QCOSTARICA – Frustrated a number of Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica are falling to the temptation and hope offered by the “coyotes” (smugglers) of crossing into Nicaragua, to continue their trek north, to reach the United States.
The Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion (Ministro de Desarrollo Humano e Inclusión Social), Carlos Alvarado, confirmed learning of the Cuban migrants leaving the shelters in La Cruz, Guanacaste, tried unsuccessfully to leave the country and were forced to return.
Alvarado, expressing concern over the situation, did not give exact figures of the number of people who have made this decision, because a head count has not been made.
For the Cuban migrants, returning to or deported to the island nation is not an option.
One of those, speaking to the press is Jorge Luis Perez, a chef who is spends his day cooking for his fellow Cubans at three of the shelters.
Perez is stranded in Costa Rica which his sister-in-law. He tells the story of working in a state restaurant in Cuba, leaving behind his wife, son, mother and brother, looking to reach the U.S. to earn to send home.
Currently, some 6,000 Cuban migrants are at the Peñas Blancas border with Nicaragua and some 2,000 in the south, at the Paso Canoas border with Panama, waiting, waiting for a solution to their situation.
On Friday, the government announced it withdrawl from the Central American Intergration System (SICA), giving the reason that the regional body has turned its back on Costa Rica and the Cuban migrant situation after Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize refused to allow the Cubans transit through their territory.
On Friday, President Luis Guillermo Solis also announced that the immigration service will no longer issue visa to new Cubans entering Costa Rica and warned that any Cuban found in the country illegal would be immediately deported to Cuba.
The Cuban migrant crisis began mid-November when Costa Rica dismantled a human trafficking ring that had been for some time smuggling Cubans from Panama to Nicaragua, part of a network that helped Cubans travel from Ecuador, to Colombia, through Central America, to Mexico and to the U.S. border.