African migrants stranded in Costa Rica border


(6 Jul 2016) Hundreds of refugees from countries in Africa are coming to Costa Rica, with many camped out at Costa’s Rica’s northern border with Nicaragua, waiting to get across in a bid to reach the United States.
Since Nicaragua won’t let migrants without proper documents through, the migrants face an extended wait and harsh living conditions.
In Penas Blancas, about 100 African migrants are camped out in a field where they live in rows of tents and improvised shacks made of light wood frames and black plastic tarps.
They cook simple meals on wood fires, bathe out of buckets and hang their laundry on the tent lines.
Many say they are fleeing war and violence in their countries but are having a difficult time in their makeshift camp, unprotected from the elements.
Costa Rica’s communications minister Mauricio Herrera Ulloa said the situation will continue to be the same for some time.
In the meantime, the Central American country tries to figure out what to do with the migrants.
The government has created two shelters, one of which is in the Guanacaste province, about an hour from the border.
In May, Costa Rica detected 1,409 migrants without proper documents, the majority from Africa.
Some remain in Paso Canoas, on the country’s southern border with Panama, where many enter Costa Rica.
Costa Rica recently helped send thousands of stranded Cuban migrants north on special flights, after Nicaragua closed its borders.
But because Cubans get special treatment at US land borders, a similar solution for the African migrants seems unlikely.

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