Belize GOB will not accept over 4,000 Cubans; Costa Rica disappointed
Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 9:06 a.m. CST
By BMG:The government of Belize has decided not to accept the over 4,000 Cubans stranded at the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border.
Cabinet said GOB would offer what assistance it could by way of a regional arrangement but has opted to not allow the Cubans to pass through the country. According to Cabinet Secretary Carlos Perdomo, the proposal made to Belize was to have the Cubans transit through Belize while on their way to Mexico before ultimately reaching the United States.
Mexico, however, has given no indication to Belize that it would allow the Cubans to enter that country. Apart from that, Perdomo said, there were still some questions unanswered as to how such a transit of over 4,000 people would actually work.
This ultimately led GOB to decide against allowing the Cubans passage. Had they been allowed, Cuban immigrants who were caught in Belize illegally several months ago would have also been allowed to transit with the group, however, that will not happen now.
When the proposal was first made there was public concern over allowing so many undocumented immigrants passage through the country.
Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez expressed disappointment.
“We feel deeply disillusioned with Belize’s decision,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Without a doubt, this decision complicates significantly the situation of the migrants in Costa Rica and delays their exit from the country.”
Nicaragua, a close Cuban ally, closed its border to Cuban migrants in mid-November after Costa Rica granted them transit visas to travel across its territory, sparking a diplomatic spat between the Central American neighbors. That has left nearly 3,000 Cubans awaiting a resolution at the border.
Costa Rica had proposed to bypass Nicaragua by flying the Cubans to Belize so they could continue their journey in hopes of reaching the United States, where they would receive automatic residency under U.S. law.
Gonzalez said Costa Rica would continue looking for a way to move the migrants through Central America and for additional financial support to cover their care while in his country.
The Costa Rican government warned Cuban migrants who have not yet entered the country that they should not come because conditions do not exist to receive them.
Some 45,000 Cubans are expected to move through South and Central American countries to the U.S. border this year. The Cubans fear that with the normalization of relations between their country and the United States that the special immigration privileges they enjoy in the U.S. could come to an end.
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