Updated 08:25 PM EDT, Wed, Oct 20, 2021

Costa Rica's Migrant Crisis: 180 U.S.-Bound Cubans Fly to El Salvador

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The first batch of about 8,000 Cuban migrants in Costa Rica have been transported to El Salvador on Tuesday, and are expected to continue through Central America and Mexico where they will be given temporary visas.

According to an AFP report posted in Yahoo News, 180 Cubans left for El Salvador on Tuesday, thanks to a deal initiated by five Central American governments in cooperation with Mexico.

The Costa Rican authorities described this development as a trial run for the agreement that aims to remedy the growing humanitarian crisis, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The group, composed of 109 men and 71 women, was among 8,000 Cubans stranded in the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua after the latter decided to deny entry to their country during the middle of November last year.

"After being flown to El Salvador, the 109 men and 71 women were driven 13 hours by bus through Guatemala and across the Suchiate River at Mexico's southern border," the WSJ report explained.

According to a Reuters report, Mexican authorities are planning to provide temporary visas for the Cubans that would allow them a 20-day stay in the territory without any legal repercussions.

However, they are expected to be out of the country when the allotted period is up, since the visas were only given to them for humanitarian reasons per the National Migration Institute cited by the outlet.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez explained to Reuters on Wednesday that the Central American countries and Mexico are scheduled to meet for an assessment of the trial trip, and determine whether or not they should continue the transit program.

"We expect it to become a more stable mechanism," he told the press during an interview in San Jose.

The Mexican government further explained that the six territories would most probably talk about details on the logistics related to the payment of the migrants' travel, pegged to be around $550, which was previously reported to cover transportation and visa costs.

The sudden influx of migrants from Cuba began after the relationship between Washington and Havana warmed up.

According to previous reports, this development led to panic and fear that the current automatic refugee status offered to Cubans arriving on American soil would be ended.

This is in spite of assurances from U.S. Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson that the so-called "dry foot" Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 would not be scrapped any time soon.

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