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Nicaragua Wants Guanacaste

December 1st, 2005

Costa Rica has been disputing Nicaragua’s refusal to allow Costa Rica police patrol boats to carry weapons on the San Juan river that separates Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I guess they are fearful that our staunch Fuerza Publica will cross the river and attack their country.

I am not sure 1. who would really WANT Nicaragua anyway, and 2. if our staunch Fuerza Publica could actually pull off an invasion as they have a tough enough time dealing with pickpockets, car thieves, and petty crime in San Jose. The idea of our boys in blue actually facing a real army (yes, Nicaragua has one), who carry REAL weapons might be mildly (though briefly) amusing as THAT battle would certainly last no longer than 4 minutes, which thankfully is sufficient time to call George Bush.

Rather than fight (an intelligent choice as WE have no army), Costa Rica decided to send the dispute to the International Court. Now THAT has royally torqued off Nicaragua’s foreign minister, Normal Caldera, who is now saying that his country will ask that Costa Rica give back Guanacaste. I can’t WAIT to hear what Marriott says about that! Can you imagine all those fine folk shelling out $500 – $2,000 per night at the Four Seasons just to wake up to the Nicaragua army enjoying a dip in their pool?

Sooo… Nicaragua claims that Guanacaste belongs to Nicaragua and was illegally seized by Costa Rica back in 1825. I guess it has taken the Nicas about 180 years to realize 1. they don’t have Guanacaste any more and 2. they got screwed. Sorta like the American Indians on that Manhatten deal I betcha.

Caldera now sez that his country is analyzing the possibility of reclaiming Guanacaste from Costa Rica.

Costa Rica agrees that the river belongs to Nicaragua and has never made a claim for it. Thank goodness! All CR wants is for their patrol boats to be able to be armed… IMHO not an unreasonable request as the peace loving folks on the other side are most likely carrying heavy weapons.

Costa Rica’s president, (the not so very) Abel Pacheco, said that he won’t do diddly squat as because, quote, “it is out of place”.

Diplomacy…

Note to tourists and real estate buyers/owners:

Although this story IS 100% factual, don’t get all panicky about an attack from the North. This will probably all get resolved as soon as the Nicas cool down about one of their local felons getting eaten the other night by a Rottweiler as he was visiting a bodega in the middle of the night…. to visit his girlfriend. And if it doesn’t, we’ll just call George!


17 Responses to “Nicaragua Wants Guanacaste”

  1. Connie on December 11, 2005 4:14 pm

    Well, I agree with most of the the comments here, but the statement ” who would WANT Nicaragua anyway…. I would say considering the country, like costa rica has two beautiful coasts to overdevelope, who WOULDN’T:), and the “ring,ring to George Bush… hmmm….the good ol usa is running out of available resources quickly, it may only take 4 minutes to answer the phone, but to arrive?? Our natural disaster down in New Orleans gave us a little taste of USA response times, and it is quite scary!!

  2. Connie on December 11, 2005 4:16 pm

    Yeah, returned now that is has been developed, I would like to see how interested they would be if Guanacaste was still in its natural state.

  3. Tim on December 12, 2005 7:21 am

    My comment on Nicaragua was a bit brutal I guess. My various trips to that country did not leave me warm and fuzzy, and it would not be tops on my list of favorite places to live. I am pretty sure North Americans are not on their list of favorite people as well.

    As for its natural state?

    Maybe as it was 2,000 years ago. Sure. But after the past 200 years, I think it’s natural state is agressive, militant, warlike, paranoid, and unwelcoming… not surprising as they have lived under numerous dictators. the contras, etc. and a semi constant warlike state for decades.

