(posted Nov. 19, 8:15 p.m.)- President Daniel Ortega is calling today’s ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) a “great victory for all the people of Nicaragua” and says Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ apparent refusal to recognize the verdict is “worrisome.”
In a rare and curious show of national unity, Ortega addressed the nation Monday night flanked by former Presidents Arnoldo Alemán and Enrique Bolaños, officials from the administration of ex-President Violeta Chamorro, and current political nemesis Eduardo Montealegre. Joining the motley crew on stage in Managua’s Plaza de la Revolución, which was filled with members of the Sandinista Youth, party apparatchiks and other special invitees, Ortega stressed that today’s Court ruling in favor of Nicaragua was a result of the sustained effort by all previous administrations.
“Despite our contradictions, we transcended those differences to unite in benefit of the people and the country,” Ortega said, referring to previous administrations that he normally blames for submerging the country in a “neoliberal nightmare.”
“No one dismantled this battle; no one gave up,” Ortega said in reference to Nicaragua’s 11-year legal battle in The Hague, which started under the Alemán administration in 2001.
Ortega, who despite his nation-first nod couldn’t help but festoon the stage with red-and-black Sandinista flags, also answered the Colombian president’s feisty rhetoric from earlier this afternoon by calling his colleague’s position “lacking in seriousness.”
“This represents a total disrespect for international law, a total disrespect for the International Court of Justice and a total lack of respect for the people of Colombia because he gave his word (that he would respect the World Court’s ruling) and now he is contradicting himself,” Ortega said. “And that worries us.”
Ortega then pushed the envelope a bit further by saying he considers the islanders of Colombia’s San Andres still “to be Nicaraguans”—bestowing on them a nationality they themselves haven’t shown any interest in claiming for almost a century.
Feeling on a roll, the normally dour Ortega even displayed what might be mistaken as an unexpected attempt at humor. In response to Santos’ reported plans to spend tonight on San Andres Island, Ortega, mocking the ICJ’s ruling in his own right by stressing his continued ownership claim to the Colombian island, said: “Welcome to San Andres, President Santos.”