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Google Maps Implicated in Costa Rica-Nicaragua Border Dispute

Google Maps is starting a war. At least, that is what Nicaraguan officials are claiming in the latest round of border disputes with neighbor Costa Rica. Earlier this week, Nicaraguan troops “set up camp” near, what the leader believed to be, the Nicaraguan border with Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the camp was actually on the Costa Rican side of the San Juan River. When asked about the territorial incursion, the Nicaraguan commander stated, “see the satellite photo on Google Maps. Here you see the frontier. In the last 3,000 meters both sides are Nicaraguan.” The two countries have clashed since the early 19th century over rights to the San Juan River.

Naturally, Costa Rica protested the incursion. According to Costa Rica's president, Laura Chinchilla, Nicaragua’s “invasion” is a smear on the country’s dignity and a matter of great national urgency. Chinchilla dispatched security guards (Costa Rica has no army) to the border, and she issued a forty-eight hour ultimatum for Nicaraguans troops to leave the country. Chinchilla has referred the matter to the Organization of American States (OAS), and claims she will take it to the UN Security Council, should OAS fail to achieve a resolution. OAS officials have visited each country and will report to general body later this week to discuss the issue. In the meantime, Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza has urged Nicaragua to The Dark Side Of Fat Loss


ta.rica.nicaragua.dispute/index.html” target=”_blank”>withdraw its forces to ease tensions, and he has called on both countries to resume negotiations.

Google Maps, with the help of U.S. State Department maps, admitted its posted photos were mistaken. According to Charlie Hale, “[Google] is determined that there was indeed an error in the compilation of the source data, but up to 1.6 miles.” Hale further promised that “the corrected version will follow the east bank of the San Juan River going northward, nearly to the Caribbean. It will then turn eastward and follow the southern shoreline of a large lagoon, Laguna los Portillos. This is not Google Maps first allegation of causing border wars. Cambodia alleged that Google Maps drastically mis-drew its borders. The global company has also faced pushback from countries for posting sensitive locations.

Although not officially involved, State Department documents did lend support to Costa Rica’s claims. If OAS fails to resolve the dispute, the US will likely face the issue through the UN Security General. Because Costa Rica has no standing army, they will continue to call for international action. The US must then decide if it wants to stand up for national sovereignty, or if it would argue this a domestic matter. Likely, the OAS will pass a resolution, with the two countries abiding by the ruling. But, this dispute, and others provoked by the inherent difficulties in cartography, will not likely to end here.




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