  4. EJ on August 19, 2006 12:59 am

    In 10 years, you will EAT your words about “who would WANT Nicaragua anyway” as Nicaraguan tourism could easily surpass that of Costa Rica, who foams in the mouth from envy at the vast natural and CULTURAL riches of its neighbor to the north – its POETRY (Sorry, I don’t think Rubén Darío was a TICO), its literature, its music…and the warmth and hospitality of its people, which keeps people returning over and over despite its poverty. When Costa Rica was merely a provincial Spanish outpost, the grand colonial cities of León and Granada were flourishing, can you tell me perchance when San José was founded and under what circumstances? I believe that it is Costa Rica who is desperately trying to capitalize on the fledgling tourist market in Granada, Nicaragua, with direct flights to its airstrip from Liberia, Costa Rica. I am glad that at least you admit that Costa Rica screwed Nicaragua with Guanacaste because it shows some historical honesty. But no matter, Guanacastans still culturally identify themselves more with their ancestral Nicaraguan heritage based more in Granada than in modern-day San José, they are just smart and know and go where the money is – for now… any reputable cultural anthropologist, or even a humble Guanacastan farmhand could tell you this. The Nicaraguan concerns over any Costa Rican claim to any right to patrol the San Juan river is about direct infringement upon its very sovereignty, if Nicaragua had not lowered its guard against Costa Rica with Guanacaste (as it has not done until now with the San Juan river) 180 years ago, perhaps Costa Rica would have been unable to “screw” it as you say. It was not that long ago, that even under the unfortunate dictatorship of the Somozas, it was Nicaragua that was wealthy, not Costa Rica, although many Costa Ricans for generations were welcome to work Nicaragua’s rich soil to sustain themselves…and I’m sure that they lived in far better conditions than Nicaraguans living and working in Costa Rica do now. For their dear neighbors to the south have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to xenophobia and yes, gross human rights abuses towards Nicaraguan immigrants there now. I should like to see just how fast the Costa Rican economy would crumble if those undesirable Nicas should be deported from their low-income, blue collar jobs which most Costa Ricans think they’re too good for. It was not that long ago that Nicaragua’s roads and infrastructure, not Costa Rica’s, was the envy of Central America. The have had their earthquakes and wars which have destroyed their cities, but Nicaragua will bounce back, as it has many times before. Wanna know why? Because they have wit and spunk and a tireless optimism, humor and smile that leaves their neighbors to the south with much to be desired. There is a proverb that goes “He who laughs last laughs best,” perhaps Costa Rica should put away its arrogance once and for all, because although Nicaragua may be the ugly duckling for now…we all know how that ugly duckling turned out by the end of the story.

  5. Ferdinand on January 17, 2008 2:08 am

    Wow! EJ you are the best!! you rock!!
    Nicaragua is such a beautifull country!!
    you said it better than anybody would have!!

  6. Ferdinand on January 17, 2008 2:10 am

    Tim i highly recommend you to go to Nicaragua, talk to the people and just travel for a few days around the country, and i can promise you that you your perspective on Nicaragua would change dramatically…

  7. Tim on January 17, 2008 8:22 am

    I have visited Nicaragua several times, though not in the past 3 years. Each time, I was treated OK, but NOT in a welcoming manner.

    I think the country has a great future if they can rid themselves of their communist president, though I can understand exactly why he was elected with 50% unemployment. Even communism look great if those kinds of economic conditions exist.

    My own opinion is that Nicaragua has been living under dictators and violence for many decades. The people have no idea how to live in peace and I am SURE have fond memories of the Iran-contra affair.

    It is not an unsafe country to visit, but for me, there are just too many other Latin countries that make me feel more welcome and secure.

  8. Tim on January 17, 2008 8:34 am

    EJ… I missed your comment.

    Nicaragua has all the assets necessary to attraction tourism, but your ten year prediction is I think, a bit too optimistic.

    With HUGE unemployment and the resulting crime, most tourists will not feel safe their.

    It has a great cultural heritage for sure, and that may form a basis for future success, BUT when you say “…and the warmth and hospitality of its people…” I have never seen it. I am NOT well traveled in that country but the times I have gone, I felt no warmth and the hospitality was limited to hotels and tourist spots. I saw no such friendliness from the PEOPLE I chatted with who were not in the tourism business.

    I do not know if that was because I am North American or if they treat all tourists that way.

    I also have NEVER seen a country ruled by communism that has succeeded in attracting much tourist trade. Those countries beyond the (old) iron curtain did not attract tourism until after the fall of communism.

    Anyway.. let’s talk again in ten years!

  9. Alexander on February 11, 2008 10:21 pm

    Ej… hearing you talking that way only shows that you are envy!!! I am glad that there were some intelligent presidents back in the decade of 1940 that thought about the people and the future of CR (way ahead of the “great presidents”of our times, and, I am not only talking about the ones from CR). Not like the ones from the rest of Central America that only wanted power for a few (like Ortega right now).

