Sunday, May 28, 2023

By Tim Rogers, Nicaragua Dispatch/TodayColombia

After a week of dithering, chest-thumping, and hot-blooded tweeting, Colombia is apparently ready to talk to Nicaragua about the World Court’s historic redrawing of maritime boundaries in the Caribbean Sea.

The New Maritime Boundaries, acccording to ICJ ruling

Since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down its verdict on Nov. 19, granting Nicaragua some 100,000 square kilometers of disputed maritime territory, Colombia’s response has been higgledy-piggledy and highly emotional. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ first reaction was to dismiss the whole second half of the verdict as unacceptable to his country. Hours later, Colombia’s Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín took a more diplomatic approach by calling for dialogue and understanding with Nicaragua.

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The following day, the Colombian government apparently flip-flopped again by saying it would maintain its warships in Nicaraguan waters to defend its historic claim to the sea. On Saturday, Colombia again called for talks with Nicaragua, though it’s not clear what the South American nation hopes to negotiate on the margin of the ICJ with their “gunboat dialogue.”

Nicaragua, meanwhile, has remained patient. The Sandinistas’ historic position on sovereignty, famously stated by Gen. Augusto Sandino (“sovereignty is not discussed, it’s defended with guns in hand”), seems quaint in this circumstance, given the enormous disparity in firepower between the two nations. Still, Nicaragua has made it clear that there isn’t much to talk about at this point.

“I am certain that…Colombia will recognize the ruling by the International Court of Justice, because there is no other way forward; there is only one path and that’s to comply with the ruling and respect Nicaragua’s historic right,” said Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in a speech Friday night.

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