This could be crucial day for Cubans

Soon Costa Rica will have more Cubans than some communities on the island. The Cuban population has at least exceeded 5,000 and there are thousands more waiting to enter the country from the southern border.

Today is a crucial day for the Cubans and government officials. The government of Belize is expected to report its decision on whether the migrants will be allowed to pass over its territory on their way to the United States.

Approval from Belize would be a big assist to the Costa Rican government, which would like to stop housing the Cubans in public shelters.

The Cubans, of course, would like to continue heading north to the United States where they can take advantage of a favorable 1966 immigration law that will allow them to enter.

Nicaragua has closed its border to the Cubans, perhaps as a favor to the Cuban government that does not want to continue to lose skilled workers and professionals.

Guatemala already has declined to be a land bridge for the migrants.

The Costa Rican government already is making plans to extend the temporary visas that were awarded the Cubans when they arrived. This would be the second extension.

There have been few incidents at the dozen shelters housing the Cubans. The weekend saw live bands in some shelters that provided an evening of dancing.

One Cuban woman was stopped Thursday at the Paso Canoas border crossing because she was wanted as a criminal suspect in Cuba. Local police officials could not give a consistent reason and she was varyingly reported to be a murder suspect or part of an international drug ring.

Neither may be true.

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