QCOSTARICA – Following the meeting Tuesday in El Salvador of the foreign ministers of Cuba, Central America, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico to solve the Cuban migrant crisis, Costa Rica’s Chancellor, Manuel Gonzalez, said an agreement was reached with several countries, excluding Nicaragua.
Gonzalez did not reveal the names, saying he would give each time to make their respective announcement, confirming that the solution bypasses Nicaragua.
The Chancellor, in a statement Tuesday night, said the meeting managed to unmask the bad faith of the Sandinista government, showing its contempt by sending its deputy foreign minister and that eleven of the 12 countries at meeting supported Costa Rica’s position to allow the Cuban migrants to make they way to the United States.
This morning more than 3,000 Cubans are stranded at the Peñas Blancas border with Nicaragua, Costa Rica housing them in shelters in La Cruz de Guanacaste.
Minister Gonzalez did not reveal whether the agreement would skip Nicaragua and send the islanders directly to Honduras to continue their journey to the U.S.
Gonzalez said that Costa Rica will not retaliate (against Nicaragua). “The noble and hard working people of Nicaragua do not have to pay for the mistakes of their government,” said Gonzalez.
The Chancellor stressed that Cubans stranded at the border are free to move about, because “we are in a country of freedoms” and that President Luis Guillermo Solis’ trip to Cuba in mid-December is still on.
The Cuban migrant situation turned into a crisis following the police action earlier this month that dismantled a human smuggling network, moving Cubans from the southern border with Panama to the north, helping them enter Nicaragua and continue their travel north.
About a dozen members of the ring were arrested on November 10, including the owner of the property in Costa Rica bordering with Nicaragua, through which the Cubans, after spending a few days, crossed north.
The migrants are leaving Cuba by way of Ecuador, the only country in the Americas that does not require a visa of Cubans, are in fear of changes in the ‘dry feet, wet feet’ U.S. policy as a result of the détente between the old Cold War rivals.
Cubans who reach the United States or a border checkpoint, under special migration rules by the Cuban Adjustment Act, are allowed to enter the country and, after a year and a day, become residents.
“You take off before there is time for them to take a decision that would work against you,” said Alexander Esquivel, a Cuban migrant who had crossed into Costa Rica on Tuesday, as reported by The New York Times.
Many of the islanders making their way from La Havana to Quito, Ecuador, then through Colombia, Panama and Central America to Mexico and the U.S. have sold everything they had in Cuba, to pay for a trip that has been reported costing up to US$10,000 per person, including many of the bribes or “tolls” as they are often referred to, in their almost 8,000 kilometre (5,000 mile) journey.
“We know this is going to end soon, or at any time, so we decided to make a leap and go for it,” said José Luis Rodríguez, who left Cuba with his wife and $4,000 a few weeks ago. Mr. Rodríguez, who was interviewed by The New York Times at the Mexican border with Guatemala, said they “sold everything, and just got going.”
More than 35,000 Cubans have arrived to the United States between October 2014 and August of this year, through entry points in Miami; El Paso; Laredo, Tex.; San Diego; and Tucson – according to data from the United States Customs and Border Protection.