Costa Rica Arranges Direct Flights to Mexico for Stranded U.S.-Bound Cubans

By Kausha Luna on February 8, 2016

On Friday, Costa Rica announced direct flights to Mexico will be available for Cuban migrants headed to the U.S. border.

In November 2015, approximately 8,000 Cuban migrants were stranded in Costa Rica after Nicaragua closed its southern border and refused to let the Cubans pass. According to the initial agreement between Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the International Organization for Migration, the Cubans would be flown to El Salvador and bussed through Guatemala to Mexico. Once in Mexico, they would be free to make their way to the United States and take advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the "wet foot, dry foot" policy which stems from it.

This route was used by the first group of 180 Cubans on January 12; it was also used last week by the second group of 184 Cubans. Most of the Cuban migrants have entered the United States through Laredo, Texas.

In hopes of expediting the transfer process, Costa Rica and Mexico will make direct flights available to the Cubans. The direct flight from Costa Rica to Mexico will cost the islanders $790 each and will serve as an alternative to the original route, which costs $555. The direct flights will be available starting the second half of February.