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Viewing cable 09SANJOSE799, COSTA RICA - SAN JUAN RIVER DISPUTE DRAGS ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09SANJOSE799 2009-09-18 22:10 2011-03-08 16:04 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy San Jose
Appears in these articles:
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotasDestacadas/Investigacion2704388.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotaPrincipal/Investigacion2704402.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2704436.aspx
http://www.nacion.com/2011-03-07/Investigacion/NotasSecundarias/Investigacion2705536.aspx
VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0799 2612234
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 182234Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1218
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 5793
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000799 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR WHA/CEN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM IO NU CS
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA - SAN JUAN RIVER DISPUTE DRAGS ON 
 
REF: A. SAN JOSE 619 
     B. WHA ASDAR 8/28/09 
 
1. (SBU) Costa Rica and Nicaragua continue to be locked in a 
long-standing dispute over the management of the San Juan 
River, despite a July 13 International Court of Justice (ICJ) 
ruling to settle the matter (Ref A).  Though both countries 
claimed to accept the ruling, on August 25 the GON announced 
plans to start dredging the San Juan in order to increase 
waterflow (Ref B).  The GOC is concerned that dredging the 
San Juan, which was expressly forbidden by the ICJ ruling, 
would cause environmental damage along Costa Rica's Colorado 
River, which is fed by the San Juan.  The GOC has sent three 
diplomatic notes to the GON objecting the plan, and insisting 
that an environmental impact study be done before any further 
action is considered.  GOC point-person on the San Juan 
dispute Arnoldo Brenes told us that the GON has $4 million 
already allocated for the dredging project, which was planned 
to begin in October (a month later than the announced start 
date of September). 
 
2. (SBU) On August 30 Costa Rican press reported that the GON 
was continuing to charge fees to Costa Rica vessels on the 
San Juan, which also violates the ICJ ruling.  However, 
Brenes later told us that they had received some reports from 
fishing vessels that the GON had suspended the charges as of 
September 1, at least in the area where the Sarapiqui river 
meets the San Juan.  Brenes said that they hadn't yet 
received reports on the issue from other parts of the river, 
and had yet to receive any communication on the issue from 
the GON in response to their diplomatic notes. 
 
3. (SBU) In a meeting in early September MFA Chief of Staff 
Elaine White said she would welcome any information we could 
give them about the GON's plans for dredging the river. 
Stating that the GOC's staff in Managua was "limited", she 
asked if we could pass along any information our Embassy in 
Managua could find on the issue. 
 
4. (SBU) Comment: While the two countries share a common 
border, Costa Rica and Nicaragua remain worlds apart.  The 
fact that the GOC has requested information from us about the 
GON's plans for their shared border shows just how little the 
two governments communicate.  From our conversations with GOC 
officials, it is clear that any "dialogue" they have with the 
Nicaraguans merely consists of mailing off a diplomatic note 
and waiting for a reply, which often never comes.  Though 
there had been hope that the ICJ ruling had put the San Juan 
dispute to rest, it is clear that border problems between the 
two neighbors will continue to be an issue. 
 
BRENNAN