High five, saying goodbye and flashing national flags of Costa Rica and Cuba, a group of 180 Cuban migrants started their journey out of Costa Rica by air for El Salvador on January 12, in a trial plan designed to open a path for thousands of stranded compatriots to follow.
(Soundbite) ADALBERTO VEJARANO, Cuban Migrant
“Here in Costa Rica, the people welcomed us very well. It has been difficult for us because we were stuck here for a while. We wanted to arrive soon in the United States. We have had very good support from Costa Rica.”
After arriving in El Salvador, they expect to take buses to cross Guatemala and be dropped off in Mexico with 20-day visas to make their own way to the U.S. border.
More transfer will follow in the upcoming weeks at the expanses of the migrants themselves.
(Soundbite) KATYA RODRIGUEZ, Director of Immigration of Costa Rica
“We have worked very hard. We tried to identify all possible details. The migrants have cooperated very well. They helped us to make it easy. They have complied with order. They are extremely respectful.”
The U.S. has a longstanding policy of accepting Cuban migrants who set dry foot on its land, which has propelled tens of thousands of Cubans to take almost 8,000 kilometers of trek through Central America to realize their American dreams.
Due to differences and disputes among Central American countries about the policy concerning Cuban migrants, thousands of them have been stalemated in Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras since mid-November.