September 12, but construction hasn’t begun. We have not renounced [the canal project], on the contrary we have, historically, the commitment to make the canal a reality for Nicaragua.”, In April, the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in a, deemed the canal project a “means to launder money” and put. Further, a coast-to-coast railway line may be built by China in Honduras and could affect utilization of the Nicaragua Canal. The, between the Nicaraguan government and the canal’s financial backer, Chinese billionaire Wang Jing, is. Residents shout slogans during a protest march against the construction of the planned interoceanic canal, in San Jorge, Nicaragua, on 3 October 2014. The Nicaraguan government continues to allocate a budget for the canal authority on paper. "AP Explains: Nicaragua pension changes ignite fiery protests", "Panama Canal Opens $5B Locks, Bullish Despite Shipping Woes", "Megaships may displace boats in Lake Nicaragua", "Chinese developer of US$40bn Nicaragua's interoceanic canal "100% private, "HKND: The man behind the Nicaragua Canal", "Nicaragua's Canal Project Pushes Forward Despite Economic, Environmental Questions", "Nicaragua's Canal Dreams Are Still Alive", "Business: Nicaragua looking to give Chinese company concession to build canal", "Trends in Global Shipping Trade Demand A New Canal", "Nicaraguan legislators push ahead on giving Chinese company concession to build, operate canal", "Home Page - HKND Group Nicaragua Canal Global Trade Project", "Nicaragua's Ortega, Chinese businessman sign canal agreement", "HKND Group Successfully Obtains Exclusive Right to Develop and Manage Nicaragua Grand Canal for 100 Years", "Nicaragua in thrall of Ortega's canal dream", "Chinese Billionaire Says Nicaragua Canal Has Investors", "£24bn rival to Panama Canal to break ground this year", "Nicaragua approves route for $40 billion canal linking oceans", "Nicaragua-Chinese partnership announces planned route for proposed inter-oceanic canal", "Giant canal threatens way of life on the banks of Lake Nicaragua", "The fiasco that is the Nicaragua Canal, explained", "Russia Plans to Join Nicaragua Canal Project", "Nicaragua launches construction of inter-oceanic canal", "If You Dig It, Will They Come? If HKND failed to do so by June 14, 2019, the Nicaraguan government would be required to pull out of the deal and the. “People are afraid to speak. A policy known as Law 840 was passed that allowed for the expropriation of properties that were deemed necessary to the canal’s construction, sparking protests from citizens who want to see the law repealed. [42] Wang, however, promised to pay fair market value. But in October of 2015, the prospects for financing the canal began to dwindle when it became public that Wang had lost 85 percent of his fortune due to a massive downturn in his Xinwei-owned shares, Bloomberg reported. 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. Families living along the route would throw stones at the Chinese delegations who arrived with police and military escorts to villages like his to take measurements, according to Flores and reports by Nicaragua’s La Prensa. The survey site was on the same side as NicarAgua–Dulce, which is the only ecotourism group in Nicaragua that is affiliated with The International Ecotourism Society, and it is located north of the proposed canal site. AI represents an emerging area of regional security collaboration in spite of its inherent challenges. Although the future of the canal project itself is unclear, the conflict it sparked between Nicaragua’s indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and the government is very much alive. Since then, people living in the path of the canal have reported various forms of harassment and intimidation from the government, according to a report from Amnesty International and reporting from the Guardian, which described excessive force by the police, violence, and unlawful detentions. [70] There would have been four main phases. , there was outright silence about the project from the Nicaraguan government, but last Wednesday, President Daniel Ortega announced in a, there is our commitment to continue working for the construction of the canal. “The cost would have been huge and we wouldn’t have benefited from it for at least 50 years while we would be removed from our land, our livelihoods destroyed, and our ecosystem permanently and irreparably altered,” Omier said. Six decades away from the opening of the Panama Canal, Nicaragua was an … Regular, every day stuff, you know. Asia, South Panama Canal Third Locks 1939-1942. [18] In February 2018, analysts widely viewed the project as defunct,[1][3][19] though the head of the project insisted work was on-going[1] and HKND retained the legal rights to the concession for the canal as well as side projects. This reservoir would have had a surface area of 48.5 km2 and hold 1,100 gigalitres. The country is already considered one of the most. Panama is in a much better financial situation than Nicaragua to afford taking on such debt and already has a stream of income from its existing canals. [63] In May 2017, the PanAm Post indicated that "no concrete action has been taken to begin the project" and suggested that the project was either "paralyzed, or