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Latin American ministers to meet on Cuban migration

Update: November, 20/2015 - 13:00

SAN JOSE — Foreign ministers of Latin American countries affected by a surge of US-bound Cuban migrants will meet next week to discuss a proposal for a "humanitarian corridor", the Costa Rican government has said.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez told reporters he and his counterparts from Cuba, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala had all given their backing for the meeting.

They are to gather in El Salvador on Tuesday.

Hundreds of Cubans a week are flying to Ecuador, where they don't require a visa, and trying to make their way overland and by boat through Central America and Mexico to the United States.

Their numbers have greatly increased in recent months because of a fear by Cuban migrants that a thaw in US-Cuban relations announced nearly a year ago will end a US policy of giving Cubans asylum.

The influx has aggravated tensions between neighbours Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with the latter using police and soldiers to block around 2,000 Cubans from crossing the border.

Costa Rica argues the Cuban issue is a humanitarian one requiring a "humanitarian corridor" to facilitate Cuban migrants' travel.

But Nicaragua says Costa Rica is trying to violate its sovereignty.

Havana says it wants "a swift and adequate solution which takes the well-being of Cuban citizens into consideration". In a sign of the obstacles to be navigated in the mooted talks in San Salvador, Nicaragua's government complained that in discussions on Thursday to set up the meeting, Costa Rica "refused to include in the agenda the discussion about irregular and illegal migration". — AFP


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