The recent ruling of the International Court of Justice on the border dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua has given both countries a new opportunity to reach an agreement. Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro announced Thursday that his administration will request a dialogue with the government of Daniel Ortega, which had already expressed its willingness to rapprochement on Wednesday. “We’re going to talk with Ortega about how we can ensure that the people of the Caribbean, the indigenous peoples, can have the right to fish without disturbance,” Pietro stated during a speech from San Andres Island as part of the Independence Day celebrations.
Four radical organizations warned last Thursday that their problems had not ended with the ruling issued by the International Court of Justice that day, which denied Nicaragua its claim to extend the continental shelf. In a statement, they asked Colombia to set up a rapprochement commission with Nicaragua to solve transnational problems beyond the new ruling. “We hope that the borders between states will not remain above the needs of the indigenous people who inhabit the land and sea concerned,” they asserted.
The area inhabited by this community of fishermen, of Afro-Caribbean origin, is fragmented. A ruling by the International Court of Justice in 2012 validated Colombia’s sovereignty over the archipelago of San Andrés y Providencia, but awarded Nicaragua 72,000 square kilometers of surrounding seas. Since then, the Raizales family has been decrying that they are having difficulties hunting in the areas that historically belonged to them and which are now under the jurisdiction of the Central American country. In 2022, another ruling declared that Bogota had violated Managua’s sovereign rights by maintaining fishing and patrol activities in the waters that are now Nicaragua. The court asked the two countries to reach an agreement to resolve their territorial disputes and avoid ongoing incidents at sea.
An agreement seemed impossible for years, due to the lack of political will in both countries. However, on Wednesday Ortega announced his willingness to enter into dialogue with the government of Gustavo Petro. If the court has already ruled in their favour [la semana pasada] The court has already ruled in our favor [en 2012]We already have the means to find a way to translate this into an agreement, a decree,” he declared during a speech on the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution in 1979. Ortega, who promised to adhere to the new rule, sees that the new balance in the balance generates an incentive for negotiation: “I tell Petro to adhere to the rule that has benefited us, we left one by one.”
In his speech, the Colombian president confirmed that he would negotiate and that he would also promote a “confederation of the anglophone peoples of the Caribbean,” something that the Rizal family also requested last Thursday. “[Queremos que] They can communicate with each other without barriers, that the ancestors of the Mosquito Coast [en Nicaragua] They can see their descendants in San Andres, Honduras or Panama. According to him, it is important to realize that “there is a people with their own identity” and that the Caribbean is a diverse cultural unit. “[La región] He speaks different languages, but has a common ancestry, a common music, and a common sensibility. “These people have the right to contact and organize themselves,” he added.
Petro also commented that he had already discussed the matter with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley. However, the challenges of the negotiations are not simple: Colombia has never had a political climate conducive to negotiation and Nicaragua has not, so far, made any commitments after its judicial victories in the International Court of Justice. Former Colombian President Ivan Duque, after Petro’s speech, reiterated his position that the celebration of the new rule should not mean acceptance of the two previous ones: “They came out bravely to make speeches about sovereignty and the re-establishment of the republic, but they had already announced talks with the dictator of Nicaragua.
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The presidential rhetoric was a counterpoint to the strategies of previous administrations. A major defeat was looming until this government arrived. “What made us win this time was the recognition of the people of Rizal,” said Pietro. According to the president, it was important that the defense team against The Hague include figures such as Elizabeth Taylor of Al Jazeera, an associate undersecretary and current deputy minister for multilateral affairs. Likewise, he criticized the government of Juan Manuel Santos for its strategy of withdrawing Colombia from the ICJ in 2012, after its first dissenting ruling. The brilliant lawyers forgot that the Bogota Charter continued to have jurisdiction [hasta un año después]Keha.
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