Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Costa Rica concerned over Nicaraguan action at Isla Portillos

December 14, 2018

Costa Rica on Thursday expressed its reservations in regards to a Nicaraguan project to create a wildlife refuge within the border territory of Isla Portillos, which has been the center of a dispute between the two countries.

The concern is in response to a bill sent to Nicaragua’s Legislative Assembly to declare the Harbour Head Lagoon a wildlife refuge.

In February 2018, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Costa Rica has sovereignty over the “whole northern part of Isla Portillos, including the coast,” but excluding Harbour Head Lagoon.

“The Government of Costa Rica has reservations about some aspects included both in the explanatory statement as well as in the law’s own body, which make incorrect qualifications about the geographic condition of the Harbor Head Lagoon, and on its direct connection with Nicaraguan territory,” the Costa Rican chancellery said Thursday in a statement.

The dispute over the wetland of Isla Portillos brought the two countries before the ICJ, a judicial branch of the United Nations. In 2016, the Court sanctioned Nicaragua for environmental damage it had committed during its occupation.

The statement from the Costa Rican chancellery indicates that it supports actions to protect the environment in the small border territory, “but at the same time will remain vigilant that its sovereignty in the area is not undermined.”

Apparently concerned that Nicaraguan efforts at Harbour Head Lagoon would involve crossing through Costa Rican territory, the chancellery explained that “the sea referred to in the Nicaraguan bill constitutes the territorial sea of the Republic of Costa Rica.”

The statement continued, saying that “Nicaragua cannot, either by legislation, administrative acts or by material acts in the field, carry out actions of dominion over the territory or over the flora and fauna in this or any other zone belonging to Costa Rica.”

Editor’s note: The Tico Times fully acknowledges the irony of embedding Google Maps into this story. In 2010, Nicaragua justified incursion into Isla Portillos in part based on the online atlas. We encourage our readers against starting any new international disputes.


​​
​​Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years.
​​
​​

Support the Tico Times

You may be interested

Chirripó National Park to reopen October 30
Costa Rica
1701 views
Costa Rica
1701 views

Chirripó National Park to reopen October 30

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 28, 2020

Chirripó National Park will reopen for tourists on October 30, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) announced Monday. Visitors…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 28
Costa Rica
5565 views
Costa Rica
5565 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Monday, September 28

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 28, 2020

Costa Rica announced 49 new coronavirus-related deaths since Friday for a total of 861, according to official data released Monday…

SJO airport improvements delayed, report says
Costa Rica
6706 views
Costa Rica
6706 views

SJO airport improvements delayed, report says

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 28, 2020

The operator of Costa Rica's Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) will suspend planned improvements for several years due to the…