Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, must be having fun tweaking Costa Rica officials. He has had workers and soldiers invade a desolate area in the northeastern part of Costa Rica in an effort to punch through a new mouth to the Río San Juan.
He has responded to a World Court action with allegations that make much better headlines than legal arguments.
He is buying some well-armed patrol boats for his military from Russia. And he is making noises about the offshore maritime territory that is claimed jointly by his country, Costa Rica and in some cases Colombia.
Now he suggests that his country, Nicaragua, might like to take back Guanacaste that was lost 189 years ago when residents there voted to join Costa Rica.
Costa Rican officials behaved in a predictable manner. The mayor of Nicoya, Marco Antonio Jiménez, Muñoz, dashed off a letter to Ortega saying the Nicaraguan president was ignorant of the history behind the province of Guanacaste.
The foreign ministry delivered a diplomatic note the the Nicaraguan Embassy in San José, and lawmakers said they supported the move. The ministry pointed out that the national borders are defined in a treaty.
So in other words, Costa Rica officials acted as if Ortega were serious.
Nicaragua could invade and take over large parts of Costa Rica anytime officials and military leaders there want to do so. Nicaragua has an army, and Costa Rica does not.
But the international fallout of such a move would be gigantic.