More than 100 Nicaraguans who were stranded for more than two weeks on the border with Costa Rica were able to return to their country Sunday.
Permission was granted after they were confirmed not to have the coronavirus through tests carried out with the help of private organizations, Costa Rica’s Immigration Administration reported.
A group of 148 Nicaraguans were able to return to their country, while another 21 who tested positive for the new coronavirus must remain in Costa Rican territory, where they receive medical attention in tents run by private entities.
“Today (Sunday) we have obtained results that make us all happy: almost 90% will be crossing into their country,” said Lina Barrantes, director of the Arias Foundation, one of the organizations that helped facilitate the tests.
Around 300 Nicaraguans had been stranded when trying to return to their country when the government of Daniel Ortega demanded that they present negative COVID-19 tests.
Seventeen chose to stay in Costa Rica, while about 100 were admitted to Nicaragua without the test for humanitarian reasons.
The $100 cost for the tests was unattainable for most of the Nicaraguans, who were largely unemployed in Costa Rica due to the pandemic. Unable to meet the requirements for entry to their country, they were stranded between the two border posts in precarious conditions, exposed to the sun and rain and dependent on help from civil organizations to feed themselves.
Given this, the Costa Rican NGOs Fundación Arias and the Center for Labor Rights obtained funds through international cooperations to buy the COVID-19 tests, which were administered Friday.
The private Clínica Bíblica, which carried out the tests, will attend to the 21 Nicaraguans who tested positive, and the international organization Corner of Love will be in charge of their food, said Migración.