Costa Rica road project continues despite Nicaragua protest

December 14, 2011

President Laura Chinchilla said Tuesday afternoon that the construction of a 150-kilometer road south of the Río San Juan will continue as planned, despite protests from the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry.

“My government will continue to execute the projects that will improve the living conditions of the people in the [border] region,” Chinchilla said at a weekly press conference. “It is our sovereign right to do so.”

On Nov. 29, Manuel Coronel Kautz, Nicaragua’s foreign vice minister, sent a diplomatic protest to Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo concerning the road construction. Coronel wrote that Costa Rica is “causing environmental damage” and “destroying the flora and fauna” in the river region and asked for an immediate halt to the project.

Coronel and Samuel Santos, Nicaragua’s foreign minister, also claim the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry never alerted Nicaragua of the road construction near the Río San Juan, which serves as the international border between the two countries. Last week, Coronel asked the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry for an explanation.

“We don’t have to give any explanation to the government of Nicaragua in relation to [the road],” Chinchilla said, “particularly not when they are the ones refusing to abide by the measures requested by the International Court of Justice at The Hague.”

The new road will connect the northern border town of Los Chiles to the delta region, where the Sarapiquí River meets the Río San Juan in northeast Costa Rica. Chinchilla said that 2,500 families would benefit from the road.

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