(posted Dec. 20, 7:15 p.m.)- Costa Rica today denounced an alleged incursion by 15 Nicaraguan soldiers “approximately 1 kilometer into Costa Rican territory,” where Nica troops allegedly “threatened” Costa Rican police officers patrolling the area.
The incident occurred Dec. 19 in the disputed frontier territory near Punta Castilla, close to the first border marker on the Caribbean coast.
“This is an unacceptable violation of Costa Rican sovereignty,” Costa Rica charged in its diplomatic note sent to Nicaragua’s Foreign Ministry today at 4:10 p.m.
Costa Rica accused Nicaragua of refusing to recognize the established border, and said that the alleged troop incursion justifies its construction of a 160-kilometer border highway, which the Tico government claims is being built for national defense purposes.
“Costa Rica has sufficient motive to take measures provided by international law to guarantee the protection of its territorial integrity, such as public works that allow us to assure the (patrolling) of our sovereign territory and the monitoring of the actions by foreign forces in our country so we can demonstrate these violations to the international community.”
In the diplomatic note, Costa Rica also challenged Nicaragua to present “irrefutable proof” that the highway it is building along the southern bank of the Río San Juan is causing environmental damage in Nicaragua.
On the contrary, Costa Rica accused Nicaragua of causing environmental damage with a series of projects over the past year.
Costa Rica claims Nicaragua’s river dredging efforts in November 2010 dumped 3 million cubic meters of sedimentation in the Rio San Juan Ramsar Nature Reserve, as well as contaminated the adjacent Ramsar site, The Northeast Caribbean Wetland, in Costa Rican territory.
The diplomatic note accuses Nicaragua of being hypocritical for demanding that Costa Rica present an environmental study for their highway project while the Sandinista government has “systematically refused to inform Costa Rica about all the work it has done in the border region, including the dredging of the Rio San Juan.”
Costa Rica also lashed out at Nicaragua for building a 2-kilometer long airport in San Juan del Norte (Greytown), which is also within the Rio San Juan Nature Reserve.
Furthermore, the Ticos called Nicaragua’s plans to build a hydroelectric plant on the river “devastating for the environment in the region.”