    You talk about Rubén Darío, there is no point in mentioning one person from one country and assume they represent the “people” / “culture” of the country. And worst, saying they are “better” compared to their neighbors (because they don’t have a poet). If this is the case, I must have to mention Clodomiro Picado, who discovered Penicillin even before Alexander Fleming!! And Franklin Chang, who is currently building the plasma-based rocket in Guanacaste that will take the men to Mars (I don’t think Clorito and Franklin were/are a nica!).

    About this: “…gross human rights abuses towards Nicaraguan immigrants there now…”. You probably need to visit a place like La Carpio (where there are more than 130.000 immigrants from Nicaragua), where not even the police and Red Cross dares to enter due to the hostility of it’s habitants (probably this is what Tim refers to when talking about “no warmth and hospitality”). This people comes to CR with post war scars and serous psychological problems to create gans (I hope not yet like the Maras) and you expect the government not to take any action trying to stop more immigrants to come here???

    Think about it, why the nicas don’t want armed police officers watching over the border using the Rio San Juan?? The answer is simple, they don’t want to have them in Nicaragua and it is easier for them to come here with no guards trying to catch them!!! They prefer to pass this problem to Costa Rica because they cannot rule their own people; and, after all they want to take Guanacaste “back” (what for? to create unemployment there too)!!!

    Regarding the CR economy if there were no nicas, I don’t think it will crumble, instead we could have a more even distribution of the money across the country because the rich people will need to pay more in order to keep the workers and the middle class will grow because of it.

    And yes, I am a Tico and have 24 year living in this country with increasing violence problems due to immigrants!!

  10. Ian on July 13, 2009 8:34 pm

    When I went to Nicaragua I was treated great (been there three times) and I loved it. EJ’s comment is the best! Nicaragua is a beautiful country.

  11. Antonio Vallecillo on August 8, 2009 10:46 pm

    I think it shows how narrow a person’s mind is by claiming that they are better than others. What is the criterium employed to come to that conclusion? Is it money, level of education, color of their skin, or a combination of all of those? Our arrogance doesn’t allow us to see that aside from the people that engage on lives of crime and those have not a specific nationality,skin color, level of education or social status, we are all the same trying our best to lead a productive and honest life. Although it is hard to hear such comments coming from both sides I remind myself that after all we are humans and far from being perfect and one of our worst flaws is ignorance.Ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds violence. Don’t know much about Costa Rica because I’ve never lived there but passed through on my way to Panama when I was 13. I hear that it is a beautiful country and that Costa Rica has enjoyed one of the most stable and peaceful way of life for a long time in the entire region. I commend the ticos for it. As a nica let me say that my country has suffered from a lack of vision from those that have had the responsibility to lead the nation to prosper within our means but instead have only made their main concern to get rich any way at any cost. And is people like those that love to fill peoples minds with trash such as foolish rivalries . To the ticos I say well done, enjoy and protect your prosperity and to the few, I hope, that suffer from the handicaps that are arrogance and ignorance know this : just as you think you are better than others, there are others that think they are better than you. The nicas in Costa Rica are consider the lowest but just as the same some of the Americans that live in Costa Rica think they are your superiors in your country as they do too in Nicaragua. Remember they are those that have called anything south of Rio Grande their Backyard. I wish things would change for the better in Nicaragua economically and politically you know more stable so that every nica living in Costa Rica would return to Nicaragua to live and prosper in their country. Believe me is no party being a foreigner. I am one voice only but for the rude comments of my fellow nicas, provoked or not, I apologize to all ticos. I hope one day to visit Costa Rica and make good friends there and do come to Nicaragua and make good friends. The decent folks of Costa Rica and Nicaragua can tell who is worthy of their hospitality and warmth. Not those that come to visit or live among us because land is cheap and with an “I’m better than thou” attitude, nope not them no matter where they come from. If you pack your bags with a sense of wonder and willigness to explore and experience a different culture with an open mind and a humble heart you will be embraced and taken care as one of our own. That my friends is what I’ll be taking with me when I come visit your beautiful country. Saludos hasta siempre just a simple Pinolero.

