Thursday 17 June 2021

Costa Rica Closes Border To Cuban Migrants, Forces Them Back To Panama

A "tense calm" in the southern border between Costa Rica and Panama
A “tense calm” in the southern border between Costa Rica and Panama

QCOSTARICA – Reminiscent of the scene at the northern border with Nicaragua last November, it was no Costa Rica police forced forcing back into Panama, Cuban migrants who illegally entered Costa Rica on Wednesday.

According to the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica, police pressured some 1,300 Cuban and African migrants.

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While most left peacefully, near the border post of Paso Canoas, in Ciudad Neily, some 120 had a confrontation with police, refusing to leave. They were cordoned off and forced back to Panama.

Costa Rica is staying firm that it will not allow the migrants to enter the country, and any who do will be sent back to the country of origin, in this case Panama.

At the same time, the government of Luis Guillermo Solis (like the government of Nicaragua did last November) is blaming the United States for their policy on Cubans, mainly the Cuban Adjustment Act of the 1960s, causing thousdands of Cubans to head for the United States given the warming of political realations between the Barack Obama administration and the Caribbean island.

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The Minister of Public Security, Gustavo Mata, emphasized that police did not have to use force, the foreigners left the country willingly.

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According to the Minister, it was around 6:30pm when all the migrants were headed back into Panama. The minister added that the “extreme security measures” will continue as long as necessary, 24 hours a day, and for which an additional 300 uniformed officials were sent to the area, where only 50 officials normally work.

“The line is clear, the message is blunt. We will not allow illegals in our country, therefore, the permanence of the police will be 24 hours and the operation will be maintained as long as it is needed,” said Mata, who is leading the efforts in Paso Canoas.

Two of the major differences between the Nicaragua action in November and Costa Rica’s last night, one Costa Rica does not have an army, relying on the Fuerza Publica (police) to enforce its immigration policy; and two, there is no outcry from Costa Ricans against the police action.

Last November, the social media and press (online and written) denounced the actions of the Nicaragua army forcing back to Costa Rica the Cuban migrants entering that country illegally, on their way to the United States.

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FACT CHECK:
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