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Costa Rica-Nicaragua border battle

Monday, August 25, 2014


Please order Nicaragua not to dredge the San Juan River, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis last week asked the International Court of Justice.

The right to dredge is only one issue related to the river, the southern shore of which forms part of the boundary between the two countries.

Another involves ownership of potential undersea resources in the Caribbean.

Solis’ request came days after Nicaragua’s announcement of a plan to have 15 dredges operating in the waterway, as of next year.

Nicaragua currently has two dredges in the river.

Potentially more important for Nicaragua than helping local boat traffic, is strengthening its claim over Calero Island, located at the mouth of the river.

The rights of each country to potential undersea resources, especially oil and gas, could depend on who owns the island, which is claimed by both countries.

Nicaragua must leave Calero, which it illegally seized four years ago, says Costa Rica in a previous petition to the court, based in The Hague.

Calero has always been ours, insists Nicaragua, which is in turn suing Costa Rica for allegedly polluting the river, as a result of the 2012 construction of a road on the south shore.

The 150-square kilometer (60 square mile) island was uninhabited before a detachment of Nicaraguan soldiers seized it.