New Group of Cubans Depart Costa Rica for USA

The Cubans arriving last night to El Salvador. Photo: EFE
The Cubans arriving last night to El Salvador. Photo: EFE

HAVANA TIMES — A second group of Cuban migrants, this time comprised of 184 persons, left on Thursday night by air from Costa Rica for El Salvador, from where they will continue en route to the United States, their final destination, reported dpa news.

The migrants are part of some 8,000 Cubans that were stranded in Costa Rica since mid-November, after Nicaragua closed its territory to their passage.

One group had already left by the same safe route last January 12, after several Central American countries agreed on December 28 to launch a pilot scheme to overcome the crisis caused by the wave of Cubans fleeing their country.

The group departed to El Salvador, where they will board buses to the Guatemala-Mexico border. From there they will continue on the United States, where they receive special immigration treatment under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

The crisis originated after Costa Rica broke up a network of people smugglers (coyotes), leaving the Cubans stranded. They had entered Ecuador legally, which at the time did not require a visa, and then journeyed illegally by land and water through Colombia and Panama before reaching Costa Rica.

Of the nearly 8,000 who initially received temporary visas in Costa Rica, an estimated 3,000 have left in the last month at their own risk using “coyotes” (smugglers).

The 184 Cubans who left the airport in Liberia, a city located about 300 kilometers from San Jose, were staying in shelters set up by the Costa Rican government in the area.