Petro announces dialogue with Nicaragua on fishing conditions for the Raizal people


The announcement was made by the Colombian president in the context of that country’s independence celebrations, after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague released last week the long-awaited ruling on the protracted territorial dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua in the extension of their territorial waters in the Caribbean Sea.

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The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, affirmed that he will try to dialogue with the Government of Nicaragua, under the direction of Daniel Ortega Saavedra, to negotiate the fishing conditions of the Raizal people, who live in San Andrés.

This occurs after a dispute over the maritime delimitations of both States, sealed by an opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ruled in favor of Colombia on July 13, 2023.

The announcement was released in the framework of the celebrations of July 20, the date on which Colombia celebrates its independence. For the occasion, the central stage of the celebration was located on the island of San Andrés, as a message of victory in the face of the favorable ruling by the ICJ on the border issue. Nicaragua’s request was to extend the limits of the continental shelf 200 miles beyond the current dividing line.

“We will request dialogue with Nicaragua now to negotiate the conditions of the right to fish for the Raizal people in the Caribbean”, highlighted the Colombian president.

“We will talk with Ortega and his government about how these new Court rulings can make it prevail that the peoples (…) can have the right to fish without being disturbed, the right to their ancestral subsistence, to communicate with each other without barriers, that the grandparents of the Mosquitia Coast (Nicaragua) can see their grandchildren in San Andrés and vice versa”, he said in his speech.

The day before, Ortega Saavedra asked the Colombian Executive to put in writing and in a bilateral agreement, the ruling of the International Court of Justice. “If the Court has already ruled in their favor (Colombia) and the Court has already ruled in our favor (in 2012), we already have the way out to find a way to translate” the sentences “into an agreement,” Ortega stressed.

The ICJ concluded that the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina is not within Nicaraguan waters and confirmed the limits it previously set in November 2012, when it granted sovereignty over those islands to Colombia. However, it forced it to cede almost 75,000 square kilometers of the Caribbean Sea to the Central American country, according to the EFE news agency.

Historical review of Petro

In his speech, Gustavo Petro gave his historical opinion on the conflict. According to him, at a certain moment, those who governed Colombia “forgot the existence of the people as the basis of the nation, as the basis of sovereignty (…) that is why they challenged us, that is why at the beginning of this century Colombia was sued (…) and we began to lose, over and over again”.

In this sense, Petro pointed out to the previous administrations that they did not know the land they were defending in the context of the lawsuit, referring to San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina. In his interpretation, Colombia “has seen its territory lost over and over again (…) for 200 years what we have seen is how, from Bogotá, territories are lost, borders are abandoned”.

The litigation between Colombia and Nicaragua lasted more than ten years. Despite having legally delimited the zones corresponding to each country, the ICJ was the scene of new lawsuits, which concluded with the ruling last week in favor of Bogotá. Within the ruling, The Hague also ruled that Colombia must deliver some 75,000 kilometers of Caribbean Sea to Managua.

Nicaragua, agree

When the ICJ ruling was made known, the Vice President of Nicaragua and Ortega’s wife, Rosario Murillo, recognized the ruling as “firm, final and binding.” Murillo added that he “wants to point out” that his country “always resorted to the highest court of justice,” which is a “palpable demonstration” of commitment “to the Court’s mandates,” a contradictory statement for many opponents, taking into account account the constant denunciations of violations of international law that are experienced under the Government of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).

Nicaragua hopes that Colombia recognizes the value and effectiveness of all the judgments of the Court, and in particular the judgment handed down in 2012.”, Rosario Murillo also stressed.

with EFE

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Written by Editor TLN

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