For the past couple month, 5,000 Cuban migrants have been trying to make their way to the United States. Since the beginning of their journey, they have faced trouble being allowed to cross borders of several Central American countries. Their most recent blockade has them stranded on the island of Costa Rica. For what has almost dragged on for about a month, the Nicaraguan government, who on paper is a close ally with Cuba, has closed its borders to Cuban refugees. The Nicaraguan police forcibly halted the Cubans on their path to the US last month and have yet to ease up. To make matters worse, Guatemalan officials announced last week that Cubans will not be permitted to fly into their country and must find an alternative way to get into the United States. And to once again add to the series of misfortunate that has struck Cuban migrants, Belize has now retracted their offer to create an ‘air bridge” and fly Cubans across Nicaragua to continue their journey.
Thankfully, Costa Rica’s president, Luis Guillermo Solis, has announced that no Cuban will be forcible sent back to their native Cuba. When asked how he felt about the trouble faced by the Cubans, Solis said,
“Like you, I feel very disappointed that Guatemala, as well as Belize have denied passage through their territory to arrive in Mexico and from there continue on to your destination in the United States”.
He has said that he will continue to find a solution for this issue and help however he can to get Cubans to their final destination.
In 2014, 17,470 Cubans made their way to US land ports along the Mexican border. In 2015, the number grew to 30,966 according to the Customs and Border Protection department. An estimated 45,000 more Cubans are expected to move through South and Central America to the United States border in 2016.
President Solis has cautioned Cubans already in Costa Rica to warn fellow Cubans still in Cuba who plan to make this pilgrimage to hold off on embarking because it may not be a good time. He has scheduled for an official visit to Cuba on Dec. 13th where he plans to discuss this travel issue with Cuban President, Raul Castro.