Young Sandinistas appear to be occupying disputed island

Young Nicaraguans appear to be spending at least another night on the Isla Calero.

A group of about 50 continued their hostilities toward visiting scientists Wednesday, and René Castro, the foreign minister, said that a new protest was filed with the International Court of Justice and the U.N. Security Council.

Castro also revealed that Julio César Avilés, head of the Nicaraguan army, admitted that he had provided logistical and political support for the young Sandinistas with the goal of harassing the scientists. The protesters came by boat to the island via the Río San Juan.

Some 500 Nicaraguan troops are believed to be stationed on the north side of the river.

Nevertheless, Castro said that the experts from the
Convention of Wetlands of International Importance had completed their mission and found evidence of environmental damage caused by Nicaraguan soldiers who occupied the site from October through early March.

Video footage of the young Nicaraguan invaders will make up part of Costa Rica’s case when it returns to the international court for more proceedings.

The court ordered both Nicaragua and Costa Rica March 8 to withdraw all military and others from the disputed island. Nicaragua did and Costa Rica had no one there. The court also said that Costa Rica could conduct an environmental survey to determine the damage and possible remediation. The use of the young Sandinistas appears to be a technique to circumvent the court orders.

Castro said the ministry had sent a note of protest to Nicaragua, but that the country would keep its date to discuss border issues with the goal to fight organized crime and drug trafficking.

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