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Greater Nicaragua

Monday, August 19, 2013

Territorial claims seem to be an increasingly important part of the foreign policy of the administration of Daniel Ortega.

Last week, the Nicaraguan president told Costa Rica that he wanted more than 10,000 square kilometers of land, located just south of Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.

The ancestors of people who live in the area, voted to join Costa Rica nearly 200 years ago.

Nevertheless, Ortega has denounced as illegal, the annexation by Costa Rica of what is now the province of Guanacaste, and which represents an important source of income from tourism and agriculture.

If Nicaragua is serious about Guanacaste, the claim would join a growing list of lawsuits with the country’s neighbors.

Nicaragua was characterized as “provocative” and “expansionist” last month by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, following the start of litigation by Nicaragua over nearly 1,000 square kilometers of continental shelf in the Caribbean Sea, which Colombia has long considered its property.

The case will be heard by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, which last year settled in Nicaragua’s favor, a claim of some 75,000 square kilometers of maritime territory, in the area of San Andrés Island.

Yet another action in the same court involves a claim by Nicaragua over Calero Island, located in Costa Rica, just south of the mutual border of the two countries, on the Caribbean coast.