Cuban migrants arrive in US after months stranded in Costa Rica

Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela at US-Mexico border for arrival

LAREDO, Texas – The first group of Cuban migrants who were stranded in Costa Rica have arrived in the United States, marking the start of what is expected to become an influx across the Mexican border. 

Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela met Randy Cuevas, 29, at the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday evening. Cuevas was part of of a group of 12 who flew to Laredo, Texas from Mexico City Thursday afternoon. After being processed by immigration, he was allowed to begin the next part of his journey: to family in Hialeah. 

The group of 12 was originally among a larger group of 180 Cuban migrants who were part of a pilot program that assisted in their departure from Costa Rica. They traveled by plane and bus through El Salvador and Guatemala before arriving in Mexico, where they were given 20-day visas. From there, they must arrange their own passage into the U.S. 

Cuevas said his journey from his home in Havana began in Ecuador in October. He is one of nearly 8,000 migrants who became stranded when Nicaragua closed its borders to Cubans in mid-November. 

Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela has been covering the Cuban migrant crisis since that time. Look for his reports from the border with Mexico on Local 10 News and Local10.com.