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Border Crossing
Calm at the Border inspite of conflict between Nicaragua and Costa Rica

By Arianna McKinney

As I prepared for a trip to Nicaragua, several of my Costa Rican friends expressed concern because of the current friction between the governments of the two countries. A couple people even suggested I go to Panama to renew my visa instead. The two countries have been in conflict since October 2010 regarding sovereignty of the river San Juan.

 

Costa Rican acquaintances lamented that Nicaragua won´t leave them in peace and one Nicaraguan complained that Costa Rica already took Guanacaste from them and now wants to take the river away from them too. But as I crossed the border on Tuesday, November 23rd, it was business as usual, calm as could be.  

Officials at the border in Peñas Blancas stamped my passport and, when asked if there´s been any change they said “no, it´s all the same.” Montiel Garcia Bernardo, of the Public Force at the border, said that the same amount of people have been crossing every day from both countries, coming and going. 

A few people told a slightly different story, though. Pedro Rodriguez Marquez, money changer, commented that for the end of the year, almost beginning December, there should be much more movement across the border, but there isn´t. Another money changer, Geovanny Cruz Duarte, said he thinks less people are passing and less money is being exchanged. ¨The Nicaraguans are very stubborn,¨ he added.  

Jaime Lopez, a Panamanian who resides in Costa Rica and works as a bus driver for Tica Bus, said that his company hasn´t been badly affected by the conflict, but he observed a TransNica bus the same day that left Nicaragua with 10 passengers and returned to Managua with only four people. ¨In December, a lot of people always travel,¨ he said. He commented that Latin Americans tend to be fearful but ¨the people who travel frequently haven´t stopped traveling.” When asked about the conflict, Lopez said, ¨I feel more than anything that it´s political.¨

Rigoberto Lainez of Managua, Nicaragua, expressed a similar sentiment. ¨It´s pure propoganda,¨ he said, ¨because Nicaragua right now is in elections.¨ Lainez was returning to Nicaragua from a trip to Panama, traveling through Costa Rica. He said he didn´t have any fear of traveling between the countries. ¨Everything is normal,¨ he affirmed. 

 

What Costa Rican Authorities Have to Say

On its part, Costa Rica's Immigration Department cannot make any statements regarding whether the Nicaraguan conflict has led to any policy changes at the border, since President Laura Chinchilla has stipulated that only the Cancillería (Department of Foreign Affairs) may issue any statements. When asked if any additional controls are being enforced for tourists on their way to and from Nicaragua, Heidi Bonilla, Press Chief for the Immigration Department, stated that “the Costa Rican Immigration Department has not informed us of any irregularities, however, I am not aware of the Nicaraguan Immigration Department's position".

 

 

More Regional News

Total Lunar eclipse viewed from Nosara

On December 21st, from 1:30 to 3:30 am, photographer Rolf Sommer stayed up to see and photograph this unique event. More >

The end of the year might bring a new bridge to Rosario and Montaña rivers
• Decision was made during tropical storm Thomas

The State acquired two Bailey bridges (which can be disassembled) to place over Rosario and Montaña rivers. Now one is being placed over the first river. The job is being handled by Maicom S. A. construction, and it is hoped that it will be finished before the year ends. The work of placing the other bridge begins the second week of January, Vice Minister of Public Works María Lorena López let VON know by telephone. More >

Crime Appears to be Down but Need for Local Support Continues

The Tourist Police stationed at Playa Guiones appear to be deterring crime, but the delegation of twelve officers continues to face challenges related to local financial support, as well as some bureaucratic issues. More >

Zaragoza, Halfway Down the Road

The road that goes through this small yet beautiful town located amid Nicoya’s mountains is the only alternate route for Nosara communities when route 160 is closed down. Although many people learned about the road’s bad conditions on Thursday, November 4th, after a bridge collapsed cutting off Nosara, Zaragoza´s residents have known this for years, and they also have been waiting for years for the improvements to arrive that were promised long ago. More >

Tropical Storm Thomas
Damages Due to Rains Add Up and Increase Each Year

Adriana Sequeira and Jonathan Baltodano are among the 246 families that were affected by the last swell of the Río Nosara. On the evening of Friday, November 5th, the river forced them to take all their furniture out of their home. They had to spend the night out in the open, in their neighbor’s small ranchito. More >

Palí opened a new store in Samara
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On November 12, the highly anticipated Palí opened its doors in Samara with a festive atmosphere. Many people went to check out the new store, and especially to check out the low prices. But not everyone is happy to have a big chain store like Palí in Samara. Some worry about the effect it might have on local supermarkets and pulperias (small local stores that sell the basics). More >

Earthquake Will Destroy Poor Quality Constructions in Nicoya Peninsula
• The Comisión Nacional de Emergencias accepts that most homes don’t meet Seismic Building Code standards

For a while now, scientists have been studying seismic activity and its potential in the Nicoya Peninsula, and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI) has estimated that the next earthquake along the fault here could be between a magnitude of 7.7 and 7.9. But what would such a strong earthquake mean for people with homes in the Nicoya, Samara and Nosara areas? More >

2010 Municipal Elections – intelligent vote
Know the Candidates for Syndics
and What They Do
More >

Syndic hopefuls aspire
to decentralize the Municipality

Next Sunday, December 5, five political parties have prepared their fifteen syndic candidates for the districts of Nicoya, Samara and Nosara to be elected to the municipality to fill the next term which, in this instance, will be six years. More >

Government Gives More Than $12,000 to Three Local Schools
• Funds for the Serapio López Elementary School were almost lost

Through Nicoya’s Municipalidad, the government granted over $12,000 to three local elementary schools to be used for purchasing construction materials. The schools that were favored are Santa Marta, Santa Teresita and Nosara’s Serapio López. More >

Brief Police News

Confrontation Between Juvenile Gangs on the Rise in Nosara More >

Seven Security Cameras Installed in Guiones More >

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