Cubans in transit to the US will be received in El Salvador by Foreign Minister and IOM
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Cubans in transit to the US will be received in El Salvador by Foreign Minister and IOM

A group of 180 Cubans, stranded in Costa Rica since last November, will arrive on Tuesday in El Salvador to continue their journey through Guatemala and Mexico to the United States.

The group is expected to arrive around midnight on January 12, where they will be welcomed by the country’s Foreign Minister, Hugo Martinez, and by personnel from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The government claims to have “everything ready” for the first transfer of the migrants to El Salvador to be successful.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez thanked “hundreds” of public officials who worked overtime so that the Cubans had all their documents in order to leave the country on time.

Pilot Plan

The Cuban migrants’ journey is part of a pilot plan that Central American authorities executed to see whether it can be the ultimate solution to end of the immigration crisis that about 7,000 people currently face, termed a “humanitarian crisis” by authorities.

Since November 14 last year, Costa Rica has issued 7,802 special transit visas for Cubans, stranded in the country since Nicaragua shut its border claiming that risks were posed to its security and sovereignty.

It has been officially announced that the Costa Rican government must send a list with the names of each of the migrants to the Salvadoran Foreign Ministry, as well as all data related to their identity.

The Costa Rican government announced that the cost of the trip will be $535 and will include transportation, food, taxes in and out of each country and medical insurance, Portal Cuba reports.

However, due to the high price of the package some of the migrants declared themselves unable to afford the payment.

Authorities also warned that minors will not travel in the first group and that priority will be given to those who have been in Costa Rica the longest.

The transfer

After landing in El Salvador International Airport, Cubans will have show the immigration authorities their passports, a police solvency attesting that have no criminal record and a health record to ensure that they are in a fit state to travel.

Each of the individuals making the journey must pay $60 for document management and customs.

“These people are going to be placed on buses  straight away and taken to the border to La Hachadura and from there they will be given over to Guatemalan authorities,” Foreign Minister Martínez said.

Once there are in Guatemala, they will cross the country by land in the same vehicles to get to Mexico, where they will find out on their own how to move on to the United States.

The whole process is governed by the immigration legislation of each country en route, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, according to the IOM.