nonexistent. Ground was officially broken in December 2014 on the canal, which was slated to be roughly three times longer than the Panama Canal. "[citation needed], Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}11°30′N 85°00′W / 11.5°N 85.0°W / 11.5; -85.0. Is the Nicaraguan mega-canal failure good news for indigenous communities? Flores was worried he would be forced off of his land and lose his livelihood as a fisherman. Flores said Chinese workers came to his house on the lake shore to do initial surveying and informed his family that the land would be used in the canal’s construction. The National Assembly of Nicaragua, canceled the legal personality of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), the main organization of its subject in this country, which has denounced the abuses and misuses of the Government since April, when The demonstrations that demand the departure of the former Sandinista guerrilla began. Watch full episodes and clips of Popular Primetime, Daytime, Late Night and Classic shows on CBS.com. The Toronto Star noted that Chinese engineer Dong Yung Song said the canal's design called for the creation of a 400-square-kilometre (150 sq mi) artificial lake. In Obrajuelo, a few miles from Rivas on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, the house of Moise Flores, a long-time fisherman, sits on the edge of what would have been the entrance to the canal crossing Lake Nicaragua. [61], Investor Wang had financial setbacks unrelated to the Nicaragua project, losing 80% of his net worth during the 2015–16 Chinese stock market turbulence. 39 Brief Fact Summary. [52] This has been called a "land grab" and it has prompted protests,[53][54] and some violent confrontations against security forces. several meters deep, the canal bisecting it. The history of attempts to build a Nicaragua canal connecting the Caribbean Sea and thus the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean goes back at least to 1825 when the Federal Republic of Central America hired surveyors to study a route via Lake Nicaragua, 32.7 metres (107 ft) above sea level. Japanese and Korean companies used fishing nets to capture sharks and sawfish. Nicaragua Canal Five years ago, a Chinese billionaire was set to bankroll a 276-kilometer canal across Nicaragua that was supposed to rival the Panama Canal to the south. 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. China Harbor Engineering Company, an experienced construction company, offered to design, construct, and finance a fourth set of locks in Panama, where it opened a regional headquarters. , “Despite the project’s loss of momentum, Ortega regime figures, including Laureano, continue to use the Nicaragua Grand Canal Company as a means to launder money and to acquire property along the planned canal route.”. Manuel Coronel Kautz, the president of Nicaragua’s Grand Canal Authority, said the study’s purpose was to “provide an objective, current assessment based on science.”, The resulting study, however, was criticized as being “scientifically weak.”. The proposed route directly bisects numerous government protected areas (National System of Protected Areas) of biodiversity including the Solentiname Archipelago, the Cerro Silva Natural Reserve, and the Río and San Juan Biosphere Reserves. Money, Tokyo [78] The economic development potential for the canal project is relatively measurable with Panama; however, the World Bank describes the country of Nicaragua as the second poorest in Latin America and the Caribbean. [28] An oil spill would have serious and lasting consequences. Despite a verbal emphasis on renewables, most Chinese energy financing in Africa goes to coal, oil, and gas. Meanwhile, ordinary Nicaraguans continue to wonder what it will mean for their land, livelihood, and ecosystems. It would also be able to use assets from the Nicaraguan government and the country’s central bank. to use the land, air, water, maritime spaces, and natural resources of the country in the canal zone. How is that remaking foreign startup ecosystems? The estimate for the workforce in 2020 was 3,700 people, and 12,700 in 2050 when traffic had increased. World traveler Michael W wants to head back to Japan for a fun reason. [65] The canal as planned would have been 259.4 kilometres (161.2 mi) and would have three sections. [86] 400,000 hectares of tropical rain forest and wetlands would be destroyed. The canal was set to be completed by the end of 2019 at a total cost of $50 billion, three, Nicaragua’s GDP ($13.2 billion in 2018). A hydropower facility would be built at the dam and would have generated over 10 megawatts of power to be used for Camilo Lock operations. Their design capacity was 1.68 million TEU/year and 2.5 million TEU/year, respectively. The Nicaragua Lake section measures 106.8 km (66.4 mi) and runs from 4 km (2.5 mi) south of San Jorge to 8 km (5.0 mi) south of San Miguelito. As of 2018, a quarter (24.9 percent) of Nicaraguans lived in poverty, and Ortega promised the canal would mean huge, transformational economic development throughout the country. On the western side of the lake, the village of Obrajuelo was slated to be the planned Pacific entry point into the lake for the canal. Six decades away from the opening of the Panama