The Costa Rican government announced Friday that next week direct flights to Mexico will begin for Cuban migrants who have been stranded in the Central American country since last November on their way to the United States.
"We are pleased to announce that the governments of Costa Rica and Mexico have agreed to carry out direct flights to make travel easier for Cuban migrants," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Costa Rican government said the flight will cost migrants $790 each and will be an alternative to the other current travel arrangement, which consists of a flight to El Salvador followed by land transport to the Guatemala-Mexico border, which costs $555.
For the flights to Mexico, authorities will give priority to families with children.
"The good will of Mexican authorities will permit the increase in the number and frequency of flights from our country and make the trip easier, which in turn will speed up the departure of this migrant population," the statement said.
A second group of Cubans left Costa Rica Thursday night - 184 people - by air to El Salvador, to continue from there by land to Mexico with the aid of the International Organization for Migration.
The first such journey was carried out on Jan. 12 with 180 Cubans in a pilot operation, which the participating governments hailed as a success.
Once in Mexico, the Cubans must travel by their own means to the United States.
Six more such migrations are scheduled for this month.
The migratory crisis began Nov. 15 when Nicaragua closed its borders to the Cubans on grounds of risks to its security and sovereignty.
Since then Costa Rica issued 7,802 temporary visas to the islanders up to Dec. 18, when the awarding of those documents was suspended because the country had exhausted its capacity for providing the humanitarian aid of shelters, where 4,800 Cubans are lodged. EFE