San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Nicaragua's Ortega Backed by Sandinista-Controlled Gov't Institutions

President Daniel Ortega’s controversial speech Saturday night became state policy Monday night when representatives of all four branches of government – all Sandinistas – signed a joint declaration stating Nicaragua’s “official position” regarding the Río San Juan conflict.

The declaration, signed by the heads of the executive, legislative, judicial and electoral branches, as well as the comptroller general’s office and the state prosecutor’s office, reiterates Nicaragua’s insistence that the issue of the border limits with Costa Rica is no longer open for discussion, and that the river-dredging will continue. The border issue, the declaration says, has been a “closed case” since the July 13, 2009 sentence by the International Court of Justice.

The declaration also ratifies Ortega’s earlier statement that Nicaragua will no longer participate in any session of the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding the issue of the San Juan River because “it’s not a court and has no authority to hear cases on border conflicts.” 

Nicaragua’s position is that only the International Court at The Hague has the authority to weigh in on the border conflict.             

The joint-declaration demands that Costa Rica allow Nicaragua to navigate its Colorado River under the same conditions that Costa Ricans have to navigate a 140-kilometer stretch of the Río San Juan. The declaration states that 90 percent of the water in the Río Colorado is “thanks to the rivers and lakes of Nicaragua.”

Costa Rican Foreign Minister René Castro called the Nicaraguan president’s position “a new threat by President Daniel Ortega against the Costa Rican Río Colorado.”

The state declaration is apparently intended to show “institutional support” for Ortega’s controversial comments Saturday night, in which he accused Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama of defending the interests of drug traffickers.

Mexico and Costa Rica have already sent official letters of protest, and Guatemalan officials have made their objection public in the press.

Various Sandinista organizations have announced a march on Managua today in defense of Ortega and the Río San Juan.

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