The last Cuban migrants leave Costa Rica

The last of nearly 8,000 Cuban migrants stranded for months in Costa Rica flew to Mexico Tuesday to continue their journey to the United States, the government said.

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 16, 2016, 00:46 AM IST

San José Province: The last of nearly 8,000 Cuban migrants stranded for months in Costa Rica flew to Mexico Tuesday to continue their journey to the United States, the government said.

The transfer of the 91 remaining Cubans to the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo was carried out with help from international organizations that stepped in to help pay their air fare.

They were the last of 7,800 Cubans who became stuck in Costa Rica in November after its northern neighbor Nicaragua denied them passage, blocking their route north.

The International Organization for Migration took thousands of the migrants out of the country on flights to El Salvador and Mexico, circumventing Nicaragua, an ally of Havana.

An estimated 3,000 more managed to make it out on their own with the help of human traffickers.

Costa Rica`s President Luis Guillermo Solis thanked Mexico and Central American countries for "extending a hand of friendship and solidarity at a moment of great difficulty for the flow of Cuban migrants."

Cuban migrants who reach the United States are put on a fast track to residency and citizenship, under a Cold War-era policy that many fear will be shelved as the United States and Cuba normalize relations.

US President Barack Obama is scheduled to make a historic visit to Havana March 20-22 as part of the reconciliation process.