(QCOSTARICA) Nicaragua has not responded to the options that Costa Rica presented to resolve the situation of commercial transport at the border, due to the measures adopted to prevent the spread of covid-19.
Dyalá Jiménez, Minister of Foreign Trade, explained that three options were proposed, one of which Panama accepted, to authorize the entry of truckers to national territory, under a health and safety protocol that will allow the transfer of goods in a controlled manner.
The purpose of these measures, such as mandatory testing of drivers, imposed by Costa Rica at its borders is to prevent the entry of the virus from neighboring countries.
“My interpretation, because of course I am not the Nicaraguan authority and it is important to understand how I have interpreted the messages of Nicaraguan authorities, that Nicaragua would prefer that we return to the original state of affairs pre-pandemic, and that is the message that I have received.
“Nicaraguan authorities would prefer that the process (of border crossing) remain functioning in the same way that they had been before, and that is impossible for the reasons we all,” said Jiménez.
On Friday, May 15, Costa Rica issued a directive that foreign drivers would not be allowed to enter if they tested positive for the covid-19, requiring foreigner truckers to submit to testing and wait for the results. Drivers testing positive would be denied entry.
To date, 46 drivers tested positive at the northern border and were turned back. Another 4 who tested positive, not being Nicaraguans, were rejected by Nicaraguan authorities are now in quarantine in Costa Rica.
The three options presented by Costa Rica are:
- One, an intermodal system, in that trailers with goods would unhook from their tractors at the border and be hooked by a driver in Costa Rica, for delivery to its destination in the country.
- Two, truckers who are in transit, that is their load is not destined for Costa Rica, would travel by a police escorted caravan from border to border, ie from Peñas Blancas to Paso Canoas and back.
- The third option, announced Thursday and accepted by Panama at the southern border, truckers would be monitored by GPS, traveling on defined routes from the border to a bonded warehouse, where the load is dropped or picked up and head back to the border within 72 hours.
In the third option, drivers would be in Costa Rica under a controlled environment, limiting their exposure to the population and would be able to fuel up, rest, etc within the established time frame.
Nicaragua has not accepted any of the three. On the contrary, Nicaragua’s dictator Daniel Ortega, keeps his border closed to all cargo traffic in and out in retaliation. His wife and vice-president, Rosario Murillo, lashed out at Costa Rica, including accusing the Ticos as racists, without saying so.
Costa Rica has also come under pressure from importers, exporters and carrier companies throughout the region. This pressure could be eased if Costa Rica can get its act together and implement the El Salvador – Costa Rica ferry that was to have started operation January last.
The ferry would allow cargo from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to by-pass Nicaragua, reach Costa Rica and Panama, and vice-versa, and in less time and cost.
Minister Jiménez said they Costa Rica will continue the dialogue to resolve the situation with Nicaragua and maintain the movement of goods without increasing the spread of covid-19.