Over 45 days ago, Cubans started flooding into Costa Rica on their way to the U.S. They left Cuba to come to Ecuador by plane and from there, they started their way up north. Crossing over Colombia and Panama, their plan was to pass over Central America and Mexico before getting to their American Dream. However, things changed as soon as they hit the northern Costa Rican border. Nicaragua decided to close up their territory and did not allow any cubans to cross, reasons for this remain unknown.
With the scenario, Costa Rica faced a big problem. Cubans kept coming, but they were not going out. Buses were flowing from the Panamenian border to different towns in Costa Rica where temporary lodging was set up for the immigrants. Towns like Upala, Bijagua, Nicoya, La Cruz, Peñas Blancas and Liberia started to fill up with Cubans.
It is estimated that currently there are about 8,000 cubans in Costa Rican territory not able to get to their final destination: the U.S. However, last Monday, government representatives from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica met to discuss a way out of the immigration crisis. Nowing that the U.S. is willing to receive all the cubans in their territory, as long as they make their way over there, these countries found what seems to be a good solution to this situation.
Cubans will travel by plane to El Salvador, to avoid traveling through Nicaragua. From there they will be bussed into Mexico through Guatemalan territory. It is still unknown about how they will make it from Mexico to the U.S., but at least there seems to be hope for both the Cuban immigrants and the Costa Rican people as they issue is already costing the country close to $3.000.000 in providing food and lodging for the Cubans.
On the positive side, the cubans feel welcomed in Costa Rica and they have said that Costa Ricans have been helpful, friendly and have received them with open arms and open hearts. They are impressed with how the Ticos have sought to help them in their difficult situation and this has made their stay a bit easier despite all the difficulties they are facing.
Crisis like this are always a good way to proof people´s character and helping skills.