San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Nicaragua white paper blasts Costa Rica

After a month of offering confusing and at times contradictory statements on the border dispute with Costa Rica, Nicaragua’s Sandinista government has decided to put its arguments down in writing.

The government this week began circulating a white paper titled “The San Juan River of Nicaragua: The Truths that Costa Rica Hides.”

The 76-page government document, translated into English, describes Costa Rica as a historically manipulative and dishonest aggressor nation, and Nicaragua as a law-abiding victim of foreign hostilities.

“Nicaragua has been prudent and has acted in a responsible and constructive manner. It was Costa Rica that deployed troops, air and navy means, and special forces equipped with military weapons,” the English-translation of the report reads in its opening presentation.

“The declaration of a Costa Rica without armed forces is past history,” the report states. “The country budgets $240 million for its armed forces, which is five times greater than the budget allocated by Nicaragua.”

The white paper, which is being distributed to the media and international diplomatic missions, is divided into 12 angrily titled chapters, such as, “Costa Rica says that Nicaragua invaded its territory militarily. FALSE!”; “Costa Rica says it does not have an army. FALSE!”; and “Costa Rica sells itself as a country that promotes human rights. FALSE!”

The report’s affirmations about Nicaragua’s merits are equally loud, even if not written in ALL CAPS.

Regarding Costa Rica’s complaint of environmental damage caused by Nicaragua’s river-dredging operation, the report asserts: “No environmental damages are being caused. Nicaragua’s leadership in this area is so deep-rooted that it is beyond questioning.”

Contrary to Nicaragua’s “unquestionable” environmental leadership, the Sandinista’s script describes in Costa Rica as a wasteland.

“Costa Rica has cut down trees in its Northern Zone, contaminated rivers, destroyed tropical forests and wetlands, authorizing (sic) open-sky mining operations, spilling chemicals, cyanide and agrochemicals into the San Juan River, attempting to channelize the water of Lake Nicaragua to other projects of a commercial nature, and depriving its own citizens of this vital liquid.”

Costa Rica’s goal, according to the Nicaraguan white paper, is to force Nicaragua to stop its dredging project and usurp Nicaraguan territory.

“Costa Rica’s true strategic goal is to have direct access to the Lake of Nicaragua and San Juan River,” the report said.

The preliminary hearing in the International Court of Justice between Costa Rica and Nicaragua is set for Jan. 11-13, 2011. At that hearing, the world court will decide whether or not to uphold Costa Rica’s request that Nicaragua withdraw its troops from the disputed area and halt its dredging until the border issue can be resolved – a litigation process that could take another four years.

In the meantime, Nicaragua is pushing forward “with greater resolve” on its river-dredging operation.

Read this Friday’s Nica Times print edition for more on this story.

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