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20 years

Pope Francis calls for Costa Rica and Nicaragua to seek harmony

December 21st, 2015 (ICR News) Pope Francis called for harmony between Costa Rica and its northern neighbor, Nicaragua on Sunday while addressing pilgrims and tourists gathered beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with him on the 4th Sunday of Advent.


“I hope,” said Pope Francis, “that a renewed spirit of fraternity will further strengthen the dialogue and mutual cooperation,” between the two countries and throughout the whole region, according to Vatican Radio.


The Pope called for a “renewed spirit of fraternity” between the neighboring countries after a ruling issued by the International Court of Justice at The Hague last week that found in favor of Costa Rica in border dispute between the countries that has been ongoing since 2010.


Nicaragua said last week that it accepts and will abide by the ruling.


Tensions have also been high between the countries since a November 15th decision by Nicaragua to close its border with Costa Rica to a wave of Cuban migrants attempting to reach the United States, leaving thousands of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica since.


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  • Ken Morris

    And while President Solís was publicly affirming the Pope’s message of reconciliation, what was Foreign Minister Manuel González saying?

    According to La Nación, he was not only saying that Nicaragua better pay up for the environmental damage it caused, but also accusing it of being likely to raise visa fees on entering Ticos in order to pay for the settlement, an act González finds reprehesible.

    Wait a second. Nicaragua already publicly agreed to abide by the World Court’s verdict, which gave it and Costa Rica a year to negotiate a fair settlement. Is this the way González plans to spend his negotiating year–demanding payment in full from afar the first week and accusing Nicaragua of raising visa fees, when it hasn’t even done that? I would think that by “negotiations” the World Court meant that representatives from the two countries would actually discuss things, not issue demands fortified by accusations of things that haven’t even happened.

    And as for the visa fees, should Nicaragua institute them, what’s good for the goose may be good for the gander. Not long ago Costa Rica slapped an exit fee on Nicas going home for Christmas and Easter in a transparent ploy to milk extra money out the poor to pay the salaries and benefits of guys like González, so what of it if Nicaragua retaliates with a visa fee on Ticos?

    Plus, now that he’s the foreign minister, I would imagine that González has had the opportunity to fly over the disputed swamp, but honestly, how much does he expect the second poorest country in the western hemisphere to pay for disrupting the lives of a few drug couriers and thousands of mosquitoes? It wasn’t as if Costa Rica was using the land for much–or even knew much about its environmental specialness before it went to court and decided to prepare a case on that theme.

    Mostly, González is plainly not interested in negotiating with Nicaragua, or even talking. He prefers to hurl demands and accusations at Nicaragua from the safety of San José while surrounded by Nicaragua-hating reporters from Costa Rican newspapers.

    I’m now thinking that the judges on the World Court saw through this case to what was really going on, and ruled wisely about that. The Court could have set monetary damages for Nicaragua to pay, and promised to do so in a year if Costa Rica and Nicaragua can’t work it out between themselves, but it wisely gave the two countries a year of encouragement to–duh–actually talk to each other. The Court realized that this was the crux of the problem. It isn’t the border between the countries or the environment or any of the other rot, it’s the fact that the neighboring countries don’t even talk to each other.

    Pope Francis understands the problem too, that’s why he also encouraged a reconciliation between neighbors.

    Well, who is the hold out? During the controversy itself, Ortega extended an open invitation to Costa Rica to discuss it. Costa Rica refused. After the ruling last week, Murillo (Ortega’s wife and essentially co-president) announced that Nicaragua intended to abide by it, and even praised the Court for its “balanced” decision. But in Costa Rica we have guys like González who still only want to take to their local podiums and bash Nicaragua for something it hasn’t even done yet.

    President Solís may be part of the problem. He has yet to display any respect for Nicaragua himself. However, he could be part of the solution. Specifically, he could fire Manuel González and replace him with a foreign minister less consumed by hatred of Nicaragua. In fact, there are probably plenty if Nicas in Costa Rica with the competence to be appointed foreign minister. Solís could replace González with a Nica and get realistic and mutually respectful negotiations underway,

    That’s after all what the World Court really ruled, and what Pope Francis urged. The obstacle is Costa Rica.

    • TXnandaime

      always look forwards to reading ur comments, thank you

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