OAS calls deal on Cuban migrants “a giant step forward”

Luis Almagro

WASHINGTON, United States, Wednesday December 30, 2015 – The Organization of American States (OAS) has welcomed an agreement that will allow Cuban migrants who have been stranded in Costa Rica to continue their journey into the United States.

Secretary General Luis Almagro, who said he has followed the process closely, described it as “a giant step forward”.

Under an agreement reached on Monday in Guatemala by Mexico and six Central American countries, from next month the Cubans will be airlifted to El Salvador and put on buses to cross Guatemala into Mexico and cross the border into the US to take advantage of America’s ‘wet foot dry foot policy’ which allows Cuban migrants who arrive on land to enter the country and apply for residency.

About 7,000 Cuban migrants had travelled to Ecuador through Colombia and Panama and into Costa Rica but had been blocked from entering Nicaragua.

cubans stranded

The migrants have been stranded at the Costa Rica border since mid-November.

 

“The humanitarian situation of the Cuban migrants required a quick and integral solution, and this agreement facilitates that. We have to congratulate the diplomatic efforts made by the countries involved. They have taken a giant step forward,” Almagro said.

He stressed that “migrants have the same rights as other citizens” and that those rights are valid regardless of the administrative situation of the migrants.

The Secretary General offered the support of the OAS to protect migration in the hemisphere against human trafficking, and to develop the agreement.

Almagro also reiterated the need to protect migrants throughout their route.

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