19 de Julio, 2012: Visit to Harbour Head, Nicaragua

Today—el 19 de julio, 2017, the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Sandinista victory in Managua and a national holiday—seemed like a good time to finally publish these photos I took five years ago, on July 19, 2012, during a visit to the extreme southeast corner of Nicaragua.

Traveling up the Río San Juan by boat from San Juan de Nicaragua, we passed several military posts to land at this encampment of self-proclaimed patriotic environmentalists, located on a recently formed island which was, at the time, the subject of a border of dispute with Costa Rica. I was accompanying journalist Tim Rogers, who tells the full story in his article for Global Post, “Sandinista Sleepaway Camp Holds the Line in Nicaragua-Costa Rica Border Dispute.”

“Welcome to Camp Harbour Head,” writes Rogers, “which has been operating nonstop since April 2011, three weeks after the International Court of Justice ordered Nicaragua and Costa Rica to withdraw all personnel from the disputed border zone until the court determines its rightful owner. Costa Rica claims the alluvial land as its own, calling it Isla Portillos. Nicaragua insists the island is on its side of the border and is called Harbour Head. The youth camp is located right in this faultline between two uneasy neighbors. While the court weighs evidence presented by both sides, Nicaragua is asserting its claim to the land by occupying the island with rotating cadres of Sandinista Youth. For the past 82 weeks, an equal number of partisan-affiliated ‘environmental brigades’ have passed through Camp Harbour Head.”

Here are a few images from that visit:

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