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Costa Rica, Honduras Agree to End Visa Rules and Ease Trade

The presidents of Costa Rica and Honduras agreed on Tuesday to reverse short-lived visa requirements for travelers from their respective countries, following talks over the past two weeks to resolve a dispute that had disrupted Central American trade.

A key part of the deal will allow trucks transporting goods between the two nations to cross freely.

Earlier this month, Costa Rica introduced mandatory visa requirements for Hondurans seeking to enter, saying the measure was needed to boost security, which prompted reciprocal action from Tegucigalpa.

Earlier this year, Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves proposed a set of security measures in response to surging crime, including a record-setting pace for murders.

He also declared a state of emergency in September, citing record numbers of mostly U.S.-bound migrants, crossing Central America by land.

Costa Rican police have attributed rising violence to an uptick in international criminal groups trafficking drugs to the United States.

Under the new rules agreed to by Chaves and his Honduran counterpart, Xiomara Castro, visitors will no longer need to present visas to border agents. But Costa Rican officials told journalists on Tuesday that while cargo carriers will be able to pass freely, travelers will still need a police certificate showing their criminal or police records.

Specifically, Costa Ricans seeking to enter Honduras will need a certificate showing their criminal records, while Hondurans seeking to enter Costa Rica will need a certificate detailing any police record.

Gerardo Torres, Honduras’ deputy minister for foreign policy, stressed that his government will endeavor to make the rules “quick and efficient,” noting that would-be travelers will be able to obtain the certificate online.

Source : USNEWS