On Tuesday afternoon President Laura Chinchilla confirmed her plans to attend a march in Nicoya against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s blustering statements about “reclaiming” the northwestern Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, according to Communications Minister Carlos Roverssi and representatives from the City of Nicoya, located on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Several cabinet ministers plan to accompany the president, including Roverssi and Presidency Minister Carlos Benavides on the march from the city’s Court of Justice to Nicoya’s iconic San Blas Church starting at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. Speeches from officials and a round table will follow the march in the plaza.
On Aug. 13, Ortega told an audience during an official event that he planned to appeal to the International Court of Justice at The Hague to “reclaim” the province of Guanacaste, long a nationalist rallying cry for some Nicaraguans.
Nicoya Mayor Marco Antonio Jiménez Muñoz announced the demonstration on Aug. 14, soon after writing a letter to Ortega in which he called the president’s comments “an act of ignorance” and “disrespectful.”
Guanacaste voted to join Costa Rica in 1842.
La Nación and crhoy.com reported Tuesday that Accessibility without Exclusion Party lawmaker Víctor Emilio Granados proposed suspending Thursday’s legislative session to free up lawmaker schedules so they could participate in the march.
The Tico Times called the offices of Claudio Monge, José María Villalta and Edgardo Araya Pineda, leaders of the Citizen Action Party, Broad Front Party, and National Liberation Party, respectively, but staff responded that they were either unaware of or noncommittal about plans to attend the march.
The Tico Times was still waiting for a response from Rodolfo Sotomayor Aguilar, leader of the Social Christian Unity Party, when this post went to press.
This latest spat between Costa Rica and Nicaragua escalated quickly after Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo filed a complaint about Ortega’s remarks with the Organization of American States and the United Nations.
Several news sources reported disturbances outside the Costa Rican Consulate in Managua. The Foreign Ministry announced that it would temporarily close that consulate on Sunday, following “xenophobic” acts by demonstrators outside new consular offices in Praderas de Las Colinas, Managua. Other consulate offices in the provinces of Chinandega and Rivas will remain open.
In an interview with CNN en Español on Monday, Chinchilla said that Nicaragua was acting with “great hostility” towards Costa Rica. The president implored authorities in Managua to provide the necessary protection for Tico employees to enter and open the new consulate.
Luis Castrillo, a press representative for the City of Nicoya, told The Tico Times that the mayor’s office was expecting up to 3,000 participants at the march and the round table on Thursday.
Watch President Laura Chinchilla’s interview with CNN en Español’s Fernando del Rincón: