Four thousand Cuban migrants did their best to celebrate Christmas despite being stranded in Costa Rica for months.
On Christmas Eve, they cooked traditional Cuban food and put up a Christmas tree with lights. But it’s just not the same, said Yanet Delgado, who has been camping outside the immigration office in Penas Blancas for two months: “This is not Christmas. We woke up today and said ‘today is like any other day.’ Christmas has not arrived here.”
The Cubans are trying to reach the US and Costa Rica initially granted them transit visas. But neighbouring Nicaragua, which has close ties with Cuba, is refusing to let them in.
On December 18, after failing to broker a deal with its neighbours, Costa Rica suspended the visas, and President Luis Guillermo Solis warned that Cuban migrants who arrived in Costa Rica would be deported.
The news didn’t stop one migrant, who only gave his name as Hector from expressing his gratitude to Solis and to the Costa Rican people, saying he’s grateful for the support they have shown the Cuban migrants.