Still No Solution for U.S.-Bound Cubans in Costa Rica

By Kausha Luna on December 27, 2015

The member states of the Central American Integration System (SICA), plus Mexico and the United States, met in Mexico last week to explore possible solutions for the U.S.-bound Cubans stranded in Costa Rica because of Nicaragua's refusal to let them pass. The meeting failed to produce a solution but steps were taken in favor of Costa Rica's "humanitarian corridor," which would allow the Cubans to leapfrog over Nicaragua and continue northward.

At the meeting Mexico reiterated that once the Cuban migrants reach the Mexican border with Guatemala, they would be let through so they may continue their transit to the United States.

The U.S. representative also clarified that U.S. law requires acceptance of the Cuban migrants if they reach U.S. territory by land (the so-called "wet foot/dry foot" policy), but it not would be possible to receive them directly by plane, because this would require all visa requirements to be met.

Multiple countries have criticized and called for the Cuban Adjustment Act to be repealed, including Cuba, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.

Previously, Guatemala had said that it would be willing to receive the islanders flown from Costa Rica under certain conditions—one of those conditions being that Mexico guaranteed it would receive the migrants. Despite Mexico's guarantee, Costa Rica's Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez lamented that Guatemala sustained its previous position and will not accept the migrants. However, Guatemala's stance may change; ; as Costa Rica's president explained a few days ago, Guatemala's President Elect Jimmy Morales (set to take office in January) may hold a different position from that of current President Alejandro Maldonado, and may decide to receive the Cuban migrants.

The parties are expected to meet again Monday, assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Topics: Cuba