Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Nicaragua Canal - Construction Begins This Year?

While the Panama Canal celebrates its 100th anniversary this summer, backers planning a new rival canal in Nicaragua hope to break ground by December. The project is a strange mix of centuries of aspiration, globalism and communist politics. President Daniel Ortega granted a 50 year concession to Wang Jin, a Chinese businessman and CEO of the HKND group, to build and manage the canal.
There are six proposed routes from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Nicaragua, all of them exiting through a newly built canal across the Isthmus of Rivas to the Pacific. The southernmost route through the San Juan river has been rejected for "technical reasons." The river forms the border with Costa Rica and while the entire river is considered part of Nicaragua, many investors would drop out of the project without the approval of the Costa Rican government.

Warnings by legal and environmental experts about the impact and feasibility of the project are dismissed by the Nicaraguan government as political attacks. The Sandinista government has convinced much of the population that this project will bring jobs and wealth to Nicaragua, however most of this wealth may end up in the hands of Wang and his business partners (more details at AP.)

Several colonial powers had looked at constructing a canal through Nicaragua before the canal in Panama was built.
Even after the Panama Canal was built, proposals for another canal continued to surface periodically. There have also been proposals for a "land bridge" consisting of railroads and fiber optic cables. Increased global shipping has reinvigorated the project.


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Mutty said...

I believe the route from Isla del Venado is the one they've gone for.