QCOSTARICA – More than 700 foreigners, from countries like Africa and Cuba, took Costa Rica by force Wednesday morning, entering the country illegally, many others clashing against police at the border with Panama.
According to reports from the southern border, some of the foreigners were confronted by police in Cuidad Neily, the detained immediately handed over to immigration officials at Paso Canoas.
At time it is unknown how many of the foreigners are in detention, waiting immigration officials to determine their status in the country.
During the confrontation, several cars were damaged. In what can be described as a riot, windshields were broken, some of the vehicle suffered damage to the bodywork.
Officials in Costa Rica believe the Africans landed on the Pacific shores by boat, while the Cubans crossed over by land from Panama.
“There are more than 1,700 Cubans in camps in San Isidro,” Yusell de la Rosa, one of the Cubans at the border, told La Nacion. De la Rosa added that there are many more on the Panama side being held back by Panama forces.
For the Cubans, they are relying on the Cuban Adjustment Act of the 1960s that grants them instant entry into the United States. The Government of Costa Rica on Wednesday morning sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama pointing out the harmful effects of that legislation, causing problems in countries like Costa Rica, being converted into transit points to the United States.
Costa Rica is reiterates that it does not have the economic or logistical capacity to meet the needs of new groups of migrants.
Security Minister Gustavo Mata, warned that the Paso Canoas border with Costa Rica will be reinforced around the clock to avoid similar situations. “People who illegally enter our territory will be sent back on the spot,” said Mata.
Foreign minister, Manuel Gonzalez, piped in saying that social institutions like the IMAS, PANI and INAMU will remain present in the area to protect the vulnerable.
In the north part of Costa Rica, Nicaragua has reinforced its border at Las Tablillas to prevent migrants from entering into their territory.
If you will recall, last November thousands of Cuban migrants were stranded in Costa Rica after Nicaragua closed its borders to them. In total some 8.000 Cuban migrants waited in Costa Rica for a chance to move forward with the plans to reach the United States. After months of diplomacy, some 5.000 were able to fly out of Costa Rica, while the rest took their chances by land over Central America, with the aid of smugglers.
Costa Rica is trying avoid the same from reoccurring.