MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The U.S. Embassy temporarily stopped issuing visas on Wednesday after more than 2,000 Nicaraguans flocked to the Managua mission amid rumors that an unlimited number of visas would be issued in a special Thanksgiving Day dispensation.
The Nicaraguans, however, had little to be thankful for.
"I know you have heard the rumor, but it's not true we are handing out visas like candy today," U.S. Consul Wayne Griffith shouted in Spanish in an effort to disperse the crowd, many of whom had spent the night in a field across a road from the consulate gates.
As Griffith moved through the crowd Wednesday morning to explain that there would be no visas handed out until after the Thanksgiving holiday, some people began to drift away, but others refused to leave.
"It's a country of rumors," Griffith said afterward. "It's a sad spectacle . . . but it's an indication of how desperate people are to get away from the situation here."