There are also two commercial fishing companies in the islands, which have 72,000 inhabitants, said Guerrero.
The islands were first settled by Puritans in the early 17th century, and later used as an outpost by pirates. Many inhabitants today are descendants of slaves who speak English as their first language.
Nicaragua had argued that when it ceded the archipelago to Colombia in a 1928 treaty, it did so under duress because Nicaragua was then occupied by U.S. Marines who were battling a leftist insurrection.
The territorial dispute prompted the Colombian military to step up its presence near the archipelago. Nicaragua's government accused Colombia's navy of intercepting and capturing Nicaraguan fishing boats off the Nicaraguan coast.
Luis Manuel Galeano in Managua, Nicaragua, Vivian Sequera and Cesar Garcia in Bogota, Colombia, and Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.