Guna Yala, between the sea and the land

En Portada travels to the Guna Islands, threatened by climate change.  Their inhabitants may be the first indigenous people to be displaced in the Americas. 

Guna Yala is their territory, an autonomous region in the Panamanian Caribbean. 



The Gunas, one of the people who has better achieved to keep their indigenous identity and self-government in Latin America, inhabit in the autonomous region of Gunayala.  Integrated by more than 360 coral islands and a continental strip of land alongshore the Panamanian Caribbean.


Every year, thousands of tourists come here seduced by their paradisiacal appearance.  But for many Guna communities, their life in the islands is not a paradise and they know that sooner or later, they will have to move to solid groud.  And then, Gardi Sugdub Island is the first that has officially asked for it.


Gardi Sugdup Island, hardly one meter over the sea level, suffers several problems: overpopulation, the need of more space – that lead to increase of their surface using corals and sand- and climate change, that translates in a progressive raise of the sea level (an average of 2mm every year since the beginning of the 20th century) plus stronger rainstorms.


As a consequence, the Gardi Sugdub community started in 2000 a moving plan to reestablish in solid ground.  The Guna authority has negotiated with the Panamanian government and aid scheme but this transfer keeps being delayed.




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