Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • this video was made possible by Tab for a cause.

  • Raise money for charity with every tap you open by signing up using the link in the description.

  • North America and South America are widely considered to be completely separate continents, but they are technically connected by land to one another across the narrow isthmus of Panama, which has led some people to consider the Americas together as a single giant continent.

  • For thousands of years now, people have been walking across the isthmus of Panama between the two has of America.

  • But contrary to what you might think, if you live in the U.

  • S.

  • Or Canada today and you type in directions to Buenos Aires and Google Maps, you'll just end up getting an air message.

  • In fact, you'll get an error message if you type in directions to anywhere in South America because it's currently impossible to actually drive there despite it being actually connected by land.

  • The only way that North Americans and South Americans convince it one another currently is by air or by sea, and the reason why that's the case is all because of this tiny little piece of land here called the Darien Gap.

  • Allow me to explain why Europe, Africa and Asia are similar to the Americas and that they're each considered separate continents, despite them all being connected with one another By land, however, you can actually drive between all three of these continents, and that's been possible for a long time.

  • While it's never been possible in the Americas, there are 22 sovereign nations that exist in the Americas that are all connected with one another by land.

  • So in the early 20th century, a movement be informing to build a system of highways that connect all 22 of these nations together for the first time and allow people and goods to be driven across them.

  • Over a period of decades, that system of highways was constructed and became known as the Pan American highway.

  • But like an annoying computer update, it's been stuck in 99% completion for decades.

  • Now it's 99% complete form.

  • Today, the highway starts at the furthest Northern Point in Alaska, Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean, and stretches all the way down through 14 countries with branches extending out across both continents.

  • Before arriving at Ushuaia, the southernmost major city in South America.

  • The 1% of the highway that isn't finished, though, is probably at the most cry critical possible point here on the border between Panama and Colombia, the highway stretches all the way from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska and abruptly ends here at a visa, Panama, while on the other side, it stretches all the way from Ushuaia, Argentina, and stretches all the way up before ending here at Turbo Colombia, the so called Darien Gap.

  • In between, Yeah, Visa and Turbo is on Lee, 100 kilometers wide as the crow flies, and as a result, there are no roads that connect Panama with Colombia, which means that it's currently also impossible to drive between North America and South America.

  • You'd think that building a highway across just 100 kilometers of land would be fairly easy, though, So why hasn't this happened?

  • Well, it's mostly because this 100 kilometers stretch of land isn't it gloriously difficult to develop anything on.

  • For starters, the entire gap is covered with incredibly thick rainforests, jungles, swamps and mountains, which are all incredibly detrimental to road construction and transportation.

  • In order for me to put into perspective how massively difficult this terrain actually is to traverse across.

  • Allow me to tell you about the first people who successfully managed to drive through the gap entirely overland.

  • They used a siege a Jeep Wrangler in 1985 to travel 201 kilometers across the jungle, and it took them 741 days to get across to the other side, meaning that on average they were only capable of driving 270 m per day through the jungle.

  • There's also loads of terrible tropical diseases here that make working through the jungle and nightmare for construction workers.

  • Consider the construction of the Panama Canal.

  • A little over a century ago, in the same general vicinity of the Darien Gap, 28,000 workers died here in Panama, constructing the canal due to tropical diseases, and over 12,000 more workers died back in the 18 fifties and sixties.

  • Constructing the canals precursor, the Panama Railway Building Anything through here is inherently dangerous, difficult and immensely expensive because of the region's terribly rugged geography.

  • But that's not entirely the only reason why our road hasn't ever been built here.

  • Expensive roads have been built across even harsher environments before.

  • But here on the Panama Colombia border, there's a lot of political resistance to building a road that connects the two countries as well.

  • For starters, on this point, foot and mouth disease is still a common ailment among cattle in South America, but it's been completely eradicated in Central and North America ever since the 19 fifties.

  • There's a lot of evidence to suggest that the absence of any roads or paths across the Darien Gap has prevented infected South American cows from moving and spreading the disease into North America.

  • So a lot of cattle ranchers and farmers in the various countries up here are pretty opposed to building the road.

  • Further, there is massive resistance among several indigenous peoples that live in the area of the Darien Gap, who believe that a highway built through their lands will disrupt or even ruin their way of life.

  • But the biggest problem that any potential highway here faces is the massive local environmental damage that it will cause to a delicate ecosystem.

  • The Darien Gap is a pristine and almost untouched wildlife area at present day, and the construction of a massive intercontinental highway right through the middle of it will obviously disrupt that.

  • Ah highway did technically go into construction once in 1971 and then again in 1992 but it was killed both times by damming environmental damage reports.

  • However, there have been some ideas peddled around that would mitigate this.

  • One idea is to simply extend the already existing Pan American highway from U Visa in Panama, out the Caribbean coast through the less delicate ecosystems, and establish a ferry link with the road network over in Columbia.

  • Another idea is to simply build giant bridges across the portions of the Darien Gap that are considered to be the most delicate.

  • Either way, building a regular highway through the whole gap would not only be environmentally destructive and dangerous for workers, but it would also be dangerous for people driving through even after it's completed, because the whole area is a hotbed for drug traffickers and insurgent groups.

  • In 2013, a Swedish backpacker walking through the gap was kidnapped by FARC revolutionaries and executed on the basis that he was a foreign spy.

  • In 2003, 3 journalists operating in the gap were kidnapped by far right revolutionaries.

  • So kidnappings and killings like these are relatively common occurrences in sight of the Darien Gap, owing to how remote and difficult it is to actually get inside there and driving through on a highway would likely remain a perilous journey.

  • For all of these reasons, it's highly likely that the Darien gap will remain a gap in the pan American highway system for quite some time.

  • And there's not much that you can probably ever do to change that.

  • However, there are other problems out there in the world that you can help fix without even really having to do anything at all.

  • In other words, you could be generating free money for charities and causes of your choice right now by doing basically nothing if you go and check out tab for a cause.

  • This browser extension displays a few small ads each time you open a new tab, and then they donate the money generated from that to a non profit of your choice.

  • It's seriously that simple, and to prove they're legit, their website is completely open source, and they published quarterly financial reports showing exactly where all the money goes So far, they've raised almost $1 million for good causes.

  • And right now they're running a Siris of campaigns for nonprofits, combating the effects of the ongoing Cove in 19 Pandemic so you can join me and start making the world just a little bit better by simply installing the browser extension in less than 30 seconds at tab, Not gladly dot io slash real life floor or by clicking the link down in the description and, as always, thank you for watching.

this video was made possible by Tab for a cause.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 gap highway panama america south america colombia

Why a Single Little Spot Makes Driving Across "America" Impossible

  • 1 0
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/16
Video vocabulary