QCOSTARICA – Thursday, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Xavier Lasso, said the South American country will return to requiring visas of Cubans who enter the country, starting December 1.
According to the official statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana de Ecuador), the decision is a result from the meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA) on Tuesday, November 24, in San Salvador (El Salvador).
Lasso said he didn’t want the (El Salvador) meeting to be taken as a failure. “We made progress on that date, including Ecuador contributing to the region,” said Lasso.
The meeting, called by Costa Rica to deal with the Cuban migrant stranded at the Nicaragua border, included Foreign Ministers from Colombia, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Cuba. Nicaragua sent it deputy Foreign Minister.
On Tuesday, Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Manuel Gonzalez, said an agreement had been reached, but, would not disclose details, saying he respect the wishes of each country to make their respective announcements.
On Thursday, Gonzalez said, “I am pleased that the official statement refers to the cooperation that should exist between countries involved in the passage of these people (Cubans) to the United States.”
For his part, President Luis Guillermo Solis, said, “I thank the government of Ecuador taking this step as part of other measures that will be announced in the coming days.”
Meanwhile, Costa Rica and Guatemala are looking into moving the Cuban migrants by air from Costa Rica to Guatemala, for their continuing their journey into the United States.
Guatemala’s president-elect, Jimmy Morales, was in San Jose Thursday, meeting with President Solis confirming his support to Costa Rica’s handling of the Cuban migrant crisis.
Following the meeting, it was announced that the logistics of moving the now 3,360 Cubans in the country trying to cross the border with Nicaragua to reach the U.S., will be known in the coming 15 days.
Minister Gonzalez said that Costa Rica is getting quotes on airfare to carry the Cubans to their destination. The minister was emphatic that the country does not have the resources to pay for the airfare. “We as a country are not able to assume those costs, we cannot do it,” said Gonzalez.
Cuban migrants, many fearing the U.S. will end the Cuban Adjustment Act, that gives Cubans special migratory status, with the warning of relations between the island nation and Washington, have been arriving Ecuador – the only country in the Americas not requiring a visa for Cubans – to start their journey to the U.S. via Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.
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Nicaragua’s decision on November 13 to close its border to the Cuban migrants and the police action to repel almost 1,000 that had been granted passage, stranded the Cubans on the Costa Rica side of the border, with numbers growing daily.