Canal, Nicaragua was an important part of the New York-to-San Francisco pipeline. Nicaragua’s Chinese-Financed Canal Project Still in Limbo Uncertainty for those along the planned canal as the government’s contract with its Chinese … [82] Another major environmental concern is the project's impact on Lake Nicaragua, the largest source of freshwater in Nicaragua. [33] On 15 June, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and the billionaire chairman of HKND Group, Wang Jing, signed the concession agreement giving HKND Group the rights to construct and manage the canal and associated projects for 50 years. Anuar Sanchez, a fisherman in San Miguelito, says people were split 50-50 on the support of the canal. The canal was set to be completed by the end of 2019 at a total cost of $50 billion, three times Nicaragua’s GDP ($13.2 billion in 2018). The impact of canal construction on the environment has been the subject of intense debate in Nicaragua. A presidential election in Kyrgyzstan and a parliamentary election in Kazakhstan kick off 2021 in Central Asia. With emergence of globalization, an increase in commerce and the cost of fuel, and the limitations of the Panama Canal, the concept of a second canal across the American land bridge became more attractive, and in 2006 the president of Nicaragua, Enrique Bolaños, announced an intention to proceed with such a project. Manuel Coronel Kautz, the president of Nicaragua’s Grand Canal Authority, said the study’s purpose was to “provide an objective, current assessment based on science.”, he said that they are currently “in a phase of preparing environmental studies again, which had already been submitted but adjustments had to be made.”. The government doesn’t care about us. “We didn’t want the canal and don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but [we] are preparing for it. Stay on top of Nicaragua latest developments on the ground with Al Jazeera’s fact-based news, exclusive video footage, photos and updated maps. Japanese and Korean companies used fishing nets to capture sharks and sawfish. In the press release OFAC says, “Despite the project’s loss of momentum, Ortega regime figures, including Laureano, continue to use the Nicaragua Grand Canal Company as a means to launder money and to acquire property along the planned canal route.”. [25], The Nicaraguan government subsequently approved the Master Concession Agreement with HKND on 13 June 2013 thereby granting "the sole rights to the HKND Group to plan, design, construct and thereafter to operate and manage the Nicaragua Grand Canal and other related projects, including ports, a free trade zone, an international airport and other infrastructure development projects. [37] Asia, Central The Spanish-American War in 1898 heightened military interest in a canal. In 1909, the US military invaded Nicaragua and overthrew its progressive president, José Santos Zelaya, a nationalist who sought to reunify Central America in a federal republic, and who had canal plans of his own. (24.9 percent) of Nicaraguans lived in poverty, and Ortega promised the canal would mean huge, transformational economic development throughout the country. The sanctioned entities included two officials – Laureano Ortega Murillo, the son of President Ortega, and Vice President Rosario Murillo, Ortegas’s wife – and Banco Corporativo SA (BanCorp), a Nicaraguan bank. Domestic workers work two weeks and get one week off, while foreign workers are six weeks on and get two weeks off (management) or 22 weeks on, four weeks off (blue collar workers). The management offices would be rented or purchased near Rivas. Lim Cher Ping, Geoffrey M. Ducanes, Nicola Nixon, and Pitchanuch Supavanich, Southeast Asia, Southeast [92] The American-led Foundation for Sustainable Development is another partner that provides training initiatives to Nicaraguans that cannot access formal education. The idea of constructing a man-made waterway through Central America has been thought about throughout history. ", "Lost in Nicaragua, a Chinese Tycoon's Canal Project", Nicaragua Canal Project Owners Reduce Presence to a Minimum, "Nicaragua renews environmental permit for Chinese canal project", "Canal Construction To Generate Strong Opposition", "El Nuevo Diario: "The fall in oil prices has benefited the Canal, "Entrevista "La caída del precio del petróleo ha beneficiado al canal, "Has Beijing backed a US$50bn canal project in Nicaragua? Flores said he and others in Obrajuelo were offered a meager $250 for each hectare of land, not including their houses. [61] National opinion polls show that support for the project is about 70%. The agreement was for HKND, then based in Hong Kong, to construct and operate the Nicaragua canal for the first 50 years, and have the ability to renew the contract for another 50. Ometepe’s protected reserve is blessed with several ecosystems comprised of wetlands, tropical rainforests, and fog forests which possess the highest conservation value in all of Nicaragua. Daniel Ortega whose government approved the agreement within one week in June 2013, reportedly perceived the canal as the second phase of the Nicaraguan Revolution, predicting that it would pull Nicaragua out of poverty and lead to the creation of 250,000 jobs,[42] but HKND said