Nicaragua Canal Progress At A Standstill

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The progress of the Nicaragua Canal seems to have come to a (unsurprising) halt.

First proposed in the 16th century by a Spanish explorer, the Nicaragua Canal has been an ongoing—but not-once-successful—plan. But, finally, just last year, after many failed attempts it seemed the Nicaragua canal was within reach…

Chinese billionaire Wang Jing had decided to put the centuries-old plan in to motion, breaking ground in a rural area on the Pacific Coast. Plans for the canal were to be twice as deep as the Panama Canal and three times as long, stretching 170 miles through southern Nicaragua.

Panamanians have yet to be seriously threatened, though. Now, 16 months later, in the same place where Wang Jing had broken ground, grass is growing and cattle are grazing.

Nicaragua’s president has avoided speaking on the topic in months.

So far, it has been unclear whether this was to be a 100% personal investment from Mr. Jing or if the Chinese government was to back the project as well. Either way, the Chinese economy is slowing, and, reportedly, Mr. Jing has lost 80% of his US$10 billion worth.

Once news of his loss became public, all hopes for the Nicaragua Canal had, again, been lost.

Although at first positive about the project, more Nicaraguans (who have now had plenty of time to think of the impact it may have) are protesting any progress.

The canal may create jobs for the country and boost the economy, but the path to get there is unfavorable for those living “in the way.” In Nicaragua, most home-owners do not actually own the land underneath of them. This would be the biggest movement of land in the history of the world. Anything in the path of the canal would not be safe.

Spray-painted messages litter the country reading “Go Away Chinese.” Any photos of the pro-canal president are splattered with black paint.

Most question whether or not the canal would even benefit the country, human rights concerns aside. With the soon-to-open expansions of the Panama Canal, there will be few vessels too big for the passage—the original appeal to the Nicaragua Canal.

Additional concerns involve the volcanoes in the area, endangered species, the reservation of indigenous territory, and the probable contamination—and possible end of all life—in Lake Nicaragua.

It seems, with the lull in progress and lack of updates, the story has gone from being daily front-page news to another (expected) bust.

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