“They killed my nephew in my arms”


Marabino Argenis Portillo, 46, survived the attack that a group of criminals executed against 18 Venezuelan migrants in the Darién jungle, a border crossing between Colombia and Panama, and used by thousands of migrants in order to reach the United States.

Portillo was shot in the face. The bullet entered through his nose and exited through his ear. His nephew Yulvis Caridad, 6 years old and who he was carrying in his arms did not suffer the same fate. She died of a bullet to the temple.

“They killed my nephew in my arms with a shot that hit him in the temple”Portillo told his wife Yennifer Meléan, who lives in the José Gregorio Hernández neighborhood in Maracaibo, Zulia state.

Meleán told the whistle In a telephone interview, her husband, who receives medical care in a hospital in central Panama, told her that the attack occurred around 7:00 in the morning on Tuesday, September 20, five days after beginning his journey through the Darién. .

“He told me that when they were close to reaching a camp and leaving the Darien, a group of Indians and people with other accents came out, and they started shooting. All (the migrants) dispersed, they started screaming and crying.”

Portillo jumped into a river and played dead to survive to the attack, as he told his partner. “I resisted and turned face down. When I no longer heard anything, I opened my eyes and began to walk with my nephew in my arms, but he was already dead, “the victim told him..

Meleán indicated that her husband walked with the body of his nephew to a police station, where he reported the attack and the death of the child.

Portillo began the trip to the United States with his brother, two nephews aged 6 and 4, his sister-in-law and 13 other cousins. The status and whereabouts of the rest of his relatives are unknown..

He was in charge of moving the boy Yulvis through the jungle, who is the Venezuelan number 19 who dies in the Darién so far in 2022.

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In Maracaibo, Portillo worked as a manager of a dental panoramic establishment and emigrated to get a better income. “He left because of the situation in the country, in order to survive here,” said his wife.

authorities investigate

The National Border Service (Senafront) confirmed this September 21 in a statement on his official Instagram account the death of the 6-year-old boy during an assault in the Tres Bocas area, Darién province. They indicated that a woman and a man were injured in the incident and are receiving medical attention.

The Public Ministry of Panama also reported on its official Twitter account about the attack and assured that A commission of prosecutors has already moved to the place to investigate what happened.

“Superior Prosecutor of Darién, Julio Domínguez moved to Río Tuqueza, as part of the investigation for a crime against life and personal integrity, to the detriment of a minor under 6 years of age, Venezuelan nationality, who died at the scene and a man who was injured,” the message reads.

The dense and dangerous jungle that separates Colombia from Panama is crossed by thousands of migrants who looking to get to the United States. In the first eight months of this 2022, at least 68,575 Venezuelans made the crossing, according to figures from the Colombian Ombudsman.

Nataly AngleVista_2

Nataly AngleVista_2

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