Cuban migrants enroute to US converge in Panama

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Cuban migrants trying to get to the US find themselves stuck in Panama as diplomatic conditions elsewhere prevent their journey. Julie Noce reports.

Cuban migrants enroute to US converge in Panama

Cuban migrants land on the shores of Panama.

They’re trying to get to the United States by travelling over land. It’s a long journey first through Panama and other countries in Central America, then Mexico, and finally into the U.S.

Under Cold War arrangements, Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil are allowed to stay. While those captured at sea are sent back.

Since relations between Cuba and the U.S. have thawed, Cuban migrants are afraid those preferential conditions might be discontinued.

For now the migrants are staying in makeshift housing set up by Panamanian officials, but say ultimately they want to move on.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN MIGRANT, CARLOS PEREZ, SAYING:

“We want to go out, we don’t want anything more than this. We appreciate the treatment we’ve been given by Panama but there are no living conditions here. We want a system to be put in place so we can advance from here.”

The land journey into the U.S. is fraught with diplomatic obstacles including a decision by Nicaragua to shut its borders, denying the migrants passage through their country.

During a regional summit earlier this week, Nicaragua rejected suggestions of creating a “humanitarian corridor” for the migrants and stood firm on keeping it’s borders closed.

Tags : Panama, Converge, Enroute, migrants, CUBAN

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