Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Central American Leaders Blast Nicaragua at U.N.
Yesterday we looked at Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her speech at the U.N. general assembly (UNGA) that criticized alleged U.S. surveillance. Yet she was not the only Latin American leader at the UNGA to critique the actions of a country in the Americas.
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli denounced what he referred as Nicaragua’s “attempt to expand its maritime boundaries.”
In his speech to the UNGA today, Martinelli acknowledged that Nicaragua has the right to file a claim with the appropriate UN authorities seeking to “extend its continental shelf by over 200 nautical miles.” But he also expressed his “deep and profound worry” that Nicaragua’s maritime claims could endanger treaties between that country and other Latin American states.
“The Panamanian government and its people are upset that we have not been consulted before Nicaragua filed its case,” Martinelli added.
Martinelli refrained from discussing at the UNGA Nicaragua’s plans to build an interoceanic canal that would rival the Panama Canal that’s currently undergoing a $5 billon expansion.
Martinelli’s remarks were more measured in tone than those of his Costa Rican counterpart, Laura Chinchilla, at the UNGA.
“Costa Rica is a firm believer in international law in all it’s aspects but this attitude contrasts with the absolute disrespect of the government of Nicaragua of those elementary norms and conducts among nations,” Chinchilla said on Tuesday.
She further blasted Nicaragua for its “scorn” in several border disagreements including the 2010 dispute over Calero Island and Nicaragua’s alleged dredging of two new canals in Costa Rican territory this year.
“This disrespect has led to open and unacceptable aggressions against our country and to the flagrant disobedience of the orders of the court of The Hague,” Chinchilla noted.
Both Martinelli and Chinchilla cosigned a letter from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and addressed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The contents of that communiqué were not made public to the press yet it allegedly details the concerns of Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia regarding Nicaragua’s “expansionist” policies.
The diplomatic brouhaha between Nicaragua and Colombia intensified after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled last year in favor of expanded disputed maritime limits in favor of the Central American country. Santos rejected the ruling as one that "cannot be implemented," which led Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to recently file a new petition with the ICJ.
Santos’s speech at the UNGA yesterday focused on Colombia’s armed conflict and antidrug efforts, and did not mention the country’s border issues with Nicaragua.
The Nicaraguan government has not replied to the comments made at the U.N. by Martinelli and Chinchilla while Ortega will skip attending the UNGA. But one high-ranking Nicaraguan legislator did accuse Costa Rica of using Nicaragua as an “invisible enemy” with the goal of militarizing the country.
Video Source– YouTube via user NTN24
Online Sources – El Universal; Tico Times; Voice of America; The Latin Americanist; El Nuevo Diario; Reuters; El Tiempo; BBC News