Regional meeting fails to resolve the Cuban migrant situation

Government officials expressed optimism Tuesday night that a solution is coming for the problem of the Cuban migrants. Still the government of Nicaragua has been characterized as intransigent in its refusal to allow the Cubans to pass through the country.

Foreign minister Manuel González Sanz returned to Costa Rica Tuesday night after a meeting in San Salvador of officials from Cuba, México and other Central American nations.

His ministry said that other countries will make announcements in the next few days and that technicians are working to improve the discussion. In addition, Cuba has offered to accept back any migrants who chose to return, the ministry said.

The meeting was organized by the Comisión de Seguridad del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana.

Nicaraguan sources called the meeting a failure and noted that the government there has said it will not change its mind.

There are perhaps 2,900 Cuban migrants in Costa Rica. More are expected to arrive. International sources estimate that perhaps as many as 45,000 Cubans will make the long land trip to arrive in the United States in the next year. In addition there are reports of thousands of Cubans trying to reach the United States over water.

The typical migrant here flew from Cuba to Ecuador and then managed to reach Costa Rica by land transportation. However, some have come from other South American and Caribbean countries.

In the past such trips were engineered by human traffickers who sheltered and moved the migrants for a fee. But now the bulk of the travelers are connected with others on social networks and smartphones to find out what is ahead.

Costa Rica finds itself in the human trafficking business. Nearly a dozen shelters have been set up.

Costa Rica began to admit the Cubans when they showed up at the southern border Nov. 12. Government officials did so with the belief that Nicaragua would admit the migrants. But three days later Nicaragua closed its border to the migrants, who have been stuck here since.

There never has been a clear explanation why Nicaragua, a

 close ally of Cuba did that. The speculation is that the border was closed at the request of Cuba which does not want to lose thousands of skilled laborers.

At the very least, the migration is an embarrassment to Cuba with so many citizens voting against socialism with their feet.

Even the region’s Catholic officials have called upon Nicaragua to open up a corridor for the migrants.

The United States has a 1966 law that gives immediate refugee status to Cubans under certain conditions. Many Cubans fear the law will be changed and they will not be able to migrate.

This fear seems to be fanned by postings on social media networks.

The Cold War Cuban Adjustment Act was designed to shelter political refugees from Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The migrants in Costa Rica are mainly of the economic variety.

Costa Rica is treating the migrant invasion as a human rights situation.

Others are not so high-minded. Cell telephone companies have moved quickly to find customers among the migrants who can easily call family in Cuba by using the network here.

The migrants also represent as market for food, clothing and other products.

Foreign minister Manuel A. González is bracketed by  Kathya Rodríguez, the director of immigration, and Linyi Baidal, director of foreign policies at the San Salvador meeting.

Foreign minister Manuel A. González is bracketed by Kathya Rodríguez, the director of immigration, and Linyi Baidal, director of foreign policies at the San Salvador meeting.

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