Stranded Cuban migrants leave Costa Rica

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Cuban migrants posing with a Cuban and a Costa Rican flag at the park of La Cruz, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, before boarding a bus to take them to the airport of the neighbouring city of Liberia.

The 180-strong group is part of the first batch of Cuban migrants leaving Costa Rica on a trial air-and-land journey that will ultimately take them to the United States, where they will start their new lives.

Organised by Latin American governments and the International Organisation for

Migration, the trip became necessary when Costa Rica's northern neighbour Nicaragua - a Cuban ally - closed its border to Cuban migrants in mid-November. If successful, other flights will follow as early as next week, transporting more of the 7,600 other Cubans stranded in Costa Rica.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Stranded Cuban migrants leave Costa Rica'. Print Edition | Subscribe