The following oped by Salud Hernández Mora has been translated from the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo by freevenezuela.org staff.
Nicaragua lacks the means to defend the large stretch of the Colombian Caribbean recently awarded to it by that international court in The Hague made up of a handful of bureaucrats who live even higher on the hog’s back than our own glorious and not unduly overworked magistrates.
Bigmouth Daniel Ortega doesn’t have a single miserable warship fit to put to sea. His ancient and clapped out Navy only has coastal patrol boats armed with short range weapons and his air force is an even worse state. If any of his Cessnas or Russian helicopters were to make it as far as any of Colombia’s Caribbean islands, they’d never make it back.
With armed forces in this state, Nicaragua will find it impossible to exercise sovereignty over the 75,000 square kilometers of sea just awarded to it. So Ortega can shout all he likes. If Colombia doesn’t want to remove its warships form the area then there’s no way he can make them.
But, and there’s always a “but”, last April Nicaragua signed a military cooperation and assistance pact with our satrap next door. That is to say, Chávez, if he doesn’t die and returns to life with even greater ardor after his mysterious stay in Cuba, could provide his Sandinista protégé with a military shield. And to complicate matters even more, President Santos doesn’t want to annoy him just now because he’s convinced that his role in the peace process with the FARC terrorists is essential if it is to have any chance of success.
My own view is quite the opposite; the tin pot dictator is a distorting force in the region and his disappearance from the political scene would only bring benefits to Colombia.
In any case, those thinking about using force to defend the territory that should never have been handed over to Nicaragua must take into account that the enemy would not be a small nation with no resources but rather the neighborhood’s tough guy. And furthermore, the mere idea of thinking about going to war is madness in itself, even more so when it would be against a brother nation.
Though Nicaragua has a populist and corrupt government which protects terrorists, it’s not stupid. Not only fish and fishing boats make use of the disputed waters but also fast launches carrying cocaine. Up to now Nicaragua has managed to avoid the fate of Honduras, which has become a way station and residence for international drug dealers and where the drug mafias have even got their own mayors elected in some municipalities. Ortega knows that if he wants to keep out the “narcos” he’ll need the help of Colombia and the United States to combat organized crime on the high seas. He also aware that many of the residents of the San Andrés islands [which belong to Colombia] have family and friends in Nicaragua and that they are not at all keen on the decision of the court in the Hague. So it’s in his interest to act as friendly as possible.
The blow struck against Colombia by the court’s decision was caused by an interminable series of errors by various governments lacking in vision, starting with Samper’s and Pastrana’s and continuing with Uribe’s and Santos’s. It can now only softened by cool thinking and showing some backbone. Having got down on our knees in front of Cuba, let’s see if we can avoid doing the same in front of Nicaragua.