Nicaragua Accidentally Invades Costa Rica, Blames Google Maps

from the oops dept

You would think that military professionals would rely on something other than Google Maps in determining where countries have their borders. However, down in Central America, there’s apparently been something of an international incident, after a Nicaraguan military commander, using Google Maps as his guide, brought his troops into Costa Rica. He insists that he was just following what Google Maps said, and that he never intended to go into the neighboring country. Yet… the report also notes that there was a Costa Rican flag there, which the Nicaraguans took down and replaced with their own flag. You would think, at that point, that everyone involved might double check to make sure they were on the right side of the border. After raising their own flag, the Nicaraguans apparently set up camp, cleaned up a nearby river (nice of them) and then dumped sediment into Costa Rican territory (not so nice of them). If this truly is an honest mistake, then hopefully nothing more is made of it, but it sounds like Costa Rican citizens are quite upset about the whole thing, leading Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to go on TV to ask citizens to “be calm… amid the outrage that these events provoke within us.”

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Comments on “Nicaragua Accidentally Invades Costa Rica, Blames Google Maps”

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btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: If we ever needed undeniable proof...

“This morning, after a discussion with the data supplier for this particular border (the U.S. Department of State), we determined that there was indeed an error in the compilation of the source data, by up to 2.7 kilometers. The U.S. Department of State has provided a corrected version and we are now working to update our maps.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Next time... blame the GPS device.

Reminds me of when it told me to take a “slight left”. Wondering what a “slight left” was, I paid close attention to that section of road….and found that it was actually a “slight right” that I wanted to take instead.

Thus I took the right rather the left…and people sue companies for mistakes like this because they’re incapable of something resembling thought.

Mike C. (profile) says:

A little more info...

A few little tidbits I learned when I was vacationing in Costa Rica in 2009. First, they have no military and thus no way to “fight back” if necessary.

Second, Costa Rica has an illegal immigration problem with Nicaraguans coming over the border for day labor. The Costa Rican folks I talked to about it actually had quite a bit of resentment towards Nicaragua because of this. Add in a strong feeling of national pride on the part of the average Costa Rican and their anger isn’t much of a surprise to me.

Michael (profile) says:

Military Leader?

“He insists that he was just following what Google Maps said, and that he never intended to go into the neighboring country”

Is anyone else concerned that this guy is some kind of military leader? Did Nicaragua stop teaching it’s military how to use – you know – a map and a compass?

Can we make sure they do not have any weapons that can reach us? I’d hate to find out they are guiding their bombs with something they found in a Fruit Loops box.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

It's Nice To Have Google Maps To Blame

The commander in this incident seems a bit less than competent if he used Google Maps at all for any of this.

On top of that, I’m willing to wager the troops were ordered in there to clean up the river regardless of the international border.

It all just seems far too tidy an operation to “make a mistake” and just happen to have brought along all the equipment needed to do a river cleanup.

Of course, it’s just so handy to be able to blame this on Google Maps!

manifesto says:

Re: It's Nice To Have Google Maps To Blame

The commander in charge is apparently Eden Pastora, and if that’s the case, is far more competent than he’s letting on. This whole Google maps thing is just a pretext. There’s a long history of territorial dispute along the San Juan River and this is just a country with a history of military aggression as well as border disputes with its neighbors north AND south, provoking a neutral country into some sort of stand-off.

Anonymous Coward says:

The first thing that happens when a screwup is made, is to blame some one else for your fault.

I would dearly hate to know that a military leader for my country was not able to navigate terrain. How else are you going to get where you need to go?

Depending on civilian infrastructure to do the job won’t work if the first thing that happens is jamming air waves and internet traffic. Jamming is one of the first things done in a war scenario.

It is very obvious that this military leader has no business being a leader, because he is incompetent.

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