Friday, November 12, 2010

Nicaragua Invaded Costa Rica to Make a Canal?

First Nicaragua invaded Costa Rica, then they acted like a jerk, and to wrap things up they blamed Google Maps.  Nothing seemed quite right though as Oogle Earth has shown Nicaragua has long recognized the small newly contested area as part of Costa Rica yet Nicaragua still objects to Google fixing the border.

Now Haaretz, a major and center-left newspaper from Israel, is reporting that they have sources stating that Nicaragua crossed the Rio San Juan into Costa Rica as part of an effort to cow Costa Rica to give up its share of the river... in order to build a new Caribbean-Pacific canal!  The report states Nicaragua is a player in a conspiracy by Iran and Venezuela to create an alternative to the Panama Canal which would bypass American-influence and covert oversight.  This either is an epic plan or Haaretz is going down the rabbit hole.

Regardless, Nicaragua's action has driven a stake between the Latin American Left led by Chavez and reasonable, center-left led countries like Costa Rica.


Anonymous said...

You have nothing right. There was no "invasion".

The plan for a canal predates the building of the Panama Canal and has never been a secret or a conspiracy.

But this flap is not about building a canal at all. It's about dredging the Rio San Juan so Nicaragua can develop tourism and a hydroelectric project in the area. Costa Rica already does similar tourism in the area and their tourism is in decline, so this is a cynical maneuver by Chinchilla to delay or stop tourism development by Nicaragua.

Nicaragua did not "invade" Costa Rica. Troops did not cross the river to the Costa Rican side. They simply occupied a tiny island in the middle of the river that was affirmed last year, by the International Court of Justice, to Nicaragua's, with navigational rights for Costa Rica.

Since the US and Israeli military equip and train the Costa Rican "police", Israel would benefit from more arms sales if they could help get armed conflict going in the area, as they have done in the past.

Costa Rica is not a "center-left" country. Chinchilla is right of center and closely aligned with anything the US wants to do in Central America, including hosting for covert operations against Nicaragua in the past.

You can see Costa Rica's behavior in this as "reasonable" only if you believe that this kind of sensational media campaign is reasonable in order to try to drum up public opinion against Nicaragua for economic reasons.

Tourism is suffering in Costa Rica while it is soaring in Nicaragua. CR lost in the International Court of Justice. Being sore losers, they now want to retry the case in the court of public opinion. Bringing in the OAS is just a publicity stunt since the OAS does not have jurisdiction in border disputes, which this is.

Any Nicaraguan troops in the area were already there, fighting the stream of drug traffickers coming from Costa Rica. They did not move troops there for any nefarious reason, but they were handy for Costa Rica to point to as villains.

Neither the military nor the government of Nicaragua used any internet maps for determining their borders. The civilian captain of the dredging boat, erroneously reported as being a "commander" by Costa Rica, taunted a CR newspaper that even google agreed with Nicaragua's border claims, AFTER the fact of the confrontation of CR "police", wearing military fatigues and carrying machine guns and M16s, against the dredging boat. CR has just moved another 150 troops to the area, while Nicaragua continues business as usual, fighting the narcotraffickers. They plan to send two more dredging boats to the area, so this must be the next "invasion" CR is preparing to fight.

Costa Rica dredged its own Rio Colorado recently, pushing sediment into the Rio San Juan, to enhance its tourism. Apparently, sediment from Costa Rica isn't viewed as "environmental damage" unless Nicaragua tries to put it back where it came from. After two days of helicopter flyovers, the only "environmental damage" they could document was a small pile of sand at the base of a tree on that tiny island in Nicaragua's river. The "logging" Chinchilla is claiming was about a dozen trees pushed over around the edges of the island that Nicaragua considers it owns and is now being claimed by Costa Rica as the reason for all this melodrama.

Much Ado About Nothing, but if that's all Chinchilla's got and she wants to start an "international incident", apparently it's enough.

Try reading some information from the other side: El Nuevo Diario Nicaragua or La Prensa. Google can translate the Spanish for you.

Catholicgauze said...


While there has long been plans for a canal no one knew they involved cowing Costa Rica with force.

Honestly, why would Chinchilla want to harm tourism and hydroelectric projects in Nicaragua? Really, I doubt she has it in for you. And if Nicaragua wanted to dredge the river there are better ways than ripping down a Costa Rican flag.

So what other wars has Israel started in Latin America? As I said in Iraq to some people, "Israel does not care about you guys. They are not trying to harm you."

Costa Rica's President Chinchilla is a member of the National Liberation Party, part of Socialist International. The second biggest party in the parliment is the more leftward but still more-or-less center-left Citizen's Action Party (PAC). Behind those two parties are the Libertarian Movement Party (PLM), an economic liberal party, and the Social Christian Unity Party (USC), the Christian Democratic Party.

