The $40 Billion Chinese Plan To Build A Waterway Across Nicaragua Sounds Ridiculous
Nicaragua has approved plans for a mysterious Hong Kong-based company to build an estimated $40 billion canal across the middle of the country, Luis Manuel Galeano and Michael Weissenstein of The Associated Press report.
The waterway, which would have to be roughly three times as long as the 50-mile Panama Canal, would be one of the largest infrastructure projects ever.
Nicaragua’s Chinese Canal: Behind the Audacious $40 Billion Bid to Build a Rival Panama Canal
The bill authorizing the concession was presented to Nicaragua’s Congress last week, just ahead of the meeting in California between President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Before arriving in the U.S., Xi had stopped at three countries in Latin America, including Mexico, lavishing the Middle Kingdom’s largesse with new construction contracts, energy deals and trade pacts. China is the fastest-growing investor in Latin America, with its state companies invested in billion-dollar projects across a part of the world that Washington has long seen as its backyard. The increasing size of China’s western-hemispheric footprint recently spurred the Obama Administration into diplomatic action. “The bottom line is that there has been a change in the environment of the Americas,” says Carl Meacham, director of the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Now the U.S. has to compete.”
Nicaragua approves rival to Panama Canal, to be built by Chinese company
The legislation approved Thursday by a 61-28 vote contains no specific route for a canal and virtually no details of its financing or economic viability. It grants the Hong Kong company exclusive rights to plan and build the canal in exchange for Nicaragua receiving a minority share of any eventual profits.
Ortega’s backers say the Chinese will transform one of the region’s poorest countries by turning a centuries-old dream of a Nicaraguan trans-ocean canal into reality, bringing tens of thousands of jobs to the country and fueling an economic boom that would mimic the canal-driven prosperity of nearby Panama.
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