Isla Calero deadline passes with no Tico action

The Organization of American States Thursday delayed a hearing on Nicaragua’s land grab at the mouth of the Río San Juan and decided to meet today instead. The meeting will be at 3 p.m. Washington, D.C., time.

Mercedes military trucks pass through Margarita on the southern Caribbean coast Thursday. Photo: A.M. Costa Rica/Saray Ramírez Vindas

The delay was described as giving more time for negotiations. Costa Rica had given Nicaragua until Thursday afternoon to remove its soldiers from Costa Rica’s Isla Calero. Nicaragua also was urged by José Miguel Insulza, the organization’s secretary general, Tuesday to pull out the troops.

Costa Rica does not have the means to enforce its deadline demand against elements of the Nicaragua army. Armed police are stationed in nearby Barra del Colorado. Costa Rica has no army.

The location is in northeast Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, an Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, said that the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border situation was a trial balloon by the creators of a plan to build a new canal in Latin America. The article written by Shlomo Papirblatt, cited unidentified Latin American sources. It said the border incident is a sign of “an ambitious plan by Venezuela, Iran and Nicaragua to create a ‘Nicaragua Canal’ linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that would rival the existing Panama Canal.”

Haaretz is considered the country’s most influential daily and probably has access to government intelligence sources.

A.M. Costa Rica reported Thursday that such a canal would be expensive but not as expensive as the $3 billion expansion project being done in Panamá now. However, A.M. Costa Rica had no information on Iranian support of Nicaragua in the Isla Calero land grab.

This newspaper said Thursday: “The activity there has been disguised as a dredging operation, but the real motive is to punch a channel through the Isla Calero to the Caribbean sea so that vessels have rapid access to the river.”

A.M. Costa Rica’s associate editor, Saray Ramírez Vindas, expressed surprise Thursday when she encountered a convoy of military trucks in Margarita, near the Costa Rica-Panamá international border on the Caribbean coast. The vehicles were heading north. They were Mercedes trucks suitable for troop transport or movement of supplies. The drivers wore civilian clothes, she said.

The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública confirmed later that the six vehicles crossed from Panamá into Costa Rica with Nicaragua as a destination. The ministry said that the vehicle paperwork was checked twice and everything was in order. The ministry said the vehicles, which had been stopped in Limón, could continue their travels.

The vehicles came from Germany and were unloaded in Panamá.

The use of the convoy saves the cost of transporting the vehicles through the Panamá Canal and up the Pacific coast to Nicaragua.

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