The young Ricardo Ocando Nava, 21 years old, entered the Darién jungle on Thursday morning, September 15, two days later he drowned in one of the rivers of the dangerous route that connects Colombia and Panama, and that they use thousands of migrants with the purpose of reaching the United States.
Ocando, a native of Maracaibo, arrived at 11:00 am this Saturday, September 17, at the El Membrillo River, the last to cross into the Darién. The water was up to his chest and the current was strong.
“I noticed him nervous, doubtful, and I told him: ‘stay calm, this is the last one. We’ve already had it’”, his cousin Ciro Nava told his father, of the same name, when he informed her on the night of this Sunday, September 18, that he managed to get out of the jungle, but that his cousin, whom he called brother, did not get it.
“The river swept him away. Daddy, I saw when my brother hit a rock. There I got desperate and jumped into the river twice, I ran and ran, but I didn’t reach it. People ran after me and told me to stop because I could get lost, “said Ciro, according to what his father told the whistle in a telephone interview.
Nava, Ricardo’s uncle, said that since his son and nephew entered the Darién they never saw the sun. “My son tells me that it rained during the five days he was in the jungle.”
He denied that his nephew died to save the life of a baby. “That’s a lie. They had to cross the river in a group, there were four of them: my son Ciro, another nephew, Ricardo and a girl. They were holding on to some backpacks, one after the other, and Ricardo and the girl let go. The girl was rescued on an islet, my nephew’s body does not appear, ”she said.
Ricardo traveled with 20 other people, most of them cousins, friends and neighbors from the Belloso sector, in the center of Maracaibo, where he lived with his mother and older sister.
your second try
Ricardo Ocando was a bachelor. He worked in restaurants in Maracaibo and wanted to meet his father, Richard Ocando, in Texas, United States.
This was Ricardo’s second attempt to migrate to the United States. The first time was in November 2021, he traveled to Mexico, but he was deported along with a group of Venezuelan migrants. 10 months later he tried again, but this time it cost him his life.
“Ricardo begged his father to give him the money, because his father told him to wait and make the visa. But Ricardo convinced him, he told him that he wanted to go with this group and this disaster happened, ”said his uncle Ciro Nava.
Ricardo’s motivations were his mother and his sister. “He wanted to leave so his mom and his sister would be okay.”