Stranded Cubans get to move on

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

Following an agreement reached by a group of Central American nations this week, some 7,000 Cuban immigrants will be able to continue their pilgrimage to the United States.

The countries met in Guatemala City on Monday to discuss how to deal with the immigrants who could not cross the border from Costa Rica into Nicaragua, and decided for the immigrants to be air lifted to El Salvador early next year. Once in El Salvador, they will be bussed to Guatemala, then to Mexico and finally into the U.S.

“The solution emerging is an absolute exception and only for those people who entered national territory legally,” Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez told the international media.

The agreement puts an end to two month’s of waiting for the Cubans, who left for the US fearing that new diplomatic relations would put an end to the US ‘wet-foot dry-foot policy’, which says that Cuban migrants who arrive on land can enter the country and apply for residency.
When the Government of Nicaragua refused in November to grant the Cubans passage, the Government of Costa Rica had to seek other countries to assist with the transit.

Costa Rica initially reached out to both Belize and Guatemala but neither country was forthcoming with any assistance.
At the time, the government of Belize decided that the country would only participate in an exercise to have the Cubans moved, if it were a regional initiative.

Last week the Government of Costa Rica withdrew from the Central American Integration System (SICA) meetings and refused to return unless members agreed to discuss the Cuban immigration crisis in solidarity.

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