people last five or six days. It all depends on water, food, how you feel (physically and emotionally). Many people get tired and rest, I didn't. I only slept one day in the jungle, because it was night. ,” he said.

The next day, at 5:00 a.m., he got up and continued on his journey alone, though he met people along the way. He also said he didn't pay the coyotes who allegedly helped migrants cross the Darien, or the police officers who extorted money from the countries he passed through.

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“You think they're going to kill you.”

Guatemala and Mexico, he stressed, are “soft spots” for foreigners. He said, however, that he had sought the necessary permission from authorities to legally continue his journey on the path to the “American Dream” in all countries, including Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico.

“When I came to Dapach, they told us to get a permit, but many people don't get it because it takes two days. And people are frustrated. One is tempted to travel because one thinks they are going to rob you, they are going to return you, they are going to kill you, but it is all in the mind. “One has to analyze and then act,” said the young former police officer, who turned 23 on April 9.

In those anxious moments, he thought it was safe to proceed with his permit, so he stood in line for 12 hours, braving the heat, hunger and fatigue, as he said. After receiving the document, he took a taxi to the terminal, where he bought a ticket and took a bus to Mexico City, as he planned to enter the United States via Matamoros.

They (police) did not stop me. Yes, there were checkpoints, they asked you for permission, many didn't have it, they were dismissed. I laminated mine like an ID card so they wouldn't rip it or anything. I showed my permit and nothing happened. I spent about 13 hours on the road from Tapachula to Mexico City, where I showered and ate,” he said.

There, he was told to apply through the CBP One application and wait for a date to be assigned, but he admitted he couldn't wait any longer because he was desperate: he didn't have money or anywhere to stay: “A lot of people said it took too long, that if I had passed through so many countries, I wouldn't be stuck.” I thought.

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“Staying was expensive, more money, I was left with nothing; the truth is, I had no financial capacity, what did I do? I asked God a lot. I arrived in Matamoros, I had about 20 Mexican pesos left. (There) they sold Venezuelan pastries, I ate two,” he said.

Guava arrived in America in 16 days without paying

Lubin Gonzalez said his entire journey to reach America took 16 days. “I have not slept in any country. He slept on the rail; I got down from one bus and walked to another bus. He slept in no country, but on the road; I say God has blessed me and continues to bless me. “I can't even believe I'm here so early,” he added.

The immigrant said he was close to crossing into the United States on May 7 and that the coyotes were asking him for 300,000 Mexican pesos to help him cross the Rio Grande.

“I had no money, so I took a black bag and closed my wallet, because I am from a city (in the Balkan state), I spent my time climbing dams and swimming in rivers. Many say the river takes you and you can't cross, but the people in charge of crossing the people there (coyotes) give you the psychology. That's pure cheap psychology. I put my feet (in the river) and the current was pulling below it, but above it the water was still,” he said.

“I started swimming the river alone and came to America,” he said.

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