Costa Rica Accuses Managua of Forcibly Expelling 1,600 Cuban Migrants
Costa Rica Accuses Managua of Forcibly Expelling 1,600 Cuban Migrants /
Posted on November 16, 2015
EFE/14ymedio, Managua, 16 November 2015 — Tension is growing between
Costa Rica and Nicaragua because of a group of 1,600 Cubans trying to
cross the border with safe conduct passes issued by the Costa Rican
authorities, who are being blocked by the Nicaraguan army.
On Sunday, Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez rejected
Nicaragua’s accusations with regards to the granting of temporary visas
to Cubans and strongly criticized the use of force to prevent them from
crossing the border.
“I absolutely refute each one of the words included in the statement of
the Nicaraguan authorities,” Gonzalez said at a news conference,
referring to the Nicaraguan Government’s official bulletin in which in
branded Costa Rica as irresponsible and provoking a humanitarian crisis.
“Sending the country’s Army against a migrant population in the
situation in which men, women and children find themselves. That’s the
way this country (Nicaragua) addresses this issue,” the foreign minister
The diplomat denied that Costa Rica has “launched” the Cuban immigrants
on Nicaragua saying that Nicaragua closed the border last Friday, which
prompted the Cubans to try to cross illegally.
According to Gonzalez, the Nicaraguan Army repelled the immigrants with
gas and violence, and he lamented that that country does not see the
situation as a humanitarian issue.
“What Costa Rica has done is to regularize the situation of immigrants
through a seven day transit visa. But when other countries take the
irresponsible decision to close their borders, these people will search
for any mechanism to reach their destination” said the minister.
The foreign minister said his country respected international treaties
and the human rights of immigrants, and that this can be confirmed by
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the
International Organization for Migration (IOM) with whom they worked on
At the same time, the Nicaraguan Army announced the reinforcement, by an
infantry battalion, of the southern border. The military institution
said in a statement Sunday that the Costa Rican authorities “launched”
Cuban citizens on the legal crossing of Peñas Blancas, “who pushed for
the forced and illegal entry into the country, violating our laws.”
As a result, the Army said that the Caribbeans are being held and
captured by its border detachments to return them to Costa Rica.
“In compliance with the mandate of the Constitution and laws of
Nicaragua to ensure the defense of our borders, the inviolability of the
national territory and to enforce our laws, the Army of Nicaragua will
not allow the entry of illegal persons into the country, to which end it
has reinforced the southern border with an infantry battalion,” he added.
In recent weeks a wave of some 1,600 Cuban immigrants gathered on the
border between Costa Rica and Panama, which the Costa Rican government
decided to resolve by giving them seven day transit visas through that
The Cubans initially arrived in Ecuador by air, then passed illegally by
sea and land through Colombia and Panama to reach Costa Rica. Their
intention is to cross all of Central America.
Foreign Minister Gonzalez called on all countries involved in the
transit of Cuban immigrants to create a “humanitarian corridor” to give
them protection and to ensure respect for their human rights so that
they would not fall into the human trafficking networks.
“Far from missing our responsibility, knowing that Costa Rica is not the
point of origin of this situation nor its point of destination, we
advocate the creation of a humanitarian corridor. This is a structural
problem that must be tackled internationally for all countries
involved,” he said.
Source: Costa Rica Accuses Managua of Forcibly Expelling 1,600 Cuban
Migrants / EFE, 14ymedio | Translating Cuba –