First group of Cuban refugees arrive at Mexico border town

First group of 113 Cubans arrive at Mexico border town Nuevo Laredo, as part of efforts to allow refugees trapped in Costa Rica passage to US

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Cubans migrants use their cell phones at a shelter in La Cruz, Costa Rica January 12, 2016

A group of 113 Cubans arrived to Mexican border town Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday, as part of efforts to transfer refugees trapped in Costa Rica on their way to the United States.

In January, Mexico and Central American countries approved a plan for flights to allow the more than 7,000 Cubans trapped in Costa Rica since mid-November when Nicaragua closed its borders to continue on to the United States.

Cubans are concerned that in the aftermath of re-establishment of diplomatic relations, Washington will cease or change its immigration policies which grant Cubans relatively easy visa-free residence.

However, Nicaragua and Ecuador - both allies of Cuba unlike Costa Rica - block the passage of refugees without visas.

Cuban mass migration to the US first started when communist leader Fidel Castro overthrew the US-backed government of Cuba in 1959 and aligned itself with the Communist USSR.

Cubans who feared negative consequences of the political transition migrated to the US, mainly during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In support of those fleeing the communist regime, the US gave Cubans financial assistance and automatic residence with the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act.

After a half-century estrangement, the United States and Cuba marked a new era in their diplomatic ties by re-opening their embassies in July.

TRTWorld, Reuters