The work of Nicaragua’s Palestinian Solidarity Committee has taken on a sense of urgency for the Sandinista government.
Following Nicaragua’s historic victory this week in its decade-long legal battle for clear boundaries and sovereignty in the Caribbean, the Sandinista Front is apparently bolstering its solidarity efforts with the Palestinians’ struggle for territory and survival in the Middle East.
On Tuesday afternoon, the ruling party bussed dozens of Sandinista Youth to the UN offices in Managua to join a handful of Nicaragua’s Muslim community in standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people and denouncing the undulating wave of violence in Gaza. Present at the protest were Sandinista notables such as Supreme Court judge Francisco Rosales and presidential advisor Paul Oquist, who wore a Palestinian scarf in solidarity.
While the Sandinistas’ support for the Palestinian cause is long-standing, it seems to have taken on new meaning following this week’s ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which repartitioned the Caribbean Sea between Nicaragua and Colombia, much to the former’s benefit.
With Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos griping about the Court’s decision and hinting that his country might not respect the ruling from The Hague, all Nicaragua can do is hope that international law will prevail over a more brutish policy of might-makes-right.
Similar to the Palestinians, who can’t match the firepower of the Israelis, Nicaragua is vastly out-muscled on the sea against the Colombian Navy, the largest in Latin America. If Colombia decides to disregard the new international boundaries and use their brawn to occupy the Caribbean waters that they have claimed for nearly a century, Nicaragua would be in a very disadvantaged situation against a much more powerful neighbor, even with international law on its side.
“The Nicaragua-Palestinian Solidarity Committee is here today protesting the weakness of the UN, which despite having created a Palestinian state 64 years ago has not been able to comply with its resolutions,” magistrate Rosales told The Nicaragua Dispatch at yesterday’s protest. “Each day the situation gets worse in the occupied territories as Israel applies polices that are similar to apartheid in South Africa.”
The difficulty of enforcing international law is something Nicaragua has already experienced after failing to collect on its war reparations awarded by the World Court in 1984 in a case won against the United States. Nicaragua hopes this time will be different and that international law—the only recourse a small country has against a large one—will be upheld.
“We turn to international law knowing we don’t have the capacity to resolve these problems any other way,” Rosales says. “The fact that the Palestinians have taken their case before the UN for a vote on Nov. 29 shows that even after 64 years, the Palestinians still think that UN can give an answer to their problem.”
For Nicaragua’s sake, the Palestinians better be right.