The Heat discusses impact of Nicaragua’s grand canal project

The Heat

The construction of the Grand Canal of Nicaragua, which will link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, has been called the largest infrastructure project in the world. The massive project, which has the potential to transform the economy of one of the poorest nations in the Americas, is being built by a Chinese consortium, the Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Group for $50 billion. CCTV’s Franc Contreras reported from Nicaragua.

When completed, the canal will measure 30 meters (98 feet) deep and will stretch for more than 286 kilometers (178 miles). That’s twice as deep as the Panama Canal and more than double the width of the U.S. state of New Jersey. But environmentalists are concerned that such a large project will harm the country’s natural ecosystem. For example, the project will run right past Lake Nicaragua, the region’s largest body of fresh water.

“Only one percent of Lake Nicaragua will be affected by the project and the dredging will be by suction and the decision has been made that there will be absolutely no explosives on Lake Nicaragua. So the environmental concerns are being addressed there as well,” Paul Oquist, a spokesman for Nicaragua’s president said.

Others are concerned about relocating 28,000 people to make way for the canal.

The government continues to highlight the benefits of the project, that the nation’s economy will double, and 200,000 jobs would be created.

The Heat discusses impact of Nicaragua\'s grand canal project

The construction of the Grand Canal of Nicaragua, which will link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, has been called the largest infrastructure project in the world. The massive project, which has the potential to transform the economy of one of the poorest nations in the Americas, is being built by a Chinese consortium, the Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Group for $50 billion. CCTV's Franc Contreras reported from Nicaragua.

The Heat interviewed experts on the Latin American infrastructure projects:

* Benjamin Lanzas, the general manager and owner of a leading construction company in Nicaragua and the president of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Construction.

* Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society and an expert on U.S. foreign and trade policy.

Benjamin Lanzas, Eric Farnsworth discuss grand canal project in Nicaragua

The Heat interviewed experts on the Latin American infrastructure projects.

To build the canal, Nicaragua turned to a Hong Kong firm run by Chairman and CEO Wang Jing, who is also the Chairman and CEO of China’s Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group. The Heat interviewed Jia Xiudong, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies about the Chinese company’s work on the canal.

Jia Xiudong of China Instit. of Int\'l Studies discusses Nicaragua\'s grand canal

To build the canal, Nicaragua turned to a Hong Kong firm run by Chairman and CEO Wang Jing, who is also the Chairman and CEO of China's Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group. The Heat interviewed Jia Xiudong, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies about the Chinese company's work on the canal.