Cielo Vista

Costa Rica calls for regional meeting to address flood of Cuban migrants

November 17, 2015
1 Comments

Costa Rica Foreign Minister Manuel González called Tuesday for a regional meeting to establish a humanitarian corridor for Cuban migrants traveling to the United States. Several thousand Cuban migrants are stuck in Costa Rica as Nicaragua has refused entry to them since last Friday. The meeting, for which a date had yet to be set Tuesday afternoon, would include transit countries traveled through by the Cuban migrants, including Ecuador, Colombia, the Central American countries and Mexico, as well as Cuba.

“We need to come to an agreement and keep migrants from falling into the hands of [criminal] networks and coyotes, because let’s remember the objective of these migrants is to reach the United States and they’re going to do everything in their power to achieve it,” González said in a statement Tuesday.

Nicaragua, which until recently served as a receiving country for Cuban migrants detained in Costa Rica, stopped accepting Cuban migrants on Friday, Nov. 13. The country turned back 100 Cubans deported by Costa Rican authorities that day.

Then, on Sunday, the Nicaraguan army confronted several hundred Cuban migrants who tried to cross the border en masse, illegally, at Peñas Blancas, firing tear gas into the crowd and injuring several. Nicaragua requires Cuban nationals to obtain visas prior to arriving at the border.

Tuesday, after five days of waiting at Peñas Blancas, Cubans blocked the Inter-American Highway in protest of Nicaragua’s unwillingness to them in.

There are currently 700 Cubans staying at five shelters established by the National Emergency Commission, Costa Rican Red Cross, International Organization for Migration and U.N. High Commission on Refugees in La Cruz and at Peñas Blancas, according to a statement from the Commission. The Ombudsman’s Office has said that the temporary conditions for the migrants are acceptable.

President Luis Guillermo Solís said Costa Rica is committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the Cubans and to making sure their basic needs are met as they wait to cross into Nicaragua.

As thousands of migrants from Cuba try to reach the U.S. via the overland route through Central America, dozens of their compatriots have been turned back at sea. On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard returned to the island 39 Cubans who tried to cross the Straights of Florida. Under the U.S.’s so-called “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, Cubans intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard at sea are returned to the island. They are only allowed to stay in the U.S. if they reach the U.S. mainland.

“The U.S. immigration laws have not changed so we urge people to not try to cross the sea in rafts that aren’t made for sailing,” U.S. Coast Guard Captain Mark Fedor said. “It’s illegal and it’s extremely dangerous.”

AFP contributed to this report. 

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Slothy Sunday: Just hanging out
Sloth Sundays
14 views
Sloth Sundays
14 views

Slothy Sunday: Just hanging out

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 26, 2019

Last week, Denise Gillen, a sloth nanny from the Toucan Rescue Ranch, shared the story of Bon Jovi, a sloth…

Twice as nice: Güity wins second gold at Grand Prix
Costa Rica
17 views
Costa Rica
17 views

Twice as nice: Güity wins second gold at Grand Prix

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 25, 2019

A day after he placed himself atop the world rankings with his time in the 200-meter T64 at the 2019…

Costa Rica obtains $500 million from CAF for fiscal support
Costa Rica
47 views
Costa Rica
47 views

Costa Rica obtains $500 million from CAF for fiscal support

AFP and The Tico Times - May 25, 2019

The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) on Friday granted a $500 million credit to Costa Rica to support the…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!