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News > Latin America

Nicaragua Pays $378,890 to Costa Rica Over Border Conflict

  • Protesters claim the disputed Harbour Head lagoon and San Juan river belong to Nicaragua. April 5, 2011.

    Protesters claim the disputed Harbour Head lagoon and San Juan river belong to Nicaragua. April 5, 2011. | Photo: EFE

Published 14 March 2018

The International Court of Justice ordered Nicaragua to pay for its occupation of Portillos Island in 2010.

Nicaragua has paid Costa Rica US$378,890 for environmental damages related to the military occupation of the small Portillos Island, located in a disputed border area between the two countries.


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After five years of diplomatic conflict, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague ruled on December 16, 2015, that Nicaragua should pay Costa Rica for the environmental damages.

The Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Denis Moncada, told his Costa Rican counterpart Manuel Gonzalez that the money had been transferred on March 7 to Costa Rica's Central Bank.

“We have verified that the money was transferred and we're happy that the Government of Nicaragua fulfilled its obligation with Costa Rica according to the ruling of the International Court of Justice,” said Gonzalez in a press release.

“Actions such as this contribute to the improvement of relations between both countries in benefit of the people.”

Costa Rica had initially demanded USD$6.7 million, the amount suggested by environmental experts to repair the damage done, but the Nicaraguan government was willing to pay only USD$188,000.

The court finally ruled an intermediate sum and last Feb. 2 it asked Nicaragua to pay the amount including a four percent interest rate before April 2 or face a higher price.

“Nicaragua has carried out several activities in the disputed territory since 2010, including excavations for three pipes and establishing a military presence in some parts of the territory. These activities violate Costa Rica's territorial sovereignty. Nicaragua is responsible for such violations and is obligated to compensate for the damage caused by its illegal activities,” said Ronny Abraham, president of the ICJ.

The island, located in the Delta of the San Juan river that divides both nations, was occupied by Nicaragua's military under the command of Eden Pastora, who conducted a dredging operation in November 2010.

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