Why This Conflict Could be a Much Bigger Mistake for Nicaragua

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    TCRN STAFF: Both sides should be careful, as they both have a lot to lose. Nicaragua already has a tainted recent history in terms of conflict, and this will certainly have an impact on Costa Rica’s primary economic industry, tourism.

    For Nicaragua this could be the ‘perfect storm’ for regime change. Honduras is an example case in point, a perfect set of conditions self caused by now ex-President Manuel Zelaya. The USA will not let this escalate into a full blown and unsupported conflict between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, but maybe just enough to justify its insertion militarily.

    Last month, Costa Rica issued an official complaint that Nicaraguan troops had violated its side of the border on the San Juan River during dredging operations and had harassed Costa Rican “troops” in this zone. Nicaragua of course denied the allegations.

    The Organization of American States (OAS) said that the dispute might in part have been triggered by a wrong border delineation on Google Maps. Google’s depiction of the border on the Caribbean coast, near the mouth San Juan River, is in error and does not follow the demarcation laid out in an 1897 arbitration award of a previous border treaty. The border dispute has existed since the demarcation in 1897 and was rekindled when Nicaragua began dredging the river separating the two countries.

    The Nicaraguan government claimed Google’s depiction to be “correct” and called on Google to reject Costa Rica’s request to change their depiction of the border. Thinking that Google should define geo-borders, and using this position to support cross-border incursions shines a light on the Nicaraguan government’s perspective.

    From “Google’s mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It states to organize… not define the world’s information.

    After 10 days of intense talks, the OAS urged the two sides to “avoid deployments of the armed forces or security forces in the area where their presence could generate tensions.” Further adding that the two countries should convene no later than November 27 to meet in a bilateral commission.

    On Tuesday, Costa Rica dispatched security forces to the border to further support the 150 agents sent earlier to the region.

    Last week, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said she was prepared to take the dispute to the UN Security Council if the OAS could not find a solution. “Costa Rica is seeing its dignity smeared and there is a sense of great national urgency” to resolve this problem, Chinchilla said.

    The USA does not want Nicaragua in control of this very important waterway. Adding fuel to this fire, a headline in an Israeli publication read “Iran and Venezuela plan to build rival to Panama Canal”, further stating that sources tell Haaretz that the recent Nicaragua-Costa Rica border dispute was a trial balloon by the creators of the plan to build a new canal in Latin America.

    Nicaragua, with the proper leadership, could become a major economic center in Latin America. But Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, who on the one hand publicly sided with Chavez and on the other signed into CAFTA agreements with the USA, seems to be pushing his country down a road that will have a dead end.

    Let’s all hope this can be resolved peacefully.

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