Nicaragua cancels Chinese plan for controversial canal 10 years on

Last Updated: June 18, 2024By

Nicaragua Says No to Chinese Canal Plan

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A whole bunch of years later after they said they’d make this wild canal to hook up the Atlantic and the Pacific, Nicaragua’s like, “Nah” and scraps the deal they made with this Chinese dude to finish it. People were all up in arms about it ’cause they figured it would wreck nature and kick folks out of their homes.

Back in 2014, they had this big ceremony where they pretended to start work on the canal that was supposed to link up Nicaragua’s two coasts. But guess what? They didn’t do squat. They started building some roads near where the canal was supposed to be, but they never got around to digging the darn thing.

Loads of Nicaraguan farmers weren’t having it. They were mad about the government taking their land for this project nobody asked for.

Then in 2019, a judge in Nicaragua threw the book at three leaders of the farmers’ protests. These poor souls got slammed with sentences like 216 years, 210 years, and 159 years in the slammer. They said these folks were trying to pull off a “failed coup” against the government. But even in Nicaragua, you can’t actually serve more than 30 years in prison.

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This whole idea of building a $50 billion canal stretching 172 miles across Nicaragua started off as a joke, but then it got real serious. People started seeing it as a symbol of how crazy President Daniel Ortega’s rule was getting.

Ortega’s crew said the canal would bring in tons of jobs and pump up the economy. But others said, “Hold up!” They pointed out that it would mess up the environment big time, kick families out of their homes, and cost way too much money.

The plan got folks so riled up that it was one of the things that sparked those big protests in 2018 against Ortega’s government. And let me tell you, those protests didn’t end well. The authorities came down hard on the demonstrators.

If they’d gone ahead with the canal, it would’ve cut right through Lake Nicaragua, the biggest lake in Central America. It would’ve also kicked out about 120,000 people, including folks from Rama and Creole communities who live in protected areas on the Caribbean coast.

This canal would’ve been massive, way bigger than the Panama Canal. And get this, it would’ve bulldozed right through the country’s most important source of fresh water and destroyed protected areas where 22 endangered species call home.

The whole deal was handed over to this company from Hong Kong called HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company, which was owned by that Chinese guy, Wang Jing. But people were saying they rushed through all the paperwork without really talking to anyone or looking into how it would affect the environment.

Before he got the green light for the canal, Wang wasn’t in the business of building stuff like this. He made his cash in telecoms. But then he hit a rough patch when China’s stock market took a nosedive in 2015, and he lost most of his dough, like 85% of it. Tough break, huh?

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