Thursday, November 24, 2016

"The biggest unanswered question is the extent to which the Chinese government is supporting the [Nicaragua Canal] project"

Conceived by the government of Daniel Ortega, pushed through parliament in 2014 with almost no debate and backed by HKND, a mysterious Chinese company, the proposed $50bn waterway was envisaged as a superior rival to the Panama Canal. Designers say the biggest earth-moving operation in history will clear a 178-mile long, 30-metre wide channel so that even the world’s largest ships can pass through the isthmus between the Pacific and the Atlantic.


“The last time the Chinese came was two years ago when some people here threw stones at their car and broke a window. Since then, nothing’s happened,” said Elizabeth del Carmen, a resident of Obrajuelo, which is where the canal is supposed to enter the western side of Lake Nicaragua.


Wang Jing, the Chinese telecoms tycoon behind the project, lost about 85% of his fortune in a stock market crash, and has not visited Nicaragua for a year, fuelling suspicions that the project may be dead.