San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

René Castro’s European vacation?

Foreign Minister René Castro stayed in Europe 10 extra days after the completion of the International Court of Justice case between Costa Rica and Nicaragua to promote Costa Rica’s version of the conflict to European leaders.

Rene Castro

After the world court hearings ended in the Hague, the Netherlands, on Jan. 13, Castro visited London, Berlin, Olso and Madrid before catching a flight back across the pond to Costa Rica this week. During the tour, Castro met with European foreign ministry officials, members of the British and German parliaments, and representatives of several environmental organizations. In addition to presenting the Costa Rica version of the ongoing conflict with Nicaragua, which was the primary purpose of the tour, Castro also met with several European officials to discuss climate change and international efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.

In what seemed to be the standard agenda for the meetings, Castro presented his hosts with maps of the border region in northeast Costa Rica and satellite images with overhead view of the environmental damage done to the area. Castro also discussed the Nicaraguan “invasion” of the Isla Calero, the Nicaraguan non-compliance to diplomatic rulings by the Organization of American States (OAS), and the potential irrevocable environmental damage done to the area’s wetlands and wildlife.

Castro also gave interviews to several national and international publications during the tour.

“What we are seeing right now is an attempt to redefine international borders,” Castro told BBC Mundo during his interview in London. “Nicaragua presented a motion to the court that attempted to the redefine the borders established in 1858. Their presentation was quite imaginative. They weren’t able to present any map, document, or study to the world court that supported their thesis of why it should be done,” he said.

In response to the European tour, Nicaraguan Vice President Jaime Morales Carazo called the spreading of the message that Nicaragua had invaded Costa Rica a “despicable” act.

“Costa Rica is making a fool of itself taking on this embarrassing role and claiming to be a brotherly and neighborly nation,” Morales said, according to EFE. “This type of proceeding is truly a despicable act by a Foreign Minister.”    

The Tico Times asked the Foreign Ministry to a provide an estimation for the cost of Castro’s 10-day trip, which took place after the Costa Rican delegation spent six days in the Netherlands for the case, but no information was available at press time.

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