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Dec 21, 2015

FM Elrington Says Cuban Migrant Situation Regretful

As many as six thousand Cubans are stuck in Costa Rica since November, unable to make their way to the United States. Once they set foot on American soil they would be granted residency under the wet foot dry foot policy of the United States. But to date Belize, Nicaragua and Guatemala have denied them transit. The situation has drawn the ire of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis who has gone on record to express his disappointment and frustration. In fact, Costa Rica last Friday officially walked out in protest of the summit in El Salvador of the Central American Integration System, SICA. Belize was also represented at that SICA Heads of Government Summit, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington told News Five that the matter was discussed at length, but the decision stands.

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“If we allow them to go from Belize to Mexico and the Mexican government does not allow them to go through, then Mexico will send them back, and we don’t have the resources – neither financial nor infrastructural – to deal with thousands and thousands of migrants. So the Prime Minister said look we are prepared to look at it favourably, but in the context of a regional arrangement. The opportunity for that came last week when we had the Heads of Government meeting of SICA in El Salvador. The Prime Minister didn’t go but I headed the delegation and we discussed this matter extensively. The concerns that the Guatemalans had, that the Nicaraguans had and that Belize had were identical. Belize, Nicaragua and Guatemala are saying what will happen if these people are not allowed to go through Mexico to the United States. They will be sent back to our countries and we can’t afford to deal with them. Our position at the meeting last Friday is that it has to be done in a regional way. We have to have a proper plan or roadmap with guarantees. We want guarantees from the International Organization for Migration that they will help us to help these people. We also want guarantees from the Mexicans that they will allow these people to pass through without any problem and we need to have some kind of indication from the United States that we will not be penalized for our participation in this kind of activity.”

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