First Group of Cubans Leave Costa Rica for USA (Photos)

The first group of 180 cubans aboard their flight to El Salvador. Photo: Salvadoran Foreign Ministry
The first group of 180 cubans aboard their flight to El Salvador. Photo: Salvadoran Foreign Ministry

HAVANA TIMES — Last night began the transfer of 8,000 Cubans from Costa Rica to the United States with a “Pilot Plan” flight carrying 180 of them to El Salvador. The group arrived at the “Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero” airport at 11:25 pm. Tuesday, reported lapagina.com.sv.

After going through the expedited review of documents before Salvadoran immigration authorities, the Cubans were put on buses to continue the journey to Guatemala and Mexico from where they can make their way to the US border.

Once in El Salvador the Cubans received an expidited review of their documents. Photo: Salvadoran Foreign Ministry
Once in El Salvador the Cubans received an expidited review of their documents. Photo: Salvadoran Foreign Ministry

There, they will be welcomed by United States immigration authorities under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act. The legislation provides them with government assistance and a fast-track to permanent residency.

Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez said “This action is consistent with the dignified treatment and respect for human rights, which the administration of President Salvador Sanchez requests for our fellow migrants in countries of transit and countries of destination.”

In El Salvador the transfer of the Cubans had the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and heavy security.

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22 thoughts on “First Group of Cubans Leave Costa Rica for USA (Photos)

  • January 19, 2016 at 12:40 pm
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    Yes I can see you’re confused. I didn’t say it was a scandal, you did. I simply pointed out a fact.

    Mind you that Castro jr and his family are living a life that no one else in Cuba can enjoy which makes his behavior shameful. And yes, I and those that escaped, are avowed enemies of the revolution. Hopefully we will be rid of the Castro’s soon and your fears will come true. Of course it’s no wonder that you Castro sycophants paint it as a “zero sum game” It’s either Castro or Batista as far as your concerned.

  • January 19, 2016 at 8:47 am
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    Forgive me for being a little confused, but Moses Patterson argued that it was a scandal that well-dressed, self-assured neurosurgeons fled the country, and now you claim that the real scandal is that they aren’t even qualified medical doctors at all …

    And as far as the Castro son is concerned: as the son of a (former) leader of state, in all other countries he would be a celebrity, and the sycophantic media and their paparazzi photographers would consider it a matter of course that he should spend his vacations bathing in champagne with blonde bimbos in the Mediterranean. In Cuba, however, that kind of behavior in leaders of state or their progeny actually still IS a scandal, and I hope that it will remain so. However, I fear that the enemies of the Cuban revolution may still succeed in turning the country back into the ‘Disneyland’ it used to be in the 1940s and ‘50s.

  • January 19, 2016 at 8:44 am
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    And if you study the map it becomes obvious that very few former colonies are among the countries providing universal health care for their citizens.

  • January 18, 2016 at 11:11 pm
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    According to Wikipedia (and many other sources) there are at least 58 countries that provide free universal health care (single-payer).
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_coverage_by_country
    Américas top universities have long maintained a policy that guarantees that any student who has been accepted to attend the University will not be denied entrance based upon their inability to pay. Rumor in Cuba is that a Chinese businessman footed the bill for Fidel’s youngest son.

  • January 18, 2016 at 8:28 pm
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    Funny that the Cuban people seem to reject your view and will risk their lives to escape. Their deaths speak much more eloquently than anything you can say.
    Doctors will leave Cuba to travel to the US knowing they will be unable to practice medicine because their training is insufficient. Yes dann, Cuban doctors emigrating to the US don’t have sufficient education to practice medicine. They require years of additional education and training in order to become an MD. And yet they come anyway.

    And your little Castro Jr? Face it, he lives a life of luxury prancing around the world living a life no Cuban citizen can even dream of.

    It was a Turkish magazine called Gala that photographed Castro Soto del Valle in June as he spent his summer vacation in the famous tourist enclave of Bodrum with his friends and family.
    Turkish news agency Dogan also reported that Fidel Castro’s son arrived in the Greek isle of Mykonos in a 50-meter yacht and reserved five suites in a luxurious Bodrum hotel…..and no western pharma company in site. In fact little Castros taste for the good life is well known.

