Foreign minister checks out the controversial northern border

Walter Navarro, a security vice minister, and Luis Enrique Castillo, the foreign minster, leave a helicopter to take a tour of the Isla Calero that is frequently invaded by Nicaraguan troops. Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo

The foreign minster is the person who directs Costa Rica’s cases at the International Court of Justice, so the current minister, Luis Enrique Castillo, took his first trip to the heart of the dispute in extreme northern Costa Rica.

He visited the Isla Calero and Portillos where Nicaraguan troops invaded more than a year ago. He also got an air view of a 100-kilometer road that is being constructed on the south bank of the Río San Juan.

Both figure in pending court cases.

Costa Rica says Nicaragua invaded its territory and did extensive environmental damage. Nicaragua is trying to build a useable and shorter mouth to the sea for the Río San Juan. The International Court or World Court is the arbiter of the northern border, according to international treaties.
Costa Rica officials recognized that there was little access to the northern area. So a road was begun along the south bank, which is the international border.

That is when Nicaragua brought it own International court case claiming environmental damage and debris falling into its river.

Nicaragua controls the Río San Juan, and for years, that country has forbidden armed Costa Rican policemen from traveling by boat. Without the road, that is the only means of travel. Officials said that they would be planting trees along the controversial road.

Castillo also visited Delta Costa Rica, Agua Dulce, Santa Marta and Barra del Colorado. He checked out border posts that are staffed with members of the Policía de Fronteras. There also are surveillance cameras. Castillo spent 12 hours making the tour, officials said.

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