Cuban Migrants Pile Up on Closed Nicaraguan Border
Pressure Builds for “Humanitarian Corridor” from Ecuador to Mexico
The wave of Cuban migrants crossing from Central America on foot to reach the United States has created a serious crisis in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, where thousands remain stranded. To address the situation with local governments, Cuban Foreign Relations Minister Bruno Rodríguez visited Nicaragua to meet President Daniel Ortega.
Rodríguez also visited President Rafael Correa in Ecuador, the starting point for many migrants’ journeys since this is the only Latin American country that allows Cubans to enter without a visa.
On November 19 and 20, the presidents discussed what to do with the Cuban migrants who, after traveling across Costa Rica, are not allowed to cross the Nicaraguan border.
The exodus turned into an international crisis on November 15, when Nicaragua shut down its border and violently deported hundreds of migrants who had managed to cross into its territory. Cubans are in a hurry to arrive in the United States because they believe the Cuban Adjustment Act, which grants them permanent residence and benefits, could undergo changes following the normalization of relations between Washington and Havana.
After Nicaragua shut down and militarized its southern border, Costa Rica accused Ortega of creating a “humanitarian” crisis. Nicaragua responded by accusing its neighbor of “breaching its national sovereignty.”
In the meantime, Costa Rican migration authorities issued 3,037 temporary visas to those Cubans who arrived by land, most of them from Ecuador. Some 2,000 migrants are temporarily living in Costa Rican shelters.
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