Mother Tries to Rescue Brazilian Baby Taken to Darién Jungle by Father

Girl of 1 year and 7 months was taken from São Paulo in December

Buenos Aires

It has been almost six months since Verônica Antônio last saw her daughter, now 1 year and 7 months old.

The girl was taken from Brazil in December by her father and later found in the Darién Gap, a dangerous jungle between Colombia and Panama. Inhospitable, the dense forest has become a route for migrants heading to the USA.

SÃO PAULO, SP - 17/05/2024 - Portrait of Verônica Maravilha Simão Antônio (Foto: Danilo Verpa/Folhapress, MUNDO) - Folhapress

Verônica is from Angola and arrived in São Paulo eight months pregnant. She emigrated in the hope of having a better life.

The baby’s father, an Angolan with whom she no longer had a relationship, arrived in Brazil in September, seeking to visit the girl. "I allowed it. He was the father. I never imagined he was planning this," says Verônica, who says she is 23 years old and a clothing seller.

On a Saturday in December, claiming he wanted to take the girl for a walk, the father took her. He never returned.

Alerted, the police discovered, through the father's cell phone number, that he had crossed the border. An international alert was issued.

The baby was found at the end of that month, left by Haitian immigrants with the Panamanian border service, after the group crossed Darién. There is no information about the father.

Since then, she has been under the protection of the Panamanian state and was sent to an orphanage in the outskirts of Panama City, and Verônica is still seeking financial means to have her daughter back by her side.

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