QCOSTARICA – The first group of Cuban migrants of nearly 8,000 stranded in Costa Rica since November, reached their final destination, the United States border, after a long and difficult odyssey across the continent.
First reports say that 12 islanders, who started they journey several months ago, made it to the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, hours later crossing the international bridge, to Laredo, Texas.
They are part of the 180 Cuban migrants who left Costa Rica on Tuesday by air, through a pilot program between Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala.
The plan could now extend to the other Cuban migrants remaining stranded in Costa Rica, because Nicaragua continues to refuse to let them pass through their territory.
On Friday, immigration officials said some 5,000 Cuban migrants are still in Costa Rica, estimating that some 2,000 or more have taken the risk to cross illegally into Nicaragua, either with the help of coyotes (smugglers) or on their own. See report here. In any event, these some 2,000, with temporary visas to be in Costa Rica, are not in shelters set up for them in La Cruz, Guanacaste.
“We are happy because we made it; it was a tough war, since October living through this. But, well, I mad it, thanks to God and all,” he said in the recording.
Cuevas added, “the odyssey was difficult, in Costa Rica I spent two months waiting there, they put up the airplane and I was part of the first group that left Costa Rica”.
Others, through the social media, expressed similar sentiments. “This has been my dream, the dream of all Cubans. I will travel to Miami,” said 20 year-old Liliande Gonzalez.
Alain Carmona Diaz, 28, said he’s heading to Miami. It’s a destination for many other Cubans. “It’s been my dream for more than 15 years. Finally I made it and I’m here,” Carmona Diaz said.
The director of immigration, Kathya Rodríguez, said that in the coming days the government will announce the results of the test flight and estimates it will take some 28 flights to remove all the Cubans who are in shelters.