China to Build Panama Canal Bypass Through Nicaragua

Great Inter-Oceanic Nicaragua Waterway CanalOne of the most extraordinary stories of the past decade largely overlooked by the U.S. media is how Central and Latin America have quietly escaped the U.S. control since 9-11, as Washington focused on its global War on Terror (WoT). WoT diverted Washington’s attention long enough that progressive governments established themselves throughout southern Western hemisphere, Venezuela through Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, were far less inclined than previous administrations to listen to advice from their giant “el Norte” neighbor. Crucial element in this process has been Central and Latin America expanding their trading opportunities with the states frowned upon by Washington, from Iran to China. Now, in the latest sign that Washington’s sway over the region is diminishing still further, Nicaragua has announced that it will soon begin construction of a canal to compete directly with the Panama Canal further south, to be financed by China. As with the Three Gorges Dam, Beijing is not thinking small, as the proposed canal could take 11 years to build, cost $40 billion and require digging roughly 130 miles of channel. The Panama Canal, in contrast, is 48 miles long. The ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, which has 63 of the 92 Parliamentary seats, has introduced legislation to award the project to HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd. It is an extraordinary proposal for the Central America’s poorest nation, which does not even yet have highway connecting its Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega hope to gain a final approval by 14 June. Planning for the project began in July 2012, when Nicaraguan government announced the approval