Nicaraguan president promises end to poverty in canal project

Americas Now

The Grand Canal has been Nicaragua’s dream since the 19th century and now could potentially double the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Nicaragua’s president said the building of the canal, one of the biggest engineering projects in the world, will lift the country out of poverty.

From the Spanish Conquistadors to the founding fathers of Nicaragua, it’s been a long-held aspiration to build an inter-oceanic canal in Nicaragua.

Ninety percent of all world goods travel to their markets by sea. So companies and nations are always seeking to reduce transportation costs and shorten shipping distances. That is why the Suez Canal and Panama Canal are considered to be among the world’s most important feats of engineering.

For Nicaragua, the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914 shattered its dream of building a canal. But almost a century later, President Daniel Ortega proposed building a massive, rival canal. He promises it will deliver economic independence, prosperity, and even happiness to his fellow countrymen.

READ MORE: 5 things you need to know about Nicaragua Canal

Nicaraguan president promises end to poverty in canal project

Nicaraguan president promises end to poverty in canal project

The Grand Canal has been Nicaragua’s dream since the 19th century and now could potentially double the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Nicaragua’s president said the building of the canal, one of the biggest engineering projects in the world, will lift the country out of poverty.

Once completed, the Grand Canal of Nicaragua would connect the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans with the Pacific, and allow the world’s largest ships to pass through.

The project, backed by a Chinese tycoon and Chinese resources, has had its fair share of critics. Some even call it a “phantom project.” It will also displace many Nicaraguans living in indigenous communities.

CCTV America correspondent Franc Contreras traveled to remote parts of Nicaragua to discuss the expectations and fears surrounding the Grand Canal, with local residents and government officials.

Just 100 miles to the South of Nicaragua, construction is also underway on another canal project, the expansion of the Panama Canal. The extension should be finished by 2016, and will double the Panama Canal’s current capacity, handling 6 percent of all international commerce.

  • Kevin

    Tell the truth. The country’s seismic activity makes the canal impossible to build.

  • itaia

    A really sleazy article by Contreras whose previous article about the canal was fair and balanced. Surprising because he works for China TV. Both the current elected government in which the Sandinista Ortega is the president, as well as the previous elected government in which the liberal party’s Enrique Bolonas was president 2002-2007, want the canal. An estimated 7,000 families would be compensated and relocated, but none or very few are in “indigenous communities” (although in similar cases – suddenly people declared themselves as “indigenous” – often in contrast to obvious their appearance.) The distance between the canal in Nicaragua and in Panama certainly is more then 100 miles. There is Costa Rica between both nations. Get you act together Contreras!