Google Maps Border Dispute Headed to International Court?

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 17, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Google, you have really done it this time. As noted in a prior post, a mistake on Google Maps in delineating the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica resulted in a skirmish and rising tensions between the two countries which may escalate into a regional conflict. The chest thumping between the neighboring nations continues even after, or possibly because of, an attempt by the Organization of American States to intervene.

The OAS passed a resolution last Friday encouraging the countries to stop all "deployments of the armed forces or security forces in the area where their presence could generate tensions," reports the Associated Press. Generate tensions? The tensions have already begun in this stranger-than-fiction international dispute. Both nations are digging their heels in here. While Costa Rica trumpets the OAS resolution as a diplomatic victory, Nicaragua dismissed the vote as "invalid" and based on a "distorted process lacking order."

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has rejected the OAS's authority to oversee the conflict. The AP reports he is considering taking his complaint to the International Court in the Hague. On the other side of the border, "Costa Rica is seeing its dignity smeared and there is a sense of great national urgency," said Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla. Fighting words, for sure.

The OAS has suggested the two countries meet to resolve the border dispute no later than November 27. Will God be, as Napoleon said, on the side of the biggest battalion? Or, in this skirmish, will God on the side of the best app?

Perhaps a diplomatic victory for both countries can be assured if they agree to just look at the Microsoft Bing version of the map, which reportedly has the border in the correct place.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Google is trying to leave this mess at the government's doorstep. Google Maps has posted a blog saying the mistake was really the fault of incorrect information from the U.S. Department of State. Talk about bringing out the big guns.

Google also notes that this particular border dispute dates back to at least the mid-1800's. Back then, President Grover Cleveland had to weigh in on the dispute. It is not funny (or maybe it is) that even with the great technological power given to us by companies like Google, we are still going over the same issues taken on by the Cleveland Administration. Time to move on?

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