M6 : Panama: Alert at the gateway to America

Time : 53’

Broadcaster : M6

Directors : Sebastian Perez and Guillaume Lhotellier

Production : Victor Robert


Based on Diana Valderama’s investigation, this film plunges into the heart of the crucial issues threatening this essential crossroads between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Its famous canal is an essential crossing point for the global trade in goods. But for the first time in its history, it is completely saturated. Monstrous traffic jams are forcing container ships to wait weeks before crossing from one ocean to the other. The whole machine has seized up for a reason no one had anticipated: the canal is dry! The operation of its giant locks depends directly on the fresh water available in the lakes. The whole country is suffering from drought. The daily lives of Panama’s four million inhabitants are directly threatened, and tensions are running high.

Panama is not only an essential transit point for goods, but also a stopover for migrants from all over the world. In the thick Darien jungle, our team followed the hellish route taken by thousands of people every day. In 2023, half a million men, women and children risked their lives on this route to North America. With their feet in the mud, they endure days of thirst, injury and extreme heat. Despite the risks, there are more of them every year, and an incredible business has grown up around them. Clans of smugglers paid a high price for entry into the jungle and supplies.