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Costa Rica short term loser, but long term winner?

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I don't think Costa Rica has "lost" --- yet. The OAS is hearing the case and the real question is: If the OAS rules against Nicaragua, will they really back off. Apparently, Costa Rica has the coordinates and geography to prove the claim but who knows what will happen.


It does remind me of the "dig now and pay later" kinds of things. Happened in Florida, too.

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Hmmm . . .


It occurs to me that if Costa Rica wanted to be truly clever, she would get busy digging a connecting canal westward thru her own lands from the Atlantic to the point where Nicargua was expecting to excavate a new river-course/channel.


Once CR had the canal dug she could put a lock across it (like the Panama Canal has) and offer passage thru it to the Rio San Juan for a fee.


Doing that would also serve to preserve her (northerly) wedge of land along the 'south side' of the river from being expropriated by the Nicas.


But I expect that's a 'pie-in-the-sky' daydream on my part...


¡Pura Pasadera!


Paul M.


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The canal is not a bad idea at all Paul but the problem is that Costa Rica would have to put the project out for concession like all of their other large public works and that would mean it would take decades to complete. In the mean time Nicaragua could bulldoze a channel across their own territory and have cruise ships sailing up to Managua in a few months!


BTW. I read in la Nacion that the leader of the Nicaraguan "expedition" along the Rio San Juan, Eden Pastor, claimed that he was using Google maps to show him the national boundary and that was how he wound-up in CR! He was probably using a compass from a box of Cracker Jacks too! This whole affair becomes funnier with each passing day!

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Google will re-draw their map according to the drawing made 110 years ago when the US President was asked by Nicaragua and CR to arbitrate their dispute about the border. Details are here.


Hey ciclista, thanks for the links. Note however that Google (which only recanted under pressure from CR) is deferring to the US Department of State. Oh brother. This is the same outfit that still claims that Nicaragua's first free elections were in 1990, overlooking the earlier one that Ortega won in spite of US interference, and neglecting to mention that the first Bush administration spent more per vote to influence the 1990 elections in Nicaragua than Bush had spent on his own 1988 campaign and failing to note that Bush invaded Panama on the eve of Nicaragua's 1990 elections in part to put the fear of (the US) God into Nicaragua. Just check the State Department website on Nicaragua if your don't believe me. It whitewashes the whole thing. Or check out these clowns' website on Costa Rica, where they warn Americans against going into San José because of the "crime." They don't mention that their own embassy personnel were burglarized in their private snooty enclaves in the way this usually happens, namely an inside job. The State Department is the last outfit I would trust for accurate information, so now they are cartographers too? Oh baloney, it's political.


As I see it, Nicaragua is probably right in staking its claims. It does own the river, no dispute about that, the boundaries are uncertain enough for it to have a reasonable claim to the disputed territory, and Costa Rica has repeatedly dragged its feet when asked to clarify the boundaries. Well, Nicaragua is saying "put up or shut up," and that's actually fair. Nicaragua needs to develop that river much more than CR does, because Nicaragua is poor and needs to develop where it can (an agenda that ironically helps CR, since a more developed Nicaragua is in CR's interest), but since CR has many other developments it can drag its feet. All Nicaragua is saying is that "the time is now." Fair enough. And yes, Nicaragua has its "army" there, but CR's "police" cost CR three times the amount that Nicaragua's "army" costs it, so is Nicaragua wrong in saying that "police" is just a nice term for "army"? Granted, the Nicas are behaving abrasively, sort of taunting CR, and you would think this could have been an issue in which Ortega could have called Chinchilla and said. "Hey, we'd like to dredge the river, yet there are some border issues. Can we work something out?" Well, he didn't, so he's a jerk, but he's also a pretty darn good politician and maybe knows better than we do how its done. Had he politely called Chinchilla he may have gotten the "mañana" treatment. I dunno, you may not like the guy or the way he's going about it, but big picture is that Ortega may be right. Nicaragua has the rights to the river, they are not invading CR (although there are some border issues), and CR needs to wake up and deal with it. This doesn't mean CR should cave on everything, but it does mean that CR is obstructionist here.


And, regarding our Risk players, oh you better believe that Ortega would love for the US soldiers to come to CR's aid on this one. This would give him a royal flush: The Yanquis are once again attacking! I don't believe either CR or the US is so stupid as to take this bait, but this is one of the risks frankly of having US troops nearby. My God, if one US soldier got close to that border it would be a slam dunk win for Nicaragua in the international community. I really doubt that this was Ortega's intention--he's not that stupid either--but he would take it if handed to him. He would similar love to have a trigger-happy CR cop misbehave, which would verify his argument that CR is not pacifist. So don't even think of going here. Any military action becomes a win for Nicaragua, which again is probably mostly right on this issue.


Our would-be pundits also pontificate about how Ortega engineered this to fortify his support (or create it) in Nicaragua. Maybe, but that's not the way I see it. I think Ortega is just Ortega. He sees this and a hundred other things as part of his agenda. He's a bull in a china store for sure, and lots of what he does make enemies, but I don't think he starts out trying to make enemies. I think his enemies just come, because he's a bull in a china store, and when they come he is quite willing to use them for his advantage too. I say he did the river project because he believed it was good for Nicaragua and Nicaragua's right, and if an altercation with CR comes so be it: He'll use that altercation too. He's a driver, plays hardball, and uses offense as defense.


I have qualms about Nicaragua's abrasiveness on this issue, but I suspect that at the end of the day Nicaragua is actually right--or at least close enough to right to make its claims reasonable. As a resident of CR I am therefore appalled by CR's nationalistic and frankly xenophobic reaction. The Ticos are allowing all their anti-Nica prejudices to surface now. It's no longer "Nica jokes" told around the dinner table but serious anti-Nicaragua venom. Well, I want CR to have what is rightfully its too, and it seems possible that Nicaragua is overstepping here. So I don't want to abandon CR. Even so, I am ashamed of some of my Tico friends, who are making this an anti-Nica crusade when it is really just something that both countries need to sit down and discuss. I mean hell, this is a win-win situation for both countries. CR benefits from the development of the river too. This is not zero-sum. Both countries can and should win if we take away the saber rattling.


But for here, I mostly have qualms about expat sympathies, which veer decidedly in favor of CR. I don't understand this. Perhaps it is expat ignorance. I can't tell you how many expats I know who think the Latinos they deal with are Ticos when they are Nicas. Many just think because they are in Tico Land they are dealing with Ticos, and thus feel a loyalty to Ticos without even realizing that they are dealing with Nicas. Or, maybe it's just a new geographic loyalty operating.


I prefer NOT to take a position on this issue, since I'm neither a cartographer nor an expert on the legal history of treaties either. I don't know who is right here. However, I'm pretty sure that you don't know either, and the way I read it it Nicaragua may well be right and CR wrong. At minimum, it is an issue on which the countries can profitably work together. So I say let's all simmer down, and try to support both Ticos and Nicas in reaching a resolution while vociferously rejecting xenophobia. Come on, this is a win-win issue, let's work toward that solution.

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