The border disputes between Nicaragua and Costa Rica date back to differing interpretations of a nineteenth century treaty, highlighting issues of environmentalism and nationalism. While Nicaragua accuses Costa Rica of contributing to environmental damage, Costa Rica maintains that members of Nicaragua’s Sandinista Youth Movement have invaded and occupied its territory.
One such dispute includes Camp Harbor Head—known as las Islas Portillos in Costa Rica—a 2-square-mile marshland along the San Juan River where Sandinsta Youth have been sent for training in environmental protection for more than two years. While the 1858 Cañas-Jerez Treaty grants ownership of the San Juan River to Nicaragua, Costa Rica has navigation rights. Although the Sandinista Youth on Camp Harbor Head are not armed, the Nicaraguan military is only 1,300 feet down river leading Costa Rica to claim that Nicaragua has invaded its territory.
Below is a web-exclusive slideshow from Tim Rogers’ site visit to Harbor Head that complements his article on Central American border disputes in the Spring 2013 issue of AQ.
Click here to view an expanded version of the slideshow.
All photos courtesy of the author.
Read Tim Rogers’ in-depth article about Central American border disputes here.