(posted Dec. 6, 8:00 a.m.)- Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega last night promised his government will protect the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve at the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina and will not grant any oil concessions in area.
“Nicaragua is not giving any concessions for (oil companies) to go perforating there to see if they find oil, and we won’t destroy the reserve,” Ortega said Wednesday night. “Nicaragua is not doing that. The world can be sure, and the Colombian people can be certain as I told President Santos, because this is one of their great concerns he told me.”
Ortega’s announcement came only hours after his Energy and Mines Minister Emilio Rappaccioli announced that Spanish oil company Repsol has already submitted an official request to explore for oil in Nicaragua’s newly acquired Caribbean waters.
President Ortega also said that the Nicaraguan Navy has been instructed to not detain any Colombian fishermen during what he calls “the period of transition in the zone.”
“We have to do this gradually until there is full compliance with the Court’s sentence, without affecting the reserve and without affecting the fishermen and businesses on San Andres Island,” Ortega said.
The Seaflower marine biosphere reserve is one of the largest coral reefs in the Americas, covering approximately 10% of the Caribbean Sea, according to UNESCO.