The conflict began on October 21 when Costa Rica lodged a protest against Nicaragua over the crossing of the San Juan River by Nicaraguan forces and their incursion onto Calero Island, a place that is claimed by both countries.
At the conclusion of their annual meeting on Nov. 17, the bishops issued a statement voicing support for “Nicaragua’s absolute sovereignty over the San Juan River, which is indisputable and non-negotiable.” They also called for dialogue to resolve the conflict, echoing a plea made by the bishops of Costa Rica.
At the same time, they urged government officials and all Nicaraguans not to allow the dispute to distract from the serious issues the country faces. “The serious social and economic problems, the unresolved institutional crisis and the challenge of an upcoming election season demand our full attention and responsibility,” they said.
The bishops said their statements about the country’s situation do not amount to meddling in political and social affairs, but rather constitute a “service in the formation of consciences.”
They also declared 2011 to be a “Year of Prayer for Nicaragua,” saying, “the complexity of the country’s situation and the rapid pace of change in politics make this a crucial time for prayer.”
.- A border dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica is causing the Bishops’ Conference of Nicaragua to speak out in favor of resolving the dispute by diplomatic means, instead of resorting to violence.