Authorities in Costa Rica say they will issue around 1,600 Cuban migrants special seven-day transit visas, after their detention following crossing the border from Panama.
Some 450 Cuban migrants were transferred to shelters in Costa Rica while the rest remained at the border checkpoint, Bloomberg reports.
Following improvements in relations between Washington and Havana and with the embargo finally under discussion, increasing numbers of Cubans have been making their way to Central America in hopes of heading north across Mexico and over the border into the United States.
Costa Rica’s government initially deported Cubans who arrived without proper visas, but criminal gangs soon began using the deportation process to facilitate the illegal transportation of migrants into the U.S. Since then, Cuban immigrants have begun to fill the country’s detention centers – held in an immigration limbo.
Immigration chief Kattia Rodriguez said Cubans are being given the temporary visas and are being accepted into neighboring Nicaragua. The neighboring country has started to turn back the migrants over fears of an escalating humanitarian crisis.
The trip from Cuba can take migrants around two months to reach Costa Rica.