HomeNewsBriefNicaragua Issues Politically Charged Anti-Drug Ops Invitation
BRIEF

Nicaragua Issues Politically Charged Anti-Drug Ops Invitation

CARIBBEAN / 27 NOV 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Nicaragua has authorized the militaries of the United States and Russia to undertake drug interdiction in Caribbean waters successfully claimed from Colombia in the International Court of Justice last year, in a move likely spurred by political motivations.

The authorization was declared after a vote by the country's parliament on November 26 -- little over a year after Nicaragua was awarded swathes of Colombia's maritime territory by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) -- and allows for US and Russian troops, naval vessels and aircraft to enter the area to engage in anti-drug missions, reported EFE.

The long running dispute over the territory has caused heightened tension between the two Latin American nations ever since the decision, with Colombia last year withdrawing its recognition of the ICJ, while Nicaragua has subsequently attempted to claim further territory. It is believed the area may be home to extensive oil and gas reserves.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Nicaragua

The parliamentary authorization follows a recent increase in Colombia's naval presence around the Caribbean islands which it retained as part of the ICJ decision, and comes at a time of growing security and commercial ties between Nicaragua and Russia. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has previously said the ICJ decision is invalid because territorial boundaries can only be redrawn through bilateral agreements. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The highly charged political backdrop of this invitation suggests Nicaragua is not only driven by a desire to implement effective law enforcement in the area, but also for the de facto recognition of its sovereignty over the territory that US and Russian participation would represent. 

The United States has long been patrolling the same waters in partnership with Colombia, so for them it would be business as usual, while inviting Russia could be seen as a poke in the eye for Colombia. Tension recently erupted over a Russian navy captain's suggestion his country would support Nicaragua should conflict erupt over the territory -- a statement since rejected by the Russian government -- as well as Colombian protests following the entry of two Russian bombers into Colombian airspace

However, the invitation is also likely a result of Russia's desire to increase its involvement in regional anti-drugs efforts, with Nicaragua emerging as a key ally in the endeavor. Nevertheless, while this invitation undoubtedly has a political edge, the growing use of San Andres as a drug transshipment point and the Nicaraguan navy's admission it is ill-equipped to confront the challenge means there is also an element of necessity about the move. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 6 AUG 2014

Authorities in Colombia have arrested seven officials accused of selling private information on victims of the armed conflict, demonstrating the…

COLOMBIA / 30 MAR 2020

The Colombian criminal group Los Rastrojos is fighting a two-front war: against ELN guerrillas looking to usurp the group's highly…

COLOMBIA / 21 OCT 2011

In a long-expected development, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that Peru has surpassed Colombia to become the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.