  • January 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm
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    You live in a dream world, Moses Patterson. Let’s hear the names of your “many countries who offer single-payer (?) health care and public education.”
    They wouldn’t happen to be former colonial powers, would they? Unlike their former colonies where you tend to find the most abject poverty in this world – and usually no health care or public education. The word naïve does not suffice as a description of the way you confuse your libertarian idealism with the actual world the rest of human kind lives in. As if ordinary people ever get the chance of studying to become neurosurgeons – even in western countries like the USA or Denmark. Instead they are prevented from ever getting near the ‘years of study and preparation for a medical career’ – and instead of educating enough of their own inhabitants to supply the demand for doctors, wealthy countries prefer to lure them away from third-world countries. And there is no better place to look for them than in Cuba because that country actually produces an abundance of professional health-care workers.
    I have no idea who invited the Castro son to go “vacationing on a yacht in the Aegean,” but keep us informed if you hear any more. It might even be a Western pharma company trying to buy its way into doing business with Cuba. That is the kind of behavior I would expect from them …

  • January 18, 2016 at 11:26 am
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    Your comment reflects your naivete. The reason Antonio Castro is an “embarassment” is that it is impossible to afford the lifestyle he indulges on the salary of what he earns as a trained doctor working as an employee of Cuba’s INDER. It should trigger a criminal investigation in Cuba as it would in the US unless it was clear that the son of a political leader had access to prior wealth or outside income. The Castro system values health care and education no more than it values garbage collection and police work. This is reflected in the slave wages paid to all four of these valuable professions. Commenter Informed Consent is correct. There are many countries who offer single-payer health care and public education. These countries managed to do so without making everyone poor and without taking away basic human rights. To support the Castro dictatorship because college is “free” is ridiculous at best or possibly in your case, naive. To suggest that it is somehow noble that a garbage collecter in Cuba should earn what a neurosurgeon earns is equally ridiculous. The years is study and preparation for a medical career alone supports the claim for higher pay.

  • January 18, 2016 at 10:15 am
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    And there are even more capitalist countries, in particular all the poor ones, with miserable health care and education. And in a market economy based on supply and demand, the doctors cater to the ones who can afford them rather than the ones who need them: “Our doctors are priceless!” http://www.american-pictures.com/gallery/usa/mediums/usa-03263.jpg
    But I have already commented on this and supplied people with the necessary documentation in the discussion of two other articles about Cuban doctors:
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=115179
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=115270

    In any other country it wouldn’t be a scandal that the son of a leader of state vacationed on a yacht in the Aegean, no matter how poor the ordinary inhabitants of that country might are. In Cuba it is still considered to be an embarrassment – as it should be.

  • January 18, 2016 at 9:41 am
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    You create a false dilemma. There are many capitalist countries throughout the world with excellent health care and education. Cuba doesn’t have to serve as your beacon in that regard. Never the less, its a fact that those with better education are the ones that look to flee the regime. If you talk to them you will find that the overarching theme, the reason they flee Cuba, is to find opportunity, something denied by the regime. I’m also quite sure it rankles them when they see the Children of the elite living high on the hog while spouting the same nonsense you are repeating here. Thus you’ll have Castro Jr vacationing on a yacht in the Aegean (as was recently reported) while the neurosurgeon has to work as a taxi driver to make money to eat.

    So as a Cuban I find your remarks insulting. I certainly don’t want the country of my birth serving as your communist Disney World.

  • January 18, 2016 at 9:15 am
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    Yet they leave, in droves. And where are they going? The big bad USA.

