Tensions in the Gulf of Fonseca

Honduras says it will respond and defend itself from a Nicaraguan gunboat deployed to the Gulf of Fonseca

A year after declaring the Gulf of Fonseca a “zone of peace,” dialogue and cooperation between Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, old neighborhood suspicions are once again clouding relations in the bay bordering the three nations.

Honduran President Profirio Lobo yesterday denounced the Nicaraguan government for sending a gunboat to the Gulf of Fonseca and intimidating Honduran fishermen.

“Honduras will defend its sovereignty and its people, but right now we don’t have the necessary equipment,” Lobo said of the situation in the gulf.

Presidents Ortega, Funes and Lobo during summit on Gulf of Fonseca in 2012 (file photo/ presidencia de El Salvador)

Ironically, Lobo’s frustrations with Nicaragua in the Gulf of Fonseca are very similar to Nicaragua’s frustrations with Colombia in the Caribbean Sea, where Colombian warships are intimidating Nicaraguan fishermen and posing an unanswered threat to this country’s sovereignty.

“We have a few small boats there (in the gulf), but they have a gunboat sitting in the gulf blocking the entrance. And I don’t understand why because all we are doing is sharing the poverty among our people in that zone,” Lobo said, according to Honduran press.

Lobo said Honduras will respond to Nicaragua by sending its ships to the gulf “because we can’t remain with our arms crossed; we have to defend ourselves.”

Lobo, who earlier this month tried to organize a tripartite summit with Nicaragua and El Salvador to discuss joint peace and development initiatives in the Gulf of Fonseca, lamented that both presidents wiggled out of the meeting at the last minute. “At the end of the day, there is no political will” Lobo said of his neighbors. “I don’t understand why El Salvador is avoiding the topic and Nicaragua sent a gunboat.”

Lobo said he doesn’t understand why his colleagues are being so difficult. “There is something going on; I don’t know what it is, but there’s something there,” Lobo said.

“We are sending (boats) to the gulf to take care of ourselves, but it pains me that we are spending money on this when all three of our countries have poverty in that region,” Lobo said.

In Nicaragua, the Sandinista government has not addressed the situation.

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