Prompted by Costa Rica, Interpol issues arrest alert for Nicaragua's Edén 'Comandante Cero' Pastora

Interpol on Tuesday included former Nicaraguan guerrilla leader Edén “Comandante Cero” Pastora on a list of internationally wanted people, following a request by Costa Rican judicial authorities.

According to Interpol’s website, Costa Rica wants Pastora on charges of “usurping public property” and violating Costa Rica’s Forestry Law.

Comandante Cero, who recently caused an ongoing bilateral dispute by dredging the Río San Juan, which forms a natural border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, told Nicaragua’s Channel 15 that he believes there is no basis for the international alert.

“This is an error – we have never invaded Costa Rican territory,” Pastora said. “They can try to capture me anywhere in the universe.” 

Costa Rica’s Presidency Vice Minister Celso Gamboa confirmed the Costa Rican request via his Twitter account, saying that Pastora could be sentenced to prison if brought to Costa Rica.

Pastora, 76, was appointed by the Nicaraguan government to direct the dredging project that led to an international dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 2010, after Nicaraguan troops entered a small swampland that both countries claim as their own.

The dispute is currently being resolved by the Hague-based International Court of Justice, which last Friday rejected Nicaragua’s claim that Costa Rica was causing environmental damage with the construction of a road parallel to the San Juan. That was the the second time in less than a month that the court ruled against Nicaragua and in favor of Costa Rica.