Nicaraguan Ambassador Responds to Washington Post Article

Nicaragua Network, Nicaragua News Bulletin: The Washington Post’s Christmas Day gift to Nicaragua was to publish an inflammatory and inaccurate editorial accusing the Obama administration of being "Soft on Nicaragua." The editorial invoked favorably Ronald Reagan’s war against Nicaragua which cost 40,000 Nicaraguan, mostly civilian, casualties. The editorial accused Nicaragua of "invading" Costa Rica and said that the Obama administration’s response was "an invitation to apply for foreign aid."

We print here in its entirety, Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell’s response which was printed three days later in the Post along with a rebuttal of the editorial from Daniel Yohannes, chief executive of the Millennium Challenge Corp. which administers the US Millennium Challenge Fund.

Nicaragua’s progress – or lack of it Thursday, December 30, 2010; 8:20 PM

Regarding the Dec. 26 editorial "Soft on Nicaragua": The portrayal of the dispute with Costa Rica that arose after Nicaragua undertook a cleaning operation of the San Juan River as an invasion of a neighbor was inaccurate. Nicaragua’s sovereignty over the San Juan River is clearly recognized in the relevant treaties and the International Court of Justice’s ruling of July 13, 2009. The border with Costa Rica begins on the southern bank of the river. Sovereign right carries with it the responsibility to safeguard, protect and maintain orderly and fluent navigation along the course of the river, which is exactly what Nicaragua has been doing.

To describe the presence of Nicaragua security forces on an island in the San Juan River as an invasion of Costa Rican territory is baseless and absurd, for Costa Rica has no territory in the San Juan River. Likewise, Nicaragua, from the outset, has stated its openness to bilateral discussions with Costa Rican counterparts to address any concern they may have about the Nicaragua operation in and along the river, including our efforts against drug trafficking and organized crime. This offer still stands, even though the dispute is now before the International Court of Justice where it should have been taken in the first place, rather than the Organization of American States, which has no mandate to deal with territorial disputes between states. Nicaragua has full confidence in the International Court of Justice and has always respected its rulings. Our response to whatever decision the court may take on the dispute with Costa Rica will not be an exception.

Francisco Campbell, Washington The writer is Nicaragua’s ambassador to the United States. (Radio La Primerísima, Dec. 28; La Prensa, Dec. 28; Washington Post, Dec. 25, 28)

Nicaragua Network, News Bulletin Jan 4, 2010