onsdag 21. august 2019

Nicaragua's Chinese-Financed Canal Project Still in Limbo

Fisherman Anuar Sanchez remembers the day six years ago when the Nicaraguan government announced a $50 billion plan to build an interoceanic canal that would rival Panama’s. Sanchez lives in San Miguelito, a small village on the eastern shore of Lake Nicaragua located in one of the 10 municipalities within the canal’s planned construction zone.

“In the beginning, many residents were overwhelmingly for the canal, but when they learned more about the details of the project and its environmental impact to the protected San Miguelito wetlands, support for it dropped significantly,” Sanchez said. “People weren’t impressed with being forced to relocate, lose their farms and their land.”

But concerns over the 278-kilometer Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal’s environmental impact have been eclipsed by uncertainty about the viability of the project itself. The contract between the Nicaraguan government and the canal’s financial backer, Chinese billionaire Wang Jing, is set to expire September 12, but construction hasn’t begun.