Costa Rica Talks with Belize about Cuban Migrants

Guatemala rejects serving as a bridge because it could not explain the ´special treatment´ to its citizens

By: Juventud Rebelde

Email: digital@juventudrebelde.cu

2015-12-05 | 18:54:03 EST
SAN JOSE, Dec. 4. The Costa Rican government announced on Friday that the Guatemalan authorities refused to make "a bridge" so that the more than 4,000 Cubans who are in Costa Rican territory can reach the United States, and are now talking to neighbouring Belize for the same purpose.
According to the Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez, the president of Guatemala, Alejandro Maldonado, claimed security and logistical reasons for rejecting the plan, in addition to demanding a guarantee that Mexico would accept the Cubans once they reached the border.
He also indicated that it would be "difficult to explain" to his country why Cuban migrants are given "special treatment".
The ´wet feet, dry feet´ policy, the Parole Program for Physicians and the Cuban Adjustment Act facilitate and stimulate illegal Cuban migration to be received in the United States and given residence, which clearly constitutes a discriminatory situation against hundreds of thousands of Latino immigrants in this hemisphere, to whom on the contrary the US closes the doors and are deported to their countries of origin.
During a recent meeting on migration issues with Cuban officials, Washington ruled out making changes to its immigration policy toward Cuba, which everybody claims to be the cause of this increase in the intention to migrate by these Cubans.
On Monday the Costa Rican Presidential Seat announced that Deputy Foreign Minister Alejandro Solano would participate the next day in Mexico at a meeting with his counterparts in that country and Guatemala in search of a solution, but now Guatemala refuses to allow the passage, but Mexico showed solidarity with Costa Rica, reported DPA.
The Cubans in Costa Rican territory, and more than a thousand who are in a similar situation in Panama, come mostly from Ecuador, where they arrived with their passports in order, but the dangerous journey they are making through the region now is illegal migration. Panama´s government has announced emergency measures for the complex situation.
The Costa Rican authorities are now negotiating with Belize, neighbouring Guatemala, on the possibility of establishing an air bridge to transfer them to cross into Mexico and then come to the United States reports the DPA news agency.
For its part, Belize is studying the Costa Rican request, but will not respond until December 8, when the cabinet of newly re-elected Dean Barrow will meet, said Reuters. "Belize must analyse the situation and make a decision," said the Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez to reporters.
The move would be by air, so it is negotiating with several airlines and other international organizations with a budget that can be paid for by the migrants.
"The Government of Costa Rica will not assume any costs," said Gonzalez, whose government is engaged in a controversial crusade to reduce public spending and raise more taxes.
The Chancellor explained that the situation was complicated because Mexico insists that its legislation prevents Cubans being received directly from Costa Rica, so they must first go through a third country, which initially was to be Guatemala.
"The plan we were working on was that Cuban migrants could use the Guatemalan territory prior to moving to the border with Mexico will not be possible," he said.
"I cannot commit to anything. There are thousands of people," said the Chancellor on the waiting times for the Cubans to make the airlift, also citing the problem of saturation of flights for the holidays. "They did not come in one day and they will not leave in a day," he warned.
Translated by ESTI

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