One week after the ruling of the Hague Tribunal, favorable to Colombia, President Gustavo Petro has announced talks with Nicaragua to seek a fishing agreement.
The dispute lasting more than two decades
The long-standing dispute between Nicaragua and Colombia over the sovereignty of San Andrés and Providencia, and later over the distribution of the sea, has come to an end. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2012 in favor of Colombian sovereignty over the archipelago, granting Nicaragua control of 200 nautical miles from all points of the Caribbean border.
At that time, the Colombian government even stated that it would not comply with the ruling and denounced the Pact of Bogotá, which recognizes the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. Referring to that 2012 ruling, Gustavo Petro described it as a “failure of the governments of that time because Colombia did not demonstrate that the inhabitants of the archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia, particularly the raizal people, could have fishing rights. The goal was to demonstrate the existence of a people with cultural identity,” emphasized the current President of Colombia.
However, Nicaragua sought to expand its continental shelf beyond the recognized 200 nautical miles. These requests were denied by the Tribunal in the ruling of July 2023.
Time for agreements
On July 19, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega publicly asked the Colombian President to sign a sea border agreement, in which it should be established that “Nicaragua is now the owner and exercises sovereignty over about 75,000 square kilometers of sea that The Hague awarded in November 2012.”
The response from President Gustavo Petro did not take long. “We will request dialogue with Nicaragua now to negotiate the conditions of the fishing rights of the raizal people,” said the Colombian President in his Independence Day speech on July 20. The event, held precisely in San Andrés, was conceived as a reaffirmation of sovereignty.
“We can ensure that the peoples of the Caribbean, the raizal people in this southwest of the sea, can have the right to fish without being disturbed, can have the right to their ancestral subsistence, and can communicate with each other without barriers,” concluded the Colombian Head of State.