Nicaragua tried to blame ex-Contra Pastora for canals

Nicaragua has been trying to make Eden Pastora the fall guy in the dispute over the Isla Calero.

During a presentation Monday at the International Court of Justice, Costa Rican advocates noted that Nicaragua tried to wash its hands of the situation by suggesting that Pastora, the former Contra leader, was working on his own.

A major point of the Costa Rica presentation by Ambassador Edgar Ugalde was to show that the Nicaraguan government is behind the digging and dredging of two canals from the Río San Juan to the Caribbean.

Sergio Ugalde, a lawyer representing Costa Rica, told the justices that Oct. 10 Nicaragua sent a note to the court denying participation in the job and blamed Pastora. For that reason, Nicaragua said, the court need not take any action against it, said the lawyer.

Oct. 11, according to the Costa Rican advocates, new Nicaragua documents appeared in which that the work in the area had been carried out without the authorization of Pastora by the Empresa Portuaria Nacional. The note also said that Nicaragua suspended all the work in the area Sept. 23.

Costa Rica wants the court to grant it the right to enter the disputed territory north of the Isla Portillos to block and perhaps fill in the canals.

During an earlier hearing, the court ordered both countries to stay out of the area.

Casa Presidencial noted that the country’s case may be strengthened even more because a Nicaragua official told reporters that his country, indeed, did violate the original orders of the court and invaded the disputed territory.

Costa Rica also said that a detachment of Nicaraguan military are camped in the disputed territory. There were many air photos to demonstrate the country’s case, including before and after shots of the spot where the canals now are.

They are 20 (about 66 feet) and 30 meters wide (about 99 feet) and about 100 meters long. As A.M. Costa Rica has reported, residents along the river expect that the Río San Juan, carrying the season’s heavy rains, will blast a new mouth for the river through what Costa Rica considers to be environmentally sensitive territory.

Pastora, himself, appears to have said he was involved in removing aquatic plants from the river.

Nicaragua has its chance to present a case to the court today. Then both countries have a morning each to discredit what has been alleged.

International lawyers Samuel Wordsworth, James Crawford and Marcelo Kohen outlined for the court why the necessity exists to issue new rules. Among these is that there is risk of irreparable harm.

The foreign ministry in San José said after officials viewed the televised hearing that the country’s presentation in The Hague, Netherlands, was solid and contained irrefutable evidence.

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