First Set of Cuban Migrants to Leave Costa Rica Tuesday

The first group of Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica are set to leave the country on Tuesday.

The group of 180 Cubans will be flying to El Salvador.

Thousands of Cuban migrants have been stuck in Costa Rica since Nov. 14 when Nicaragua closed its borders to them as they migrate through Central America en route to the United States.

Many are taking the dangerous journey in fear that warming of U.S.-Cuban relations could end their special immigration privileges in the United States.

One migrant, a 53-year-old man, died Monday while stranded on the Panama-Costa Rica border, of severe respiratory problems.

As a result of his death, authorities planned to roll out a vaccine and illness prevention campaign among the Cubans who are stuck in makeshift shelters.

From El Salvador, the initial group will be taken by bus to Guatemala then Mexico. Once in Mexico, they will have 20 days to make their way to the U.S.

The second group is expected to follow in another week if all goes well with the first group.

NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez will be traveling to Costa Rica to report on the migration. Follow her updates on Twitter @LauraNBC6.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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