Cubans Without Regular Status in Costa Rica Will be Allowed to Stay at Least Two Years

An encampment of Cubans on the border of Costa Rice and Nicaragua, last August. (Facebook/Miriela Oliva Respuestos)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 13 November 2020 — The Costa Rican government has created a special category of asylum for Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans who arrived in the country before March 18, 2020 and who have had their refugee application denied.

The resolution, published this Thursday in the official newspaper La Gaceta, establishes that people in this category — called “temporary supplementary protection” — can stay for a period of two years, extendable in equal periods. The beneficiaries may be free to perform any paid work activity, “as self-employed or in a dependent relationship.”

In the document, it is explained that the decision was made because of the emergency generated by the coronavirus pandemic and by the vulnerable situation experienced by the citizens of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The situation in these three countries, the resolution details, leads Costa Rica “to carry out a differentiated approach to the migratory situation of people who, due to their own conditions, will not achieve the recognition of refugee or the authorization of legal permanence, but who will not leave the territory national, both due to the situation of the global pandemic caused by Covid 19, and the precarious situation in their countries of origin.”

In addition, the resolution notes that since 2014, Costa Rica has registered a considerable increase in applications for refugee status by Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Cubans. Regarding the latter, they state that “they are changing their migratory behavior” and are seeking to establish themselves in the Central American country.

Last August, the Costa Rican government transferred 225 Cubans who had entered illegally from Panama to a camp in the province of Guanacaste, where they remained in lamentable conditions on the border with Nicaragua.

Costa Rica’s General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners granted expedited refuge to 32 migrants, but the majority rejected it because they did not wish to reside in the Central American country, but rather wanted to continue their journey to the United States.

In 2018, Cuba and Costa Rica signed an agreement on migration matters to enhance cooperation between both countries in the fight against irregular migration, human smuggling and trafficking, as well as associated crimes.


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