San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Border dispute

Costa Rica sues Nicaragua over military camp near border

Costa Rica filed a new complaint against Nicaragua before International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague on Monday, denouncing the presence of a military camp from the Nicaraguan army inside its territory, near the common border area.

The Foreign Ministry stated in a news release that the camp is located on a beach at Portillos Island, a border territory that belongs to Costa Rica in an International Court of Justicie ruling issued on Dec. 16, 2015.

Foreign Minister Manuel González noted that ICJ Justices, in their 2015 ruling, said that due to significant changes along the coastline over several decades, it is difficult to make a precise border delimitation at that location.

“Nicaragua, taking advantage of this situation, set a military camp on the Costa Rican side of Portillos Island that now forces Costa Rica to, once again, go before the ICJ,” he said.

Costa Rica also asked the court to set the limits over a sand bank that separates Los Portillos lagoon from the Costa Rican territory.

“We are asking for a precise border delimitation in order to avoid further excuses from Nicaragua to send military personnel to that area,” González said.

Compensation payment

The Foreign Ministry also asked ICJ Justices to set a final figure and a deadline for receiving the compensation that the court ordered Nicaragua to pay for the material and environmental damages caused inside Costa Rican territory a few years ago.

Justices ordered the payment after confirming the invasion by Nicaraguan personnel of a border territory known as Isla Calero. Nicaraguan workers dredged a series of artificial canals inside Costa Rica between 2010 and 2013.

Costa Rica last year requested that Nicaragua respond to this ruling by paying damages in the amount of $6.7 million in compensation, but the Nicaraguan government did not respond to the request by the end of the one-year deadline issued by the ICJ.

After the deadline expired in December, the administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís said the government would give Nicaragua an additional month to respond, but Managua never did so.

“Nicaragua did not respond, so we interpret that silence as a negative response, despite recent statements by the president of that country saying he intended to pay,” González said on Monday.

The minister added that in order to speed up a ruling on this case and avoid delays in another case related to maritime delimitation between both countries started in 2014, the government asked the ICJ to join both cases and issue a single ruling.

Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Sergio Ugalde, who presented the complaint before the ICJ, noted that Costa Rica does not expect any significant delays from the court, and that rulings for both cases, “in case Justices agree to join them, likely would be issued this year.”

Below is a timeline of events in the Costa Rica–Nicaragua border dispute:

Contact L. Arias at

Comments are closed.

Isabella Rocha

Ken Morris, I would like to invite you to go to Nicaragua (unless you’re already living there and are speaking on behalf of Ortega), go there and buy property, spend a few years there and deal PERSONALLY with the Nica BS. It is very annoying as a Tica to see and hear Americans, ( Actually, “gringos”, there is a difference), bad-mouthing the country there living at. If you like and defend Nicaragua so much, leave my country, leave Csta Rica ASAP and experience it for yourself; or better yet, go back to your own country. Pura Vida!.

P.S. No, I’m not anti-Americans, I’m married to a wonderful american man for almost 20 years, who’s the one who told me about your comment and got really pissed about your language. Oh, my husband says that you sound like a Trump supporter and you should go back to the United States and help him messed it up!!! ;)

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Ken Morris

What’s so weird about González is that he appears never to have heard of the telephone.

If he’s so concerned about alleged Nicaraguan military camps in Costa Rica, why doesn’t he call up his counterpart in Nicaragua and say, “Hey, you guys are in our space, please leave”? Why is it too much to ask of Costa Rica to actually talk with Nicaragua? I mean, the court did not order Nicaragua to pay whatever bill Costa Rica sent it, but rather ordered the two countries to negotiate a settlement. Ortega has repeatedly offered to negotiate with Costa Rica face-to-face, and his offers have repeatedly been rejected. Meanwhile he has repeatedly been personally insulted by Ticos in global media. Then, when a handful of Costa Rican legislators dared pay a diplomatic visit to Nicaragua, González was beside himself with annoyance.

Costa Rica’s policy is that Nicas are too dirty and disgusting to lower itself to even talk with. Who knows, maybe this is because the only Nicas guys like González know are the maids who clean his toilets and the prostitutes who cater to his fetishes. But it sure is a condescending way to run foreign policy.

Clearly Costa Rica prefers to spend millions of dollars toddling back and forth to the World Court over reaching mutually beneficial agreements with Nicaragua. This is a sick xenophobic passive aggression on Costa Rica’s part, and an expensive neurosis.

Oh, and guess how Costa Rica found out about the alleged military camps? Through satelliite photos! It’s not as if any Ticos live or even visit there, much less police the drug traffickers who really do use the area (even though the World Court ordered Costa Rica to do that years ago). Costa Rica just looks at satellite photos waiting for Nicaragua to cross the line so it can claim to be the victim and toddle back to court.

Meanwhile–Guess what?–the World Court has zero ability to enforce its rulings–no cops, no jails, no nothing. It is a purely symbolic body. Regardless of its rulings, compliance is totally voluntary. The US never paid Nicaragua the amount the Court ordered it to pay, and I seriously doubt that Nicaragua will ever pay Costa Rica whatever amount the Court awards.

You’ve got to ask yourself what the hell guys like González are thinking. If they want to settle these things, they pick up the phone–and maybe even arrange face-to-face meetings. But if they just want an enemy to demean and are willing to pay for that morbid enjoyment, they will proceed exactly as they have.

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Were the Nicaraguans lost and set up camp at that location by mistake? Were the Nicaraguans passing by that location and had a medical emergency requiring them to set up camp in order to deal with it? Did the Fueza Publica confront the Nicaraguans and ask them why they were on Costa Rican soil? Were they asked or told to leave? What was the response of the Nicaraguan campers? Is this a permanent camp? These are just a few questions I have that were not addressed in this article.

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Charles House

Evo Morales is right saying that the military might of Costa Rica is the USA.

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Alvaro Murillo

Nicaragua has been historically a sotone in the shoe for Costa Rica, what else could we expect from a dictator like Ortega ?? yes a dictator in disguise of democracy, they took advantage of the fact that we do not have army, with neighbours like that, what we need enemies for ??

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Ken Morris

Utter self-serving Tico bullshit.

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