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New migrant crisis building on Costa Rica border

Panamanian mmigration officials say that foreigners who go to Costa Rica to enter Panama again as a tourist will not be allowed in.

Photo Sandra Alicia Rivera / La Prensa



Q COSTA RICA (Newsroompanama.com) A new migration problem is developing on Panama’s border with Costa Rica, this time involving Venezuelans.

Between 77 and 150 migrants from the troubled South American country are stranded in the Paso Canoas area between Panama and Costa Rica.

Many of them were holders of tourist visas who went to Costa Rica to re-enter the country with updated documents.

Eduardo Gonzalez, a Venezuelan at the border, told La Prensa he has spent 11 days in this area. He said that, during that time, he has approached the National Migration Service (MMS) window more than three times to present his papers, but Panamanian authorities do not let him pass. “This situation is already worrying us, because more Venezuelans are coming to the area and can not go to Panama, even though the money is running out, we do not know what to do and we cannot go back,” Gonzalez said.

He said that many have already been in Panama with relatives who are legal, “because the situation in Venezuela is unsustainable.”

“We left Panama because that is what the law says, after staying six months we must re enter as a tourist,

Gonzalez asked for clarification from the Panamanian authorities. Immigration officials have said that foreigners who go to Costa Rica to enter Panama again as a tourist will not be allowed in.

Mario Morales, a Panamanian who lives near the border, said that it appears as though another crisis is developing between Panama and Costa Rica.

A similar situation arose when Costa Rica refused to allow Cubans headed to the United States to enter the country.

Chiriquí Governor Hugo Méndez said that persons whose papers are not in order won’t be allowed to enter Panama

Foreigners including North Americans living in Panama often go to Costa Rica for a short time to allow them to continue living in Panama.

Article originally appeared on Newsroompanama.com


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