When was the last covert op against Nicaragua by the United States? The 1980s, when the US supported the overthrown government and Contras?

So was the "invasion" done by a dredging boat or was it done by troops going onto an island midstream to help fend off drug traffickers? You said it was both.

Thank you for the newspaper links.

Legal Beagle said...

Dear Anonymous,

The ruling by the ICJ was welcomed in Costa Rica, as it established all they ever intended to defend: their navigational rights over the river. It has been clear for over 100 years that the Rio San Juan belongs to Nicaragua. Costa Rica considered itself victorious in the ICJ ruling when it reasserted its navigational rights over the river. Here’s the link to a summary from the official ICJ’s webpage regarding the decision from 13 July 2009, which coincidentally isn’t titled “Boarder Dispute” but “Case concerning the dispute regarding navigational and related rights (Costa Rica vs. Nicaragua)”: In fact, in several counts the ICJ found Nicaraguan in violation of the 1858 Cañas-Jerez Treaty.

What is interesting, though, is how in a clear cut Orwellian style, every time Nicaraguan leaders seek to unite their people they resort to the San Juan River, creating some sort of patriotism over a river that has always been considered Nicaraguan and respected as such. There is an interesting column in the Nicaraguan Newspaper "El Nuevo Diario" which criticizes Ortega, yet another Sandinista, for utilizing such political tactics to manipulate the Nicaraguan people into electing him to a third term (clearly unconstitutional, but Mr. Ortega managed to obtain a ruling by the Constitutional Court which allows him to run again based on a non-discrimination theory which I, as a Human Rights Lawyer, am still grasping to understand). Here is the link: If you read Spanish (and I suspect you do), I highly recommend it. This theory is not only backed by a Nicaraguan columnist, but was also sustained by The Economist (my personal favorite news source) this week. The Economist goes as far as to say that Mr. Ortega won his first unanimous vote in the National Assembly in his entire presidency. Here is the link:

I hope this helps.

The Classical Liberal said...

Thank You all for the informative comments. Anonymous, your post rose suspicion in me, especially when you wrote that Chinchilla was center right!

Even I, who is not all that familiar with Latin America, knew that didn't quite ring true.

Anyway, thx to CatholicGauze and LegalBeagle for the responses.

Anonymous said...

Laura and her party can call themselves socialist, but they are closer to fascist.

They have a politic of blaming foreigners and stimulating fascism and racism. That while the same government is responsible throught the DUIS secret police at the border for letting all the illegals in to work on their plantations without rights and insurance.

In the mean time refugees have no right to work and dont get social help. Instead the corrupt police of San José steels their merchandize and throws mothers that try to work for their children in prison. Then the same 'socialist' gov steels thier children AND SELLS THEM INTERNATIONALLY.

Catholicgauze said...

Be careful of jumping the shark. Claims of fascism need to be backed up and cited (like shutting down opposition media, nationalizing businesses, blaming non-involved outsiders, over-emphasis of the leader's personality; basically stuff what Chavez does).
Who would she be racist against? Are there any citations for the secret police and their international slavery ring? Please offer citations for a claim that big.

Catholicgauze said...

The Classical Liberal,

Same to you Legal Beagal

Legal Beagle said...

Dear Anonymous,

Again, check your facts. Illegals working without rights and insurance?

Check the hospitals in Costa Rica, where EVERYONE is treated without exception. The free system of universal healthcare instituted in the 1940's based on the social doctrine of the Catholic Church is collapsing due to the number of patients who have crossed illegally into Costa Rica and don't contribute to the system through their taxes.

Another article (in Spanish). An open letter to Eden Pastora, reminding him about when it was his Costa Rican neighbors that helped him and his family through hard times, of when he and his comrades were treated for free in Costa Rican hospitals after La Penca:

Catholicgauze and Classic Liberal, thanks for your comments.

Googlemonster said...

the history of politics of the two countries speak for themselves, rational minded people should be able to make an educated guess about whats going on here - of course its too bad you have to invade a country to get peoples support - what does that say about the people,an invasion of a county did occur even if its was just a few troops taking a few hundred meters of soil on the other side for 24 hours.

Anonymous said...

Something Catholicgauze and Anonymous will agree on is that holding the power/wealth within the ruling class is what is going on.

This is accomplished by cultivating kangarooish court systems, tossing crumbs of the wealth to the peasants and lower bourgeoisie quieting them and engendering hostility within them against their own best interests. The key for the ruling class is to frost the cake by telling the people that they govern, and do what they do, only for the best interest of the peasants and well being of the country. Who could be against that?

