STRADDLING THE BORDER of the republics of PANAMA and COLOMBIA, the Darien Gap is home to one of the least exploited and most diverse ecosystems in the world.
Flanked by the PACIFIC OCEAN to the north and west and the CARIBBEAN SEA to the east, the area includes two national parks, Darien National Park in Panama and Los Katios National Park in Colombia.
The area is 30 mi or 50 km wide, from the North Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and 54 mi or 84 km in length, when measuring from the terminus city of Yarviza in Panama to Lomas Aisiadas in Colombia.
The Darien Gap harbors varying landforms, from swamplands on the Colombian side to the mountainous rainforests with its tallest peak, Cerro Tacarcuna (standing at 5,535 ft or 1,845 m), on the Panamanian side.
With more than 3 million acres of wilderness, the ecosystem found within is one of the most hotly contested, a political and environmental quagmire.
The Pan-American Highway, stretching approximately 16,000 miles or 26,000 km from ALASKA in the UNITED STATES to the Tierra del Fuego region of CHILE in South America, is broken only by the natural barrier of the Darien Gap.
Initial plans to construct a road through the Darien Gap commenced in 1923 at the Fifth International Conference of American States.
One of the primary reasons for the road is that through its completion, trade between North and Central America and South America would be more efficient with less reliance on the Panama Canal as the primary thoroughfare.
Past opponents conferred that the spread of aftosa, or commonly known as foot-andmouth disease, would possibly be spread from the cattle of Colombia to Central and North America if the road were built.
In 1991, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture proclaimed this threat to be extinct.
Road construction began in 1971 and lasted until 1974, when further construction was halted due to environmental concerns.
During that time period, part of the area was officially put under protection through decree no.
84 for the Alto Darien Protection Forest.
Since that time, the area was designated as a World Heritage Site as well as a United Nations-designated Man and Biosphere Reserve.
The area is home to two major tribes and several smaller ones.
The subsistence agricultural lifestyle of the Chocos (both Emberas and Vainanas) and the Kunas is threatened, as it will be a potential loss of their land and culture if the road through the Darien Gap comes to fruition.
The route has been fully surveyed and partially completed, yet the political, economic, and environmental issues surrounding its construction are the true barriers to its completion.
The approximate costs for completion would be approximately $200 million.
Effective lobbying by environmental and indigenous groups, costs associated with the road infrastructure, governmental bureaucracy, and the de facto control of the area by Colombian rebel groups have left the fate of the remaining 54 mi or 84 km of road in limbo.
Widely publicized accounts of civilian kidnappings, drug-smuggling anarchy, and the controlling activities of Colombian rebel groups have made this area one of the most dangerous in the world.
- Another European railway strike
"The French railway strike is planned on October 8, and Belgium strike will be held the next day.
It is supposed that French train staff will stop working on the evening of October 7 and will resume it by the morning 9 October. The aim of the strike is to attract the attention of the authorities due to the worsened working conditions and also their payment dissatisfaction. To be more precise, the trade unions want to reassure the authorities not to reform the Labor Code and pension payroll system.
Their Belgium colleagues wish to come up with the same requirements. It was also reported that high-speed trains Eurostar will be routed between London and Lille without reaching Brussels due to the strike. Thalys trains connecting Belgium and French capital cities will be canceled. The tourists would better think of an alternative way or choose some other means of transport. "
- Is it possible to go on vacation to Turkey following the shocks
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies the information that recently emerged saying that the Ministry is planning to ban Russians to enter the country.
There were two explosions that took place in Ankara during the meeting for peace between the Turkish authorities and Kurdistan Workers Party. The terrorist attack claimed the lives of 95 people and 250 people got injured.
Following the attack national media channels have reported that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs started elaborating recommendations for the Russians not to visit the country which has experienced the terror attacks.
However, on Sunday the rumors were denied by the media saying that this information is found to be untrue.
Experts believe that such decision is justified. Terror attacks took place in the Turkish capital, which is seldom visited by Russians or is not visited at all. Our citizens more often spend their holidays at the Mediterranean Sea resorts or in Istanbul, which are far away from Ankara. "