Nicaragua Turns Away Hundreds of Cuban Migrants
As Europe debates migrant policies, the Latin American nation of Nicaragua has turned away hundreds of Cuban migrants.
The BBC reports Nicaragua has accused Costa Rica of sending thousands of Cuban migrants their way.
The large numbers of Cubans trying to get into the U.S. is motivated by the recent thaw in relations between the two countries.
The migrating Cubans fear that, as relations between the communist country and the U.S. improve, the U.S. might stop granting Cubans the right to stay in the country. The current “wet foot, dry foot policy” allows anyone who fled Cuba and entered the U.S. the ability to pursue residency.
The Cubans trying to reach the U.S. through Nicaragua have taken a very roundabout route, flying first to Ecuador before marching north through Colombia and Panama to get to Costa Rica.
The migrants say they were stranded in Costa Rica after the authorities broke up the trafficking ring, which was trying to get them to the U.S.
On Saturday, Costa Rica issued week-long transit visas to over 1,700 Cubans who were held after illegally crossing into Costa Rica from Panama.
Nicaragua responded to the move by critiquing Costa Rica for unleashing what they have called a humanitarian crisis into their region.
Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez chided Nicaragua's response to the migrants.
"When other countries take the irresponsible decision to close their borders, people will use any means to reach their destination," said the foreign minister.
More and more Cubans have been trying to reach to the U.S. by land in recent years, rather than risk making the journey to Florida shores by raft.
The Guardian reports that in 2014 the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol numbers show that over 22,000 Cubans came to the U.S. via the Mexican and Canadian borders.
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