14ymedio, Havana, 5 February 2016 — The Mexican government has decided to accelerate the transfer of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica and will extend the “humanitarian measure” to those who are in a similar situation in other Central American countries. In a statement released Friday by its regional headquarters in Ciudad Hidalgo (Chiapas), the National Migration Institute (INM) said that “in the coming days we will allow the direct and orderly transfer” of Cuban migrants who have ben in Central America since last November.
In a statement, the Government of Costa Rica said that in the coming days the first flight to Mexico will take place, carrying pregnant women and family groups with children.
From the second half of this month, the direct route to Mexico “will be an alternative option,” while the trip from Costa Rica to El Salvador and the journey overland to the Mexican border at Tapachula (in Chiapas) will also continue operating.
The cost of the direct transfer to Mexico will be approximately $790 while the trip via El Salvador will remain at $545. In the pilot project for the transfer of Cuban migrants, which took place in January, the cost was set at $555.
The INM emphasizes that this is an “exceptional humanitarian measure with limited application” that “seeks to support regional efforts to resolve a situation that for months has strained relations among the countries near Mexico.”
The institute says that the measure is intended to alleviate the inability of some countries in the region to “mobilize, in reasonable time frames, to move the migrants stranded for months in Central America, with all the consequences that that entails.”
According to the statement, the measure is also intended to give the migrants certainty as to their dates of travel, and to avoid human traffickers — who offer most dangerous and high-cost routes — from exploiting their need to need continue their journey.
Today, Friday, Mexico received a group of 184 Cubans, the first of seven transfers of migrants scheduled for this month, which the countries involved agreed to on 20 January. The Cubans will arrive in Mexico through the border at Ciudad Hidalgo, in the state of Chiapas, where they will be issued, free of charge, a provisional visitors permit on humanitarian grounds, allowing them to remain in the country for up to 20 days.
The transfers, scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays, will follow the same path as the pilot program on the 12th and 13th of January, that was undertaken with the first group of 180 Cubans. The migrants will travel by plane from Liberia, Costa Rica to San Salvador, El Salvador, and from there travel by bus to the border at Tecun Uman, Guatemala, and then to the Mexican border town of Ciudad Hidalgo.
Since the beginning of this year, the Chiapas INM has received 2,259 Cubans who arrived by land from Guatemala. In 2015 it received 12,102 for the entire year.
Mexico, according to the statement, will host a meeting to exchange information and generate joint strategies to combat the smuggling of migrants in the region.