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Central America Nations Renew Cuban Migrant Program

Cuban migrants wait to check-in at the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, Jan. 12, 2016.

Government representatives from Central America and Mexico have agreed to begin moving Cubans stranded in Costa Rica northward again on Feb. 4.

Representatives from Costa Rica, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico met Wednesday in Guatemala City to evaluate the initial movement of 180 Cubans on Jan. 12. Those Cubans were flown to El Salvador and then moved north by bus to Mexico's southern border.

Guatemala's foreign ministry said they agreed to follow the same procedures and route used in the pilot program. They considered it a success.

Members of the first group of Cubans reached the U.S.-Mexico border late last week.

Several thousand Cuban migrants trying to reach the U.S. have been stranded for months in Costa Rica after Nicaragua refused to let them transit the country.

The migrants turned to the Central American route to try to reach the United States, spurred by fears that a recent detente between Havana and Washington will end preferential U.S. asylum rights for Cubans that allow them to enter the United States by land without a visa. Those found at sea are deported.