First Cuban migrant flight to leave Costa Rica next week

A Cuban migrant speaks on her mobile phone at a shelter for Cuban migrants in the border between Panama and Costa Rica in Paso Canoas, Panama December 23, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - The first flight for Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica will leave on Tuesday, the Central American country's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

A group of around 180 people will be able to leave on a flight to El Salvador on Tuesday evening, they will then have ground transportation to the Guatemala-Mexico border, Manuel Gonzalez, Costa Rica's foreign minister said.

Subsequent flights from Costa Rica will depend on the success of this one.

The flow of migrants from Cuba has surged as the process of a detente between Washington and Havana stirs fears that preferential U.S. asylum rights for Cubans may soon end.

Costa Rica's government stopped issuing transit visas to Cubans in December as Nicaragua, which is a close ally of Cuba, shut its borders to them in November.

Since then, the number of Cuban migrants stuck in limbo inside Costa Rica's northern border with Nicaragua has grown steadily. An estimated 8,000 Cubans are now stuck there.

(Reporting by George Rodriguez; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Sandra Maler)