Nov 28, 2015

Cuban Conundrum Continues

The Costa Rican Cuban situation has been well covered by the press in the last several days, and they've done a much better job at it than I possibly could, hence  no new posts.  But to avoid just leaving the topic up in the air, I will recap where things stand at the moment.  

Apparently a meeting of Central American and Cuban officials on November 24th failed to solve the issue of the 2000+ Cuban migrants who are stranded in Costa Rica at the Nicaraguan border.  They have not been granted passage onward toward the US, and Nicaragua is allegedly fortifying the border with more foot soldiers. Nicaragua is also pressuring Costa Rica to have them removed from the area where they are camped out on the Costa Rican side of the frontera. For a large number of them, their funds have run out, they are receiving food handouts from charitable Costa Rican agencies, and they are sleeping on the ground in the open. 

What seems to have been worked out during the meeting, however, is stricter regulations regarding the transit of Cubans from their home country.  Ecuador, which previously didn't require visas, is now requiring visas for Cubans wanting to travel to that country.  The visa process has to be done online, and is complicated by the fact that Cuban internet services are poor.  Cuba is stating they will welcome back any migrants who wish to return to Cuba.  

According to a BBC press release (link below) Nicaragua was the only country out of 11 Central American nations to hold out against any "joint and integral solution" to the current crisis.   Costa Rica accused the nation of acting in bad faith.  At this time Costa Rica is trying to work out a solution without the participation of Nicaragua.   More information at the link below or by searching Cubans in Costa Rica on the internet.

As an aside,  I returned to the border 4 days after my negative experience and passed into and out of Costa Rica without incident, and without the requirement of a bus ticket !  The matter took 40 minutes only.  Unreasonable bureaucrats everywhere are a pain in the behind.  All I can say is that it was my first and only ugly experience in nine years.