    All the acolades thrown the Castros way doesn’t hide the fact that almost everyone wants out if Cuba. They’ll even risk their lives to do so. So I ask you, what do these Cubans know that you don’t? Yes this group has it easier once they reach U.S. Soil. But for all the education and healthcare they still chose to leave. In fact the better the education the more likely they are to want out. Perhapse you should talk to some of them dann

  • January 18, 2016 at 3:30 am
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    Your patience needs to be tried, but you’re still wrong. I do see your point, I just happen to disagree.
    To you, the scandal isn’t POVERTY. If it were, you would have plenty to complain about in the USA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States#Poverty_and_demographics
    That is capitalism for you in its most successful version.
    But that a member of the PRIVILEGED classes is exposed to a relatively mild degree of poverty – judged by your description: “Their clothes, personal grooming, and self-awareness,” to you, THAT is the condition that is absolutely intolerable!
    You may not be aware of it, but Cuba probably also has the poorest diplomats of any nation on Earth, which is one of the things that I cannot help but admire about the country: Not that ANYBODY, a street sweeper or a neurosurgeon, has to be poor – that is very unfortunate – but that there is actually one country in the world that still values universal health care and education higher than billionaire mansions and en entire political system catering only to the elite.
    That this idea is an intolerable affront to the prevalent elitist ideologues in the rest of the world is what makes Cuba absolutely necessary! You need that thorn in your side ….

  • January 17, 2016 at 9:21 pm
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    You try my patience with your failure to see the point. ONLY IN CUBA is there such a thing as a poor neurosurgeon.

  • January 17, 2016 at 12:24 pm
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    The second time around, you (very conveniently) forget what you revealed in your first contribution to this discussion: Your Cuban refugees are obviously much better off than the uneducated masses from the rest of Latin America. And you also forget that not only are the Cubans “not farm workers, maids and gardeners.” They don’t even find themselves standing in the same ‘soup line’ as the rest of the Latin Americans. You find them in the “Cubans only” line, an institution created with the sole purpose of ruining the country that supplied them with the “higher level of education and cultural exposure.”
    Indeed, it is very easy to “assume” which country “is worse”: the USA!

  • January 17, 2016 at 7:41 am
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    As usual, you fail to see the point. Imagine a soup line. Among the poor and desperate people standing in that line are two men. One of the is from Guatemala. He is poorly educated, and with no marketable skills. Next to him is a Cuban surgeon. What country can you assume is worse? Guatemala, where poor uneducated men end up in soup lines or Cuba, where despite their skills and preparation, even surgeons fare no better.

  • January 17, 2016 at 4:41 am
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    “These Cubans look nothing like the economic refugees from other parts of Latin America. Their clothes, personal grooming, and self-awareness betray a higher level of education and cultural exposure.”
    I guess that the evil Castros ought to be punished severely for the “higher level of education and cultural exposure” that seems to characterize refugees from Cuba unlike the abject poverty of “the economic refugees from other parts of Latin America.”
    Once again, Moses Patterson fails to see the ridiculous bias of his anti-Castroism. We can all imagine what he would have made of Cuban refugees in rags, broken and with no self-esteem …

  • January 15, 2016 at 6:11 pm
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    Surely the nasty populist Donald Trump and the cynically corrupt Hillary Clinton do far more to demean and defame US democracy than the generous welcome given to Cubans fleeing the Castros’ military dictatorship.

    You could use a sense of proportionality, Richard.

  • January 15, 2016 at 6:02 pm
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    If there are refugees more deserving, or at least equally deserving of the special treatment afforded in the CAA, would not the best policy be to extend the measure to these Salvadorian children and others you mention? Why deny everybody? Who does that benefit? I mean, other than the Castro regime.

    By the way, refugees from several other countries have from time to time received the same special treatment as Cubans do today under the CAA.

  • January 15, 2016 at 9:46 am
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    I heartily disagree. The actions of the terrorists who perpetrated the downing of Flt.#455 have no proven connection to the US government. I also disagree that the CAA reflects poorly on US democracy.

