Shelters opened to house illegal Cuban migrants

Costa Rica appears to be stuck with more than a thousand illegal Cuban migrants who are trying to reach the United States.

Costa Rican officials are emphasizing a humanitarian approach while at the same time denying that they encouraged migrants to try to enter Nicaragua Sunday.

The national emergency commission said that 450 Cubans are in two shelters in La Cruz in northwestern Costa Rica near the Nicaraguan border. In all, the needs of some 1,200 illegal migrants are being looked after, said the commission. More shelters will be opened, it added.

Costa Rica has issued many of the Cubans seven-day visas so they could travel to Nicaragua. But Nicaragua closed the door Friday and chased a number of migrants back into Costa Rica Sunday.

Left unsaid is how these migrants planned to

Cuban men make hand signs at a shelter opened in La Cruz.

Cuban men make hand signs at a shelter opened in La Cruz.

enter the United States. Most likely they were going to brave the desert route from México.

There are families and children, but many of the migrants are young men and women and fit the description of economic migrants, that is, those seeking jobs.

A U.S. expat who lives in the southern part of Costa Rica said that he has seen Cubans entering Costa Rica for the last 14 months.

He also said that when he visited the Paso Canoas immigration office, he saw one and perhaps two bus loads of Cubans headed north.

The expat said he tried to notify the U.S. Embassy about the situation without results. So Monday he said he wrote to Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate.

Also Monday Manuel González Sanz, the foreign minister, repeated his statement that allegations by Nicaragua were unfounded that Costa Rica caused Cubans to enter that country Sunday. Nicaragua made its allegation Sunday.

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