History shows that this formula is quite effective. To do this, keeping the population dumb with slanted or no education, fomenting agitations between seemingly disparate groups in the name of unity(primarily by depressing ecomonic opportunity) and keeping them all dependent on the crumbs cast by the ruling class, is very very smart.

Viva Communism.

jazzyal said...

Dos falacias ticas sobre nuestro Río San Juan
Jorge Eduardo Arellano

La historiografía costarricense ha esgrimido varias falacias sobre el Río San Juan de Nicaragua que, por medio de afirmaciones sesgadas y superficiales, afirman que el río San Juan se ha compartido entre ambos países. Todo ello es, desde luego, completamente falso. Aquí me limitaré a dos.

Primera falacia
Que durante el período colonial (1524-1821) el río San Juan NO formó parte exclusiva de las provincias que integraban la Capitanía General de Guatemala. Lo cual es falso, ya que desde 1573 el río formó parte exclusiva de la circunscripción territorial de la Provincia de Nicaragua. Ésta se había constituido en 1527 y su gobernador, Pedrarias Dávila, fue nombrado el 1º de marzo de ese año. Costa Rica nunca tuvo que ver con las acciones históricas desarrolladas en sus aguas.

Fue el gobernador de Nicaragua, Rodrigo de Contreras, tras varios intentos, quien logró en 1539 completar el descubrimiento del Desaguadero —como se conocía entonces al San Juan—, enviando a Alonso Calero y Diego Machuca desde Granada. Los expedicionarios cruzaron el Mar Dulce, navegaron y tomaron posesión del San Juan de un extremo al otro. Con este acontecimiento geográfico, comenzó el río a ejercer una función histórica en Nicaragua. Desde entonces, la geografía fue “el cuerpo de nuestra historia y la historia el alma de nuestra geografía”, en palabras de José Coronel Urtecho.

Costa Rica ni siquiera existía. Más aún: hasta 1573 se nombró a su primer gobernador, Diego de Artieda y Cherinos, quien tres años después aún se hallaba en Granada, de donde salió con navío y gente armada, ropas y víveres, instrumentos de labranza, artesanos, etc., pues en la Provincia de Costa Rica o Nueva Cartago casi no había nada. Así, la capitulación de Felipe II a Artieda y Cherinos fijó los límites de las provincias de Nicaragua y Costa Rica, permaneciendo inalterables hasta 1821. En consecuencia, nuestra provincia adquirió pleno dominio sobre el curso entero del San Juan hasta su desembocadura en el Caribe por medio de tres bocas. No en vano, a partir de 1539 se había iniciado su comercio marítimo entre los puertos de Granada y Nombre de Dios, en la costa de Panamá, ampliándose más tarde a Portobelo y a Cartagena de Indias. Costa Rica careció de ese comercio marítimo a lo largo de toda la época colonial.

A través de nuestro río San Juan, Granada fue víctima del saqueo de los piratas en 1665 y 1670, obligando a las autoridades españoles a construir cuatro fortalezas a lo largo del mismo río. La más sólida y perdurable fue el Castillo de la Inmaculada Concepción, cuya inauguración la ciudad celebró el 12 de diciembre de 1675, con una misa y un sermón pronunciado por el franciscano José de Velazco, impreso al año siguiente en Guatemala. En 1762, Rafaela Herrera defendió la Provincia contra una invasión formal de la Corona inglesa. En 1780, otra invasión —al mando de Kemble Poulson y Nelson— no pudo penetrar más allá del Castillo. Autoridades y tropas de Nicaragua se involucraron en esos hechos y Costa Rica —reducida en 1700 a 17 asentamientos precarios en su valle central— fue ajena a ellos.
Costa Rica: provincia aislada y precaria
También Costa Rica, sumida en el aislamiento, nada tuvo que ver con el interés de abrir una ruta directa con España. Tal fue el proyecto emprendido por el vizcaíno Juan de Zavala, quien vivió en Granada de 1790 a 1796, dedicado al comercio y al estudio sobre la apertura del puerto de San Juan, habilitado por Real Orden del 26 de febrero de 1796.

Catholicgauze said...

Communist Anonymous,
The evil system you describe which beats the drums of war sounds alot like the communist line of Ortega and his Sandinistas.
Costa Rica use of Social Catholicism has allowed it to become a market friendly, pro-education country with no military. If it had gone the way of Communism then it would be either a police-state in the mold of Cuba or raging thugocracy like Venezuela.

Catholicgauze said...


Anonymous said...

The writer of the Ha'aretz article (not even a Ha'aretz editor) has a huge imagination or is a victim of disinformation.

Read the link below to find out about the facts:

Catholicgauze said...

Thanks for the link! Great use of physical geography to show how the canal theory now seems unlikely.