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Ortega’s Land Grab

Nicaragua has invaded Costa Rican territory. How will the U.S. respond?

6:30 AM, Nov 18, 2010 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
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The Obama administration must take a firm stand against Nicaragua’s belligerence. The occupation of Calero Island represents, quite simply, a cross-border invasion. (Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla is not exaggerating when she uses that word.) If the U.S. and its democratic partners in Latin America don’t firmly and effectively pressure Nicaragua to leave the island and quit its warmongering, other pro-Chávez governments may feel emboldened to pursue similar adventurism. While the stakes in the San Juan River dispute may appear small, they’re actually quite large. Ortega is testing the willpower of his democratic neighbors. Their response will have serious consequences for the entire region.

Jaime Daremblum, who served as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2004, is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.

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