  • January 14, 2016 at 6:42 pm
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    Cubana Flight 455 has everything to do with “this thread.” It reveals that those who support terrorism against innocent Cubans were/are in control of a Cuban policy that condones acute discrimination and undue financial and political rewards for one class of people, Cuban exiles, while acutely discriminating against all others. That’s not exactly what the Founding Fathers envisioned. The propaganda concerning Cubana Flight 455, and the aftermath regarding support for the perpetrators, is un-American, in my opinion, and trying to dismiss it or whitewash it or condone it only succeeds through intimidation or misinformation. Jim DeFede, the former great columnist for the Miami Herald; Peter Kornbluh, the Cuban director at the National Security Archives; Sarah Stephens, the founder of the Center for Democracy in the Americas; etc., are among the people who, I believe, would agree that Cubana Flight 455 has EVERYTHING to do with “this thread,” just as discriminatory laws favoring Cuban exiles defame and demean the U. S. democracy. And, yes, Moses, I know what those words mean.

  • January 14, 2016 at 12:11 pm
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    I don’t disagree that there are people more oppressed than Cubans. Admitting that doesn’t mean that Cubans aren’t oppressed nor does it imply that they do not deserve the benefits under the 1966 CAA. That said, are you sure that you understand what the words “defame and demean” mean? Especially as it relates to a political system? What does bravery and gender have to do with justifying the special treatment Cubans receive? Cuba once posed an existential threat to the safety and sovereignty of the US through their geographic proximity to the US and their political proximity to the former Soviet Union. Given the unique role they played during the Cold War, it should come as no surprise that Cuba would have a unique set of rules applied to them through our foreign and immigration policy. There should be little question as to why this policy was created. The question should be why it should be continued. But that is a question applicable to all foreign policy. By the way, as tragic as the downing of Cubana Airlines Flt. #455 is, it has nothing to do with this thread.

  • January 13, 2016 at 6:49 pm
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    Since 1959, Moses, Americans have been bombarded by the type of propaganda you apply in your assessment of the stranded Cubans now being flown and bused to the U. S. It strikes me, and I’m sure others, that you seem not to have the courage or the fairness to mention one extremely important factor: Cubans on the island are the only people in the entire world that are enticed by special privileges, including instant residency and instant financial welfare, to migrate to the United States. There are far better qualified candidates — such as young girls not likely to survive the gang-related crime in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — when it comes to migrating to the U. S., something that people from around the world aspire to. But only Cubans, since 1966, have those discriminatory incentives that were imposed for the primary purpose of hurting Cuba’s revolutionary government, which exiles from the Batista-Mafia government that preceded it have tried to destroy since January 1, 1959, without bothering to explain why another Batistiano-Mafiosi rule of the island would be so much better. And, I might add, without bothering to consider how innocent Cubans on the island or aboard Cubana Flight 455, etc. were and are so drastically harmed. What a silly, cowardly question, Moses: “How bad would your life have to be to do the same?” Firing off that question and skirting the issue of special privileges/incentives FOR CUBANS ONLY insults even members of your choir, I think. Now brave-up and man-up, Moses, and explain again to the choir why Wet Foot/Dry Foot and other abominable Batistiano-related laws do not defame and demean the world’s greatest democracy, A DEMOCRACY THAT MADE AN ILL-DESIGNED RIGHT-WING TURN IN 1952 WHEN IT CHOSE TO SUPPORT THE BATISTA DICTATORSHIP IN CUBA, spawning the Cuban Revolution and making Fidel Castro a living legend as he approaches his 90th birthday in 2016. The fall-out from 1952 created Castro; the fall-out from 1959 created an unending tsunami of democratic glitches, of which Wet Foot/Dry Foot is a prime example..

  • January 13, 2016 at 10:28 am
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    These Cubans look nothing like the economic refugees from other parts of Latin America. Their clothes, personal grooming, and self-awareness betray a higher level of education and cultural exposure. They are not farm workers, maids and gardeners. Nonetheless, they are leaving whatever lives they had in Cuba behind to start all over in the US. If you know nothing about the Castro revolution and how it has affected 3 generations of Cubans, or if all you know is free healthcare and free schooling, then you should think about what these photos are saying. Despite all the propaganda about social justice and the New Man, how bad must the Cuban reality be that these everyday Cubans are risking everything to leave? How bad would your life have to be to do the same?

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