Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Central American leaders meet, aim to resolve Cuba migratory crisis

Central American leaders meet, aim to resolve Cuba migratory crisis

An estimated 3,000 Cubans are stuck in Costa Rica amid border impasse
Nicaragua reiterates position that it will not open its borders
Costa Rica calls for a regional solution

Central American foreign ministers met Tuesday in hopes of finding a
solution for the estimated 3,000 Cubans who have been stuck in northern
Costa Rica since Nicaragua barred them from passing more than a week ago.

Costa Rica's Foreign Minister Manuel González, speaking at the meeting
of the Central American bloc of nations, SICA, in El Salvador, called
for a broader approach to the growing crisis.

"This is a regional humanitarian issue that should not be seen from the
perspective of security or as a bilateral issue between the states that
are involved," he said in a statement.

Costa Rica has asked for a "migration corridor" through Central America
that would allow the Cubans to reach their destination in the United States.

Nicaragua's Deputy Foreign Minister Dennis Moncada on Tuesday, however,
reiterated that his nation would not allow the Cubans to enter the country.

El Salvador's Foreign Ministry late Tuesday said no solution had been
reached but "progress has been made."

Nicaragua has accused Costa Rica of provoking the humanitarian crisis by
allowing Cuban migrants to form a critical mass that overwhelmed border
guards earlier this month. Costa Rica, in turn, has said the migrants
wouldn't be an issue if Nicaragua would simply open its borders and
allow them to pass.

"We should not play with the legitimate aspiration of these people who
are seeking a better life," González added. "No country should have the
right to stop a solution to this problem."

Foreign ministry officials from Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba and Colombia — all
nations along the Cuban migration route — also attended the event.

The political impasse is raising tensions in the region and focusing
attention on the U.S. 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which provides
residency and benefits to islanders who can set foot on U.S. soil.

Cubans have been heading to the United States in droves this year, amid
fears that their special status might come to an end amid improved ties
between Havana and Washington.

Cuba has long denounced the policy, saying it is responsible for brain
drain and sparks dangerous migration attempts, including the thousands
of people who try to cross the Florida Straits every year in rickety rafts.

The U.S., for its part, has said it will uphold the policy.

Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua's first lady and a spokeswoman for the
country, accused Costa Rica of "using the crisis" to justify the Cuban
Adjustment Act, which she said was "designed and maintained by the
United States as part of the embargo against Cuba," according to
state-run media.

Many of the migrants stuck at the Peñas Blancas border crossing in Costa
Rica began their journey in Ecuador — one of the few nations that
doesn't require visas for Cubans — then continued overland through
Colombia and Panama, before making their way up through Central America.

Source: Central American leaders meet, aim to resolve Cuba migratory
crisis | Miami Herald -

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