Two solutions for dispute over the Río San Juan

Now that Costa Rica and Nicaragua have time to sit back and analyze the San Juan river problem and the Hague decision, before they get their hackles up again, I would suggest that Costa Rica show true statesmanship and convene a conference with Nicaragua to make a practical solution to the river problem. For economical reasons Nicaragua needs good shipping access from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean. The most practical route is through the land strip that Nicaragua has cut in Costa Rica’s territory.

Granted, I have no idea of proper international protocol or the appropriate way for countries to solve border problems. As a practical person I can see two workable solutions to the problem.

1.) In return for a formal and hard agreement with Nicaragua, that the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua be the south shore of the current San Juan River boundary, Costa Rica would allow and even participate in the construction of a new canal from the San Juan to the Caribbean. This would allow Costa Rica to charge a passage fee for the bypass route to river San Juan and, in the future, Costa Rica might even consider building a new port for the country.

2) Nicaragua and Costa Rica might consider a land trade. Costa Rica would give up all rights to land north of the land cut by Nicaragua in exchange for a piece of land extending from the Costa Rica border to Lake Nicaragua wide enough to drive or lay railway tracks or both and a lake head area big enough to build a port, also guaranteed shipping rights on Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan river.

This would benefit both countries. Nicaragua would have total control over the river from sea to the lake, Costa Rica would gain a port for shipping goods produced in the northern zones to world markets. Both countries could increase their cross border commerce.

I my opinion, the Hague Court has proved ineffectual. Costa Rica and Nicaragua can show the world how two mature nations can lead by example by removing this thorn and healing the wounds.

John Steward
Charlotte, North Carolina

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