A group of Nicaraguan migrants, stranded in Panama by the pandemic, began their return to their country on Friday after an agreement reached with the governments of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, reported the director of the National Migration Service, Samira Gozaine.
“The Nicaraguan government approved two groups, one of 188 and one of 118,” which would leave Panama on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, Gozaine told AFP.
The Nicaraguan migrants began to depart by bus from the Albrook terminal in Panama City to the border with Costa Rica, after demanding that the Panamanian authorities allow them to return to their country despite the fact that the Central American borders have been closed since March by the spread of covid-19.
“We are leaving Albrook towards Paso Canoas (on the border), we are going calmly,” Edwin Ordóñez, one of the migrants, told AFP.
Migrants interviewed by AFP stated that they took the covid test, for which they paid $ 60, which gives them 72 hours for their results to be recognized by the Nicaraguan border authorities.
Managua has rejected the entry of its own citizens if they do not carry a negative test for covid-19.
Nicaragua is the fifth nationality with the most residence permits granted by Panama with 398, behind Venezuela (2,084), Colombia (1,722), the United States (625) and China (491).
About 200 Nicaraguans entered their country on August 2 after more than two weeks stranded on the border with Costa Rica, thanks to civil organizations raising money to buy the covid-19 tests required by the Managua authorities.