Belize Turns Down Costa Rica's Request to Take Stranded Cubans

By Kausha Luna on December 9, 2015

On Tuesday, the government of Belize met to discuss the proposal presented by the government of Costa Rica for Belize to serve as a spring-board for the U.S.-bound Cuban migrants currently stranded at Costa Rica's northern border because Nicaragua will not let them cross. Belize rejected Costa Rica's proposal.

According to a press release from the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "After careful consideration the Cabinet is of the view that this is a regional problem." Consequently, the government of Belize will not receive over 4,000 Cuban migrants, but, is prepared to ''participate in a regional discussion to identify the necessary mechanisms to address the Cuban immigrants transiting through the region."

Costa Rica's Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez, lamented Belize's decision, noting it further complicated the current situation. Gonzalez, in response to Belize's suggestion to work within a regional framework, indicated that this was an approach which had already been tried and failed. Nevertheless, the foreign minister reiterated that his government would continue to pursue diplomatic efforts in order to achieve the transition of Cuban migrants via Central American territory. These efforts will also seek financial support so Costa Rica may continue to attend the islanders.

Given that there is no resolution in sight, the government of Costa Rica requested the Cuban people trying to reach the United States, who have not yet reached Costa Rican territory, to refrain from doing so for the time being. Similarly, Costa Rica requested that the governments of Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama, "in a supportive and fraternal spirit," prevent Cuban migrants from moving to Costa Rica until a solution regional solution had been reached to address this "humanitarian drama."

As a result of Belize's rejection, the government of Costa Rica indicated, in disappointment, that the topic of Cuban migrants in the region will be a priority during the visit of Costa Rican President Solis to Cuba. President Solis had hoped that the current situation would be resolved prior to his visit to Cuba. In addition, the subject of Cuban migrants will also be addressed at the Summit of Presidents of the Central American Integration System (SICA), to be held in El Salvador, on December 18.

Topics: Cuba