Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nicas, Ticas and Colombia

Costa Rica calls them police, but they sure look like soldiers.
So, let's get this straight. Nicaragua sends troops to what just about everybody else seems to agree is Costa Rican territory, justifying its actions on Google Maps - and long-suffering Colombia somehow gets tangled up in the mess.

Costa Rica appears by all measures to be the good guy in this ridiculous border dispute. Costa Rica, whose people are known as ticas, had accepted an international tribunal's ruling giving Nicaragua, whose people are known as nicas, sovereignety over the San Juan River, which forms their border. However, not satisfied, Nicaragua pushed on onto the Costa Rican side, damaging the environment there by piling up dredging waste.

Just about all of the region's countries, with the exception of Venezuela, for whom anything generating political booty is righteous, have sided with Costa Rica. But that so far hasn't provided much help on the ground for little Costa Rica, which doesn't even have a military.

Both nations' official maps show the riverbank as belonging to Costa Rica. So Nicaragua backed its claims using Google Maps as its official reference. But Google officials quickly declared that their maps are not intended to be geopolitical references, and were wrong in this case, anyway.

Exactly where does Nicaragua end and Costa Rica begin?
Who's the demonic puppetmaster heading this international conspiracy against poor, victimized Nicaragua? Colombia, of course. Coincidentally, Nicaragua also claims several Carribean islands over which Colombia has long held autonomy.

But Nicaragua's leftist Pres. Carlos Ortega, no matter how desperate he may be to whip up nationalism at home, must also care about international opinion, and he must be looking for a graceful way to declare victory and back out of this mess he's made.

By Mike Ceaser of Bogotá Bike Tours

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