the project would create 50,000 jobs, though about half would come from abroad, mainly China. Meanwhile, ordinary Nicaraguans continue to wonder what it will mean for their land, livelihood, and ecosystems. "[49], Following financial difficulties, HKND finally closed its headquarters offices in China in April 2018, leaving no forwarding address or telephone numbers to be reached. Sanchez worried the canal could have a negative impact on the fragile ecosystem, and had seen similar projects do just that in the past. According to Flores, protests in opposition to the canal started in his village approximately 20 months ago. [23], On 26 September 2012, the Nicaraguan Government and the newly formed Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group (HKND) signed a memorandum of understanding that committed HKND to financing and building the "Nicaraguan Canal and Development Project". Workers would live in one of nine camps, which besides food and shelter would also provide health care and security. “The path of the canal would have split the lake in half, blocking fish coming from the San Juan River and entering into Lake Nicaragua,” Flores said. In Ortega’s latest speech, he said that they are currently “in a phase of preparing environmental studies again, which had already been submitted but adjustments had to be made.”, The Cocibolca Organization, an environmental organization with a special focus on conservation that has chiefly opposed the project, says its own study determined that “the canal route will impact seven nationally and internationally protected areas, which will make the Mesoamerican biological corridor unfeasible and will have huge consequences on biodiversity.”. A fish processing plant was built, and while it initially brought in huge amounts of money, the projects ran dry after the shark population was, Local specialist Salvador Montenegro confirms this, telling, , “Although scientists such as Ignacio Astorqui and others initially thought that the Lake Nicaragua sharks was a separate species, recent studies have shown that they are in fact bull sharks. As locks generally define the limit on the size of ships that can be handled, the Nicaragua Canal would have allowed passage for larger ships than those that pass through the Panama Canal. [41] The water to fill the canal's giant locks would come from the artificial lake, not from Lake Nicaragua. Us, Write There would be significant impacts likely on Lake Nicaragua, affecting 93,800 hectares of terrestrial ecosystems and 18,800 hectares of tropical rainforest in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, as well as the displacement of over 30,000 people,” says Huete-Pérez. [67] No "major works" such as dredging were planned to take place until after a Pacific Ocean wharf was built. The company’s registered address is an accounting office in Kowloon. [12], In 2015, media reports suggested the project would be delayed and possibly cancelled because Wang's personal wealth declined greatly as a result of the 2015–16 Chinese stock market crash. Fisherman Anuar Sanchez remembers the day six years ago when the Nicaraguan government announced a. to build an interoceanic canal that would rival Panama’s. HKND plans to construct a private gravel maintenance road on both sides of the canal. Raul Delgado, the lead climate change specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, told Reuters in 2017 that joining the Paris accord could open the door for Nicaragua to access money from the Green Climate Fund and other international pots. Plans were to. In 2018, HKND abandoned their offices in central Hong Kong. Fuel storage sites would be placed at the two port sites. [24] The canal and other associated projects would be financed by investors throughout the world and would generate jobs for Nicaragua and other Central American countries. [5], The apparent lack of experience of Wang and his HKND Group in large-scale engineering was cited as a risk.[37][68]. Farmers feared it could cause their eviction and land expropriation. [64], In February 2018, Manuel Coronel Kautz, head of Interoceanic Grand Canal Authority of Nicaragua, told Agence France Presse work on the canal was still ongoing, but by that point analysts and activists widely viewed the canal project as defunct, with China having shifted its investment focus to Panama,[1][3] the main competitor to a Nicaraguan canal. on three Nicaraguan entities. The dimensions of each of the locks' chambers are 520 m (1,706 ft) long, 75 m (246 ft) wide, and 27.6 m (91 ft) threshold depth. In Obrajuelo, on the western shore of Lake Nicaragua, Moise Flores and his family live in limbo. For comparison, the Panama Canal handled 12,855 transits in 2009. Flores said Chinese workers came to his house on the lake shore to do, and informed his family that the land would be used in the canal’s construction. Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador have maritime and land disputes over islands and access to fishing rights in the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific Coast, a closed sea under international law. In the 1950s, a promising fishing boom enabled hundreds of commercial fishermen to fish, from the mouth of the nearby San Juan River. The wetlands around Lake Nicaragua are teeming with one of the highest levels of biodiversity in Central America and are part of the Rio San Juan Biosphere Reserve. Nicaragua Canal Project (2014) (blue line). that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega had given Wang and his company, a six-year deadline to obtain financing to develop the canal. Most refused, but were told they would have to leave. If HKND failed to do so by June 14, 2019, the Nicaraguan government would be required to pull out of the deal and the contract would expire in 90 days. by the police, violence, and unlawful detentions. In an emailed response by Huete-Pérez, he says the numbers they used in their latest. The US nearly nuked a canal through Colombia during the Cold War. But as the September expiration date loomed, the government and HKND Group remained mute on the issue. [52] It also allows the investor (HKND) to buy and sell its rights over the various sub-projects "in parts", which is a highly profitable enterprise. “To me this clearly shows the disregard that these officials have shown and continue to show for the environment,” says Huete-Pérez. The company’s registered address is an accounting office in Kowloon. According to Huete-Pérez, Oquist’s appointment was seriously, by many Nicaraguan green NGOs and has come under, , the lead climate change specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, told, in 2017 that joining the Paris accord could open the door for Nicaragua to access money from the Green Climate Fund and other international pots. A fish processing plant was built, and while it initially brought in huge amounts of money, the projects ran dry after the shark population was decimated by overfishing. A third set of locks was first contemplated under a project started by the U.S. in 1939 and suspended in 1942 when the U.S. entered World War II. affecting 93,800 hectares of terrestrial ecosystems and 18,800 hectares of tropical rainforest in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, as well as the displacement of over 30,000 people,” says Huete-Pérez. He currently. British research consultancy, was hired by the Nicaraguan government and HKND to conduct a study of the proposed canal project. The Pacific port would be named Brito Port and the Caribbean one Aguila Port. , a human rights group focused on natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses, ranked Nicaragua as the most dangerous country for environmental activists per capita in 2016. The deal was made exclusively between the Chinese company and Ortega,” Flores said. For two years, there was outright silence about the project from the Nicaraguan government, but last Wednesday, President Daniel Ortega announced in a speech to naval forces that “there is our commitment to continue working for the construction of the canal. El Gran Canal Interoceánico de Nicaragua —Nicaragua’s Grand Interoceanic Canal: it has a 19th-century ring to it. Nicaragua is one of the few countries in the region with a laboratory of molecular biology approved by the World Health Organization. Two concrete plants and a steel plant were planned to support the project. “The Government of the Cayman Islands informed Cayman Airways that the Nicaraguan Government closed its borders indefinitely as of today (April 17), and as a result, repatriation flights scheduled to depart from Grand Cayman to Managua this Saturday, April 18, 2020, have been canceled,” the airline reported on its website. This Atlanta Reservoir (or Lake Atlanta) would have a surface area of 395 km2. But as the September expiration date loomed, the government and HKND Group remained mute on the issue. According to Huete-Pérez, Oquist’s appointment was seriously contested by many Nicaraguan green NGOs and has come under controversy for its questionable timing. Nicholas Muller is an American photojournalist and writer. The wetlands  seen here on the eastern shore of Lake Nicaragua may be threatened by the construction of a massive cross-country canal, some scientists and environmentalists say. [80], Wang admitted that the project has financial, political, and engineering risks. 1984 I.C.J. [48], By November 2016, the president of the canal commission, Manual Coronel Kautz said "According to our schedule, we should initiate major works by the end of the year." [82] However, the 2015 Nicaraguan government's report on the canal states: "The Nicaraguan government and HKND will guarantee that persons and families on the route of the canal's construction will have living conditions superior to those they currently have [without the canal]. ", http://www.uca.edu.ni/2/images/Revista-Encuentro/Revistas/e97/e97-art-2.pdf, "Conservation: Nicaragua Canal could wreak environmental ruin", "Extracting Environmental Benefits from a New Canal in Nicaragua: Lessons from Panama", "A Quebecer dies in a plane crash in Nicaragua", "Nicaragua Dulce Ecotourism Granada Nicaragua :: Ecotours in Nicaragua", the plan to dig a canal across Nicaragua could be a very bad idea, "What Happened to the Nicaragua Canal Project? A frequently proposed, frequently cancelled plan to build a 100km canal between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea is back on the Thai government’s radar, after a fashion. 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