San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Chinchilla deems Nicaragua an ‘enemy’

At the conclusion of the weekend Ibero-American Summit in Argentina, President Laura Chinchilla referred to Nicaragua as a Costa Rican “enemy” and refuted claims that Costa Rica spends more money on its military budget than its northern neighbor. 

Chinchilla, who outlined Costa Rica’s history of peace to 22 representatives of Latin American and Iberian nations at the summit, was candid with her opinions about Nicaragua in an interview after the conference.

“It seems very unfair to me, as some sources have tried to convey, to say that it was (Costa Rica) that provoked the Nicaragua intervention,” she said, according to the daily La Nacíon. “If (our) police had entered the other side of the Río San Juan, I would say ‘we deserve it’. But the police arrived at the Isla Calero to conduct a judicial inspection.”

Chinchilla also said that she had spoken to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on one occasion at the urgings of the Organization of American States (OAS). She said that, during the conversation, both agreed to instruct their ambassadors to the OAS to arrive at a bilateral exit to the conflict. The following day, Chinchilla said it appeared Ortega disregarded the conversation.

“The surprise of the next day wasn’t only that we didn’t arrive at an agreement, but that at the last minute, Nicaragua produced a letter that mocked our interests,” she said. “That was the last time I talked with him and, since then, we don’t want any more conversations that are mediated.” 

Chinchilla also addressed the recent white pages report produced by Nicaragua titled “The San Juan River of Nicaragua: The Truths that Costa Rica Hides.” The report claims that Costa Rica budgets $240 million for its armed forces, which is five times greater than the budget allocated by Nicaragua. (NT, Dec. 3)

“The gross domestic product (GDP) of Costa Rica is bigger than the GDP of Nicaragua and, when we look at the percentage of funds that Nicaragua invests in security, it is much more,” Chinchilla said. “Costa Rica invests 7 percent of its GDP in education and hardly invests 0.3 percent in security. Nicaragua is investing 1.26 percent of its GDP in security; and the investment in education is miserable, it seems.”

The foreign ministers of the nations of the OAS are scheduled to meet Tuesday to attempt again to resolve the ongoing dispute.

EFE contributed to this report.

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