Gustavo Pedro promises a rapprochement with Nicaragua over the border issue

A recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the border issue between Colombia and Nicaragua has given the two countries a new opportunity to reach an agreement. Colombia’s president, Gustavo Pedro, has announced this Thursday that his administration will request a dialogue with the government of Daniel Ortega, which had already expressed its willingness to close on Wednesday. During his speech from San Andres Island as part of Independence Day celebrations, Pedro announced that “we will talk with Ortega about how to ensure that the Caribbean people, the indigenous peoples, have the right to fish without disturbance.”

The four fundamentalist organizations warned that their problems were not over with the ICJ’s ruling last Thursday, which denied Nicaragua its claim to extend its continental shelf. In a statement, they asked Colombia to create a reconciliation commission with Nicaragua to resolve cross-border issues beyond the new sentence. “We believe that inter-state boundaries will not continue to be placed above the needs of the indigenous peoples in question on land and sea,” they asserted.

The area inhabited by this fishing community of Afro-Caribbean origin is fragmented. An ICJ ruling in 2012 recognized Colombia’s sovereignty over the San Andrés y Providencia archipelago, but awarded Nicaragua 72,000 square kilometers of maritime space. Since then, the Rizales have complained that they are struggling to fish in areas that were historically theirs and are now under the jurisdiction of the Central American country. In 2022, another ruling declared that Bogotá had violated Managua’s sovereign rights by maintaining fishing and patrolling operations in what are now Nicaraguan waters. The court asked the two countries to come to an agreement to resolve the existing issues between the two countries and to avoid further incidents at sea.

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A deal seemed unlikely for years because of a lack of political will in both countries. However, Ortega expressed his willingness to engage in dialogue with the government of Gustavo Pedro on Wednesday. “If the court had already ruled in their favor [la semana pasada] And the court has already ruled in our favor [en 2012]”We have a way to find a way to turn this into an agreement on the anniversary of the 1979 Sandinista revolution,” he announced. Vowing to abide by the new ruling, Ortega thinks the new balance in the equation creates an incentive for negotiations:

In his speech, the Colombian president promised to negotiate and promote a “confederation of Caribbean Anglophone peoples,” which Rizals requested last Thursday. “[Queremos que] Can communicate with each other without barriers, that mosquito coastal grandparents [en Nicaragua] “They can see their grandchildren in San Andres, or Honduras, or Panama,” he said. According to him, “there is a people with its own identity” and it is important to recognize that the Caribbean is a diverse cultural unit. “[La región] He speaks different languages, but he has a common look, a common music, a common feeling. “These people have the right to associate and organize themselves,” he added.

Petro also commented that he had already discussed the matter with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. However, the challenges of a negotiation are not small: Colombia has never had a favorable political climate for negotiations, and Nicaragua has yet to make any commitments after judicial victories at the ICJ. Former Colombian President Iván Duque, after Pedro’s speech, reiterated his position that celebrating the new ruling does not mean accepting the previous two: “They give very bold speeches to review sovereignty and the republic, but they are already announcing negotiations with the dictator of Nicaragua. Then they did not come with Piroud to use the 2012 ruling by ceding territory. The country must be vigilant and Ortega agrees. Avoid being tied up.

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The president’s speech was a counterpoint to the strategies of previous administrations. “Until this government came in, it was facing a major failure. What made us win this time is the recognition of the people of Rizal”, assured Pedro. According to the president, it was important to have people like Elizabeth Taylor, the associate agent and current deputy minister for multilateral affairs, on the pre-Haga security team. Likewise, he criticized the government of Juan Manuel Santos for its strategy of withdrawing Colombia from the ICJ in 2012, after the first adverse ruling. “Eminent lawyers have forgotten that the Bogotá Treaty had continued jurisdiction. [hasta un año después]”, he said.

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Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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