Costa Rican officials continue to stress the environmental damage that Nicaraguan troops and workers have caused and will cause on the Isla Calero.
Although the general public has not shown much anger over the invasion onto Costa Rican soil, environmentalists have been sending a steady stream of e-mails lambasting the Nicaraguan actions.
The foreign troops and workers have attempted to change the course of the Río San Juan to provide better access from the Caribbean. In doing so they have cut down trees, dumped dredged river bottom on Costa Rican land and appear poised to channel the river through a vital lagoon. The lagoon is believed to be vital in the life cycle of many sea creatures, including the fabled northeastern Costa Rican tarpon.
Environmental damage also is expected to be Costa Rica’s strongest card when it asks the International Court of Justice in The Hague to freeze the work on the river, at a hearing expected to be in January.
René Castro, the foreign minister has scheduled a meeting today with representatives of environmental organizations at Casa Amarilla, the ministry. The session is at 3 p.m. In addition, the ministry will welcome the public Wednesday at the same time for a discussion of the situation.
Several dozen Costa Ricans gathered at Parque Central Sunday to protest the Nicaraguan invasion, but they were in the minority. Some Costa Ricans have begun to wear the national colors on their shirts and lapels. Vendors are selling Costa Rican flags on the street, but a first division soccer game generates more flag displays than has been seen in the last month.
The Laura Chinchilla administration has been careful not to stoke the fires of nationalism, in part because so many Nicaraguans live in Costa Rica and officials fear repercussions. In fact, leftist groups already are accusing the administration and the news media of fueling xenophobia against Nicaraguans. The e-mails may be more disinformation from the Daniel Ortega administration in Managua, which had generated public demonstrations on the topic there. A parallel theme is the island is not worth fighting for.