On January 13, the first group of Cuban migrants who traveled from Central America to Mexico’s southern border received documents permitting them to continue their journey to the United States.
The group departed from Costa Rica on route to San Salvador, El Salvador on the evening of January 12, as part of a pilot plan adopted by various Central American countries with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration. Sources close to the operation reported a smooth and orderly process.
On arrival in Mexico, the National Migration Institute (INAMI) presented the Cubans with a 20-day residency permit, after which they will be obliged to leave the country.
After arriving in El Salvador, the first group traveled on four buses to La Hacadura Guatemalan border and from there to Mexico.
Guatemala’s Ombudsman for Human Rights (PDH) traveled with the Cubans to ensure that their rights were respected.
According to Prensa Latina, if the plan is successful, the other 7,000 Cubans still stranded in Costa Rica will gradually follow the same process.
For its part, Costa Rica reported January 13, that it would call on international organizations to help finance the Cubans’ journey, who have been stranded on the country’s border with Nicaragua since November, 2015.
Costa Rica’s Director of Migration and Immigration, Kathya Rodríguez, stated that next week her office will carry out a survey of those unable to pay the cost of the journey, which ranges between $555 and $570 dollars for adults and $350 for children, as it includes transportation, food, arrival and departure taxes in every country, as well as medical insurance.
Since November 15 through December 18, 2015, Costa Rica has issued 7,802 special travel visas to the Cuban migrants – the first group of individuals to receive these documents was also the first to depart under the pilot plan.
The majority of the Cuban migrants left the island legally via airplane headed to Ecuador, from where they traveled by land, air and sea through Colombia and Panama, until arriving in Costa Rica.
Their objective is to reach the United States, where the “wet-foot-dry-foot” policy and Cuban Adjustment Act remain in force, policies which encourage the illegal migration of Cubans.