March 20, 2008
The government of the Republic of Nicaragua has secretly obtained a commitment from the government of Venezuela to ship attack helicopters to the National Army of Nicaragua. Inasmuch as Nicaragua has currently neither domestic nor foreign enemies that would warrant the acquisition of such offensive weapons, the question arises as to what potential military use is contemplated by the Nicaraguan Government for these aircraft. Has anybody sen last year's decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case of Nicaragua vs. Colombia? Read on, and learn why your calculation of country risk for Nicaragua must factor in the possibility that hostilities initiated against Colombia could seriously disrupt international financial commerce in the region.
On 13 December, 2007, the ICJ ruled upon the pending territorial dispute between the two countries concerning Nicaragua's territorial claims to the Colombian islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Based upon the Esguerra-Barcenes Treaty of 1928, signed by both countries, the court held that there was no continuing legal dispute, and that it had no jurisdiction over the matter.
Nicaragua has expressed, in very blunt language, that it is clearly unhappy with the court's ruling. If their national leadership contemplates taking action not of a diplomatic nature, would they not prepare for war?
The Nicaraguan Government recently received a visit from a general officer from the Venezuelan military. During that conference, It was agreed that advanced attack helicopters from the Venezuelan military would be shipped to Nicaragua. The Russian-made Mi-35 Combat Helicopter would probably be the first type shipped, but Venezuela has requested delivery, from its Russian manufacturer, of the latest advanced attack helicopter, the Rostvertol MI-28N. Known as the "Night Hunter,"with a speed of 186 MPH, it is claimed that this new aircraft, first delivered to Russia in January, is "virtually invisible to anti-aircraft defence." Is this type that Venezuela will ultimately send to Nicaragua? If so, then Nicaragua, now firmly allied with Venezuela against Colombia, may take drastic action in the Caribbean to invade those offshore islands. The introduction of advanced aircraft into the region cannot stand.
Just as World-Check was the first to disclose that a Brazilian arms dealer was shipping more than a ton of firearms directly to President Chavez, causing a firestorm of controversy that effectively shut down further arms deliveries, we hope that exposing this covert military arrangement between Venezuela and its Nicaraguan ally will interfere with the delivery of offensive weapons that could be used to impose Nicaragua's illegal territorial claims upon its neighbor. A war in the Caribbean, waged for purely nationalistic reasons, should not be allowed to start.