Some 600 Cubans entered the U.S. at Laredo, Texas, in the last five days, and the rate of arrivals will remain constant for the next three months, according to the founder of the "Cubanos en Libertad," Alejandro Ruiz. 

In a telephone conversation with EFE, Ruiz said that many of the Cubans stranded in Central America since November are coming to the United States under their own steam or with the aid of traffickers known as "coyotes."

"They're really desperate," said Ruiz, who came to the U.S. in 1992 and now helps his compatriots after they cross the bridge over the Rio Grande.

Since mid-November, thousands of Cubans who left their country with the intention of traveling to the U.S., found themselves trapped in Costa Rica after Nicaragua closed its borders to them.

Thanks to an accord signed by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, staggered groups of roughly 180 people have been allowed to leave Costa Rica and travel north.

The first group left Costa Rica in mid-January and the second group, of 184 people made up chiefly of women and children, left last week.

The latter group of Cubans flew to El Salvador and from there crossed Guatemala to reach the Mexican border, where they were each given a provisional document granting them 20 days to reach the United States by their own means.

Cubanos en Libertad continues caring for new arrivals and helps them settle in the U.S., if they have no family or friends here.

Currently there are less than 10 in the temporary shelter maintained by the group, which handles the business of getting them the food stamps and economic help they are entitled to under the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows Cubans who reach U.S. soil to remain in the country and obtain legal permanent residence.

In the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, more than 43,000 Cubans came to the United States, 77 percent more than in the previous fiscal year, according to figures provided by Customs and Border Protection.

Most of them, 30,966, entered across the U.S.-Mexican border.

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