TIME Nicaragua

Nicaragua Breaks Ground on New Inter-Ocean Canal Project

HKND Group Chairman Wang Jing speaks during the start of the first works of the Interoceanic Grand Canal in Brito town
Oswaldo Rivas—Reuters HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd Chairman Wang Jing speaks during the start of the first works of the Interoceanic Grand Canal in Brito town Dec. 22, 2014

But faced with fierce protests, authorities held the groundbreaking ceremony in the national capital Managua, some 75 miles from the construction site

Nicaragua started construction of a new $50 billion canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans on Monday, despite local concerns about environmental degradation, land grabs and related human rights abuses.

The 170-mile (280 k.m.) Grand Canal of Nicaragua, as it has been dubbed, will be wider and deeper than the storied Panama Canal, to which the new waterway intends to be a direct competitor.

“With this great canal, Nicaragua expects to move 5% of the world’s commerce that moves by sea, which will bring great economic benefits and double the GDP,” said Nicaragua’s Vice-President Omar Halleslevens, reports the BBC.

But while authorities in the impoverished Central American nation see the shipping route as key to future prosperity, critics say farmlands will be decimated and much of the cash earned will not trickle down to those most in need.

TIME Nicaragua

Thousands Protest Nicaragua Canal Project Over Land-Grab Fears

Demonstrators hold a banner during a march to protest against the construction of the Interoceanic Grand Canal in Managua
Oswaldo Rivas—Reuters Demonstrators hold a banner during a march to protest against the construction of the Interoceanic Grand Canal on Dec. 10, 2014, in Managua, Nicaragua

Entire villages will have to be moved for the new waterway

Thousands of flag-waving demonstrators marched through the Nicaraguan capital Managua on Wednesday to protest a $50 billion canal project set to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as a direct rival to the iconic Panama Canal.

Officials vow the 173-mile construction will have minimal impact on the environment and bring more than 50,000 jobs, but local people fear that entire villages will have to be forcibly displaced as a consequence, reports the Associated Press.

“Your lands belong to you,” Vilma Núñez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, told the crowd.

Protesters marched to the city’s U.N. offices to demand transparency and adequate compensation for those displaced. Groundbreaking is slated for Dec. 22.


TIME Nicaragua

Construction Will Begin on Nicaragua’s $50 Billion Canal in December

The project is mostly funded by China

Nicaraguan government officials say the country will begin construction on a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in late December.

The $50 billion project will cut 173 miles through the country, much of it through Lake Nicaragua, the largest fresh water source in Central America. By contrast, the Panama Canal is only 48 miles long.

Opponents of the project include environmentalists who say the canal will wreak havoc on sensitive areas, as well as farmers whose land will be affected.

Government officials say the project could double the country’s GDP.

[The Guardian]

TIME central america

Powerful Earthquake Rocks Central America

One fatality but no major damage reported

A shallow 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of El Salvador and Nicaragua late Monday, killing one and sending tremors across Central America.

No major damage has been reported and an initial tsunami alert was retracted, Reuters reports. One man was killed by a falling electricity post, according to the mayor of the El Salvadorean city of San Miguel.

The quake happened at a 40-km depth, with the epicenter located 67 km west-southwest of Jiquilillo in Nicaragua and 174 km southeast of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, the U.S. Geological Survey says.


TIME Nicaragua

Nicaragua on Red Alert as Aftershocks Follow 6.1 Magnitude Quake

An earthquake earlier Friday injured 200 and was linked to one death.

The president of Nicaragua issued the country’s highest earthquake alert level Friday as ongoing aftershocks rock the area after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the country earlier in the day, the Associated Press reports.

The alert forced some schools to close and 155 people in at-risk areas to be evacuated.

The government said 200 people were injured and one 23-year-old woman died of a heart attack after the initial earthquake. It also said 800 homes were damaged in the town of Nagarote, about 30 miles northwest of the capital, Managua.


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