  12. Lisa Perez on October 1, 2009 11:44 am

    Hmm … i have a few thoughts to share. My husband was originally born in Nicaragua, however has lived in Costa Rica all his life making him very much a naturalized Tico. He does not outwardly flaunt his Nicaraguan origins, however all his friends know and treat him no worse for it and he is considered one of them.

    I have traveled all over Costa Rica, and various places in Nicaragua and honestly did not feel much of a difference in people. I do notice that the Nicaraguans tend to be more guarded, but i think that comes from the unfortunate situations most find themselves in when it becomes hard to provide for your family. I have had the pleasure of visiting some of my husbands family there and I was welcomed, while travelling i found that people were friendly and hospitable. I think Nicaraguan has some places that are equal in beauty to Costa Rica. However when it comes to lush beautiful rainforest it does not match up. There are still gems and many in the rough.

    I also think attitudes are chaning now. Maybe i just don;t see the deep seated resentment. I do know that Nicaraguans aren’t treated all that well some times, but i think it matters less and less as the years go by. I do also agree witht he comment that Costa Rica should be more thankful for the jobs filled by Nicas, as they are one of the reasons the economy has become stable.

    Thank you for your blog, i love your writing style, your humor and honesty about Costa Rica. Both my husband and I get a kick out of following this!

  13. marion on December 15, 2010 9:25 pm

    I hear a lot of bad comments about Costa Rica from tourist , unlike Nicaragua being so beautiful and welcoming .
    Nicaraguans are polite and Costarricans full of hatred.
    Vivan la vida sana sin xenofobia como lo hacemos los Nicaraguenses.

  14. Jorge on September 17, 2011 8:26 pm

    Lisa–the voice of sanity and noble sentiments.

    In truth, here is what we don’t need: tourists and mass tourism. Yes, I know, tourism is big business. But on the whole, the results are unfortunate, both in regard to the effect on people and on the environment. What we need are honest politicians (I can dream, can’t I?) and a self-sufficient, sustainable economy. We don’t need our coasts crammed with high-rise hotels and a local population of taxi drivers, bell boys, hotel maids, waiters, bar tenders, and strippers, and a foreign culture that on the whole is not particularly elevating. Just my 2 cents. Peaceful retirees and immigrants, however, welcome!

  15. Michael on September 23, 2011 12:59 pm

    I’m a dual citizen. Born in Nicaragua with American parents. I agree with much of what you Tim says in his article but I feel he cant give judgement on Nicaraguas and its land without having spent enough time traveling through Nicaragua.

    First I agree Guanacaste is Costa Rica’s land and always will be. It was part of Nicaragua but after the independance of Central America they went to be with Costa Rica. End of Story.

    Next Nicaragua has to be careful with what Costa Rica does along the border. Its easy to let your guard down and next thing you know Costa Rica has extended its borders. Costa Rica is less than half the size of Nicaragua. They’ve done great things with the territory they have, why wouldnt they want to get some more land. Thats why Nicaragua has to be careful.

    Thirdly to say Costa Rica is a prettier country is absurd. Costa Rica has done a marvelous job of using its natural beauty and taking care of it. Fact is even though Nicaragua hasn’t taken care of its resources as (for example lake Managua) it still has as much beauty and more. Lake Nicaragua is a wonder in itself. Nicaragua has the largest nature reserves in Nicaragua, larger than any of the ones in Costa Rica. Infrastructure is what hurts Nicaragua most. These reserves and most of the caribbean side of the country has little access. If Nicaragua starts taking care of the natural beauty and attracting outsiders to come and visit. BE CAREFUL. For tourism between Costa Rica and Nicaragua all things equal Nicaragua will with more Land to work with.

    Also what is this about the Nicas didn’t make you feel welcome enough. If you talk down to earth to a Nica on the street, he will warm up and in five minutes be willing to take the clothss off his back for you.

    Special Message to Alexander who commented about Clodomiro Picado….Did you know that he was born in Nicaragua?
    Did you know that Costa Rica’s gold medal winning swimmer Claudia Poll is Nicaraguan?

  16. Tim on September 29, 2011 8:17 am

    Nice thoughtful post. Thanks!

  17. jose on December 4, 2012 12:33 am

    Hey ticos guanacaste es nicaragua, it is 2012 now can you see what is coming ? Nicaragua is a better destination today then cr , we are just gettin stared,lets see in a few more years.

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