PANAMA CITY – The UN International Organization for Migration on Thursday alerted Central American governments that the immigration crisis has not ended and that Cuban migrants intent on getting to the United States are still arriving and gathering in Panama.
“It’s very important that the countries sit down, as they did in Mexico and ... twice in Guatemala, to seek a longer-term solution, because the problem of Cuban emigrants has not ended,” the IOM’s regional director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Marcelo Pisani, told EFE on Thursday.
Panama and Costa Rica agreed with Mexico on a special operation to transfer the Cubans on direct flights to assorted Mexican cities, so that from there they could cross into the United States.
It was a solution that Pisani called “exemplary” because it combined the “sovereignty of the different countries” with the obligation to provide humanitarian aid.
“It was an example of how countries can agree to resolve a conflict,” said the official at an event to discuss people trafficking held on Thursday in Panama.
On March 12, the special operation’s last flight left the Panamanian capital and the government said that the crisis was over.
But the flow of migrants is not stopping and a week after that flight, there are already about 1,000 Cubans once again stranded in the western province of Chiriqui, on the border with Costa Rica, according to what the Catholic Caritas organization told EFE on Thursday.