News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nicaragua closes its southern border to wave of Cuban migrants-Bloomberg

11/16/15, "Cuban Migrant Wave Prompts Nicaragua to Bolster Border Force," Bloomberg, Michael D. McDonald

"Nicaragua dispatched its military and police to help close its southern border in a dispute with Costa Rica over the passage of Cuban migrants on their way to the U.S.

Costa Rica’s decision on Saturday to grant seven-day transit visas to 1,200 Cuban migrants who entered the country through Panama “violated national sovereignty,” Nicaragua’s government said in a statement over the weekend. Nicaraguan troops and riot police fired tear gas at people attempting to enter on Sunday in what Costa Rica called a "humanitarian crisis."

Authorities re-opened the border Monday morning to tourists and merchants. Some 450 Cuban migrants were transferred to shelters in Costa Rica while the rest remained at the border checkpoint. Nicaragua’s ambassador to the United Nations, Maria Rubiales, said Monday that Costa Rica had violated the UN Charter and international law by not consulting Nicaragua over the passage of the migrants.

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis met with legislators and cabinet members today to discuss the influx of Cuban migrants crossing the country en route to the U.S. through Central America. His government said in a statement it is working with the UN refugee agency to "guarantee the protection of the lives of these persons" and that officials have sent food and bedding to the border.

The number of Cubans seeking to migrate to the U.S. has spiked since the two countries began working in December last year to normalize relations after more than five decades. Almost 28,000 Cubans entered the U.S. in the first nine months of the 2015 fiscal year, according to the Pew Research Center, citing U.S. Census data. Cuban migrants have historically used Central America as a land bridge to the U.S., where under current law they are usually offered the chance to apply for residency after a year."

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11/16/15, "Nicaragua turns back Cuban migrants to Costa Rica," BBC 

"The Cubans said they had flown to Ecuador from where they had made their way north through Colombia and Panama to Costa Rica. 

They reported being stranded in Costa Rica after the trafficking ring which they had paid to get them to the US was broken up by the authorities.

On Saturday, Costa Rica issued seven-day transit visas to more than 1,700 Cubans detained after crossing illegally into Costa Rica from Panama. 

Nicaragua's left-wing government, which has close ties to Cuba, said that move had "unleashed a humanitarian crisis with serious consequences for our region".

The Cubans told Nicaraguan media they had waited for hours to be granted Nicaraguan transit permits before getting impatient and entering the Penas Blancas border post by force. 

They continued on foot on the Panamerican Highway north, where they were met by Nicaraguan security forces who took them back to Costa Rica....

Another migrant told Reuters news agency that "we don't want to stay in any of these countries, our aim is to reach the United States, that's our objective".

The number of Cubans leaving the Communist-run island has risen since last December when Cuba and the US announced a thaw in their relations.

Historically, Cubans reaching US soil have been given preferential treatment over migrants from other countries.

Under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, they can be granted asylum much more easily than applicants from other countries. 

But with relations between the former Cold War foes improving, many Cubans fear this policy, which dates back to the Cold War, could be abolished.

According to US Customs and Border Protection figures, more than 25,000 Cubans entered the US through its southern border between October 2014 and September 2015." map from BBC




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