Costa Rica snubs Nicaragua after Ortega re-elected

November 8, 2011

Costa Rica foresees little changes in diplomatic relations with the next Daniel Ortega government in Nicaragua, said Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo.

“There will be changes if they change,” Castillo declared Tuesday. “Nothing has changed.”

The two countries spent the last year sparring over an island on the Caribbean called called Isla Calero, a dispute that reached the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Asked why Costa Rica has refused to comment on the Nicaraguan elections that took place Sunday, in which Ortega was re-elected with 63 percent of the vote amid questions of transparency from international organizations, Castillo said, “It is an internal affair for them, and we are not obligated to say anything.”

The Costa Rican Foreign Ministry’s silence contrasts with the effusive congratulations the country issued to former Gen. Otto Pérez Molina, the winner of Guatemala’s presidential elections, also held Sunday.

“In Guatemala, we have a cordial and friendly relationship, and we rejoice that they have conducted a fair and democratic process,” Castillo said.

Costa Rica remains in a dispute with Nicaragua since the end of 2010 over the tiny island territory of Calero, a wetland adjacent to the Río San Juan border.

Costa Rica’s government turned to world court in the Netherlands to denounce an “invasion” from Nicaragua and “severe environmental damage” on Isla Calero. The court’s decision on sovereignty could take several years.

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