Nicaragua Expels Nearly 2000 Cubans

Militarizes southern border with Costa Rica.

Nearly 2,000 Cuban immigrants were expelled on Sunday from Nicaragua. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Nicaragua militarized its southern border with Costa Rica following an attempt on Sunday by nearly two thousand Cubans immigrants to enter the Central American country’s territory, reported dpa news.

The immigrants, mostly en route north to the United States to take advantage of the Cuban Ajustment Act, receive no assistance on their behalf from the Cuban embassy in Managua and the Cuban media back home only reports on immigrant crises in other countries, not those involving Cuban nationals.

In a statement issued late on Sunday, the Nicaraguan Army reinforced its southern border with an infantry battalion “to ensure the inviolability of the national territory and enforce our laws.”

Nicaragua complains of mistreatment of its immigrants in other countries but takes a hard line on those from other countries trying to pass through its territory.

Over the weekend, Costa Rica sent north to Nicaragua a large group of undocumented Cubans (between 1,600 and 1,900 according to local press) after announcing on Friday they would be “deported” to the neighboring country, whose government reportedly said it would not receive them.

In response to the presence of the immigrants, Nicaragua mobilized special forces of the police, army troops and helicopters to the border post of Peñas Blancas, 150 kilometers south of Managua, to prevent their entry.

According to the local newspaper “La Prensa”, the group of 1,917 Cubans of all ages “forcibly entered Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas” and managed to advance about ten kilometers until they were stopped by a roadblock of riot police that fired rubber bullets and launched tear gas.

By late afternoon, the police confirmed in a press release that “special forces carried out the operation, with the result that the Cuban migrants were returned to Costa Rican territory from which they had come.”

The Nicaraguan Army blames Costa Rican authorities for promoting the illegal entry of the Cubans at “blind spots” along the border for a week, leading up to the crisis on Sunday.

The Nicaraguan government issued a statement, read by first lady and spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo, in which she accused Costa Rica of taking “a deliberate and irresponsible action” to send to Nicaragua “thousands of Cuban citizens from their territory “.

“We emphatically denounce the Government of Costa Rica for violation of our national sovereignty and for breach of its obligations as a State participating in international mechanisms on respect for sovereign borders and the rights of those who go from one country to another,” said Murillo.

“We hold the government responsible of Costa Rica for triggering a humanitarian crisis of grave consequences for our region,” she added without specifying the exact number of undocumented Cubans.

The government of Costa Rica immediately rejected the accusations in a statement from the Foreign Ministry which said “it has made the effort needed to address the situation responsibly.”

Last week, Costa Rica disbanded a gang engaged in human trafficking and decided to expel to Nicaragua the illegal Cubans who came to this country from Ecuador.

According to the victims, traffickers, called “coyotes” charged up to $15,000 to some 1,600 Cubans to take them to the United States passing through Ecuador, Colombia and Panama and on to Central America and Mexico.