Wednesday 22 March 2023

Cuban Migrants Continue Stuck In Costa Rica

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22 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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"Obama Help Us" reads the makeshift sign by Cuban migrants not able to north, after Nicaragua shuts its borders to them
“Obama Help Us” reads the makeshift sign by Cuban migrants not able to north, after Nicaragua shuts its borders to them. Photo Esteban Félix/AP

QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica says it will keep the doors open to the wave of Cuban migrants trying to reach the United States crossing Central America, despite the refusal of Nicaragua to authorize them transit through that country.

On Monday, Costa Rican authorities invoked a “humanitarian reason” to tackle the Cuban migrant immigration crisis.

So far this year, some 13,000 Cubans moved through the country seeking to reach the U.S. The Spanish language El Nuevo Herald in Miam, reports that in the past year that 27,413 Cubans reached U.S. soil according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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The arrival of Cubans soared this with the thawing of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, which could bring down migratory advantages granted to Cubans, the Cuban Adjustment Act, that allows Cubans to obtain residency in the U.S., regardless of how they arrive.

“The problem is neither small nor quick solution is not simple,” says Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Manuel González, who is urging the other nine countries involved Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States accept to open negotiations to find a solution.

“One possibility is to create a humanitarian corridor along those countries, overseen by the U,S., to facilitate the passage of Cubans” without they becoming victims of human trafficking rings or ‘coyotes’ (people smugglers),’ said Gonzalez. The Minister says talks are still preliminary and no results are expected in the coming days.

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Cuban migrants on the Costa Rica side of the Peñas Blancas border point with Nicaragua. Photo Esteban Félix/AP

And it was just that, the take down of a human trafficking ring last week in Costa Rica, that sparked the crisis, stranding the hundreds of Cubans in the country.

Meanwhile, today, some 2,000 Cuban migrants on the Costa Rica side of the Peñas Blancas border crossing with Nicaragua, are hopeful that they will be able to continue their journey.

What is waiting Cuban migrants on the other side of the Costa Rica border
What is waiting Cuban migrants on the other side of the Costa Rica border. Photo Alvaro Sánchez/EFE

Costa Rica has set up shelters in nearby La Cruz, however, many are refusing to move from the border post, preffering to sleep on the floor and continue in poor sanitary conditions, at the ready for word from Nicaragua.

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Video: Cuban migrants at the immigration offices in San Jose

On Monday, the Defensora de los Habitantes (Ombudswoman), Montserrat Solano and the director of Immigration, Kathya Rodriguez, along with other government officials, visited with the Cuban migrants.

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