Solís pins his hopes on meeting that will consider Cuban migrants

President Luis Guillermo Solís said he was hoping for positive news on the stranded Cuban immigrants when he meets with other Central American heads of state in El Salvador Thursday.

In a press conference before leaving Cuba Tuesday, Solís again characterized the problem as being a multi-national one and not just Costa Rica’s.

The meeting Thursday is of the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana.

Solís did not share any discussion he might have had on the topic with Cuban President Raúl Castro. They met earlier in the day.

The estimated 5,000 Cuban migrants in Costa Rica are stuck because Nicaragua, a Cuban ally, declines to let them enter that country.

Guatemala and Belize already have declined to provide passage to the migrants.

Solís said that any Cubans who wish to return to their homeland are guaranteed entry.

A reporter asked if Solís has contacted the United States, the destination of the Cubans, to see if entry visas could be issued. But the Costa Rican president said that was a matter between Cuba and the United States.

Cubans are given preferential entry into the United States under a 1966 law.

Tuesday an unidentified senior U.S. official said in Washington, D.C., that there was no plan to alter current migration policy, referring to the stranded Cubans, according to Voice of America.

The official added that U.S. concerns about Cuba’s human
rights record remained a top priority in negotiations toward normalization, the U.S. news agency said.

In his press conference, Solís said Costa Rican officials were working intensely to allow the Cubans to continue their trip. Most of the migrants have been stuck in Costa Rica since mid-November.

Costa Rica has provided most of them shelter, food and health services.

President Solís is shown in his formal visit with Raúl Castro.

President Solís is shown in his formal visit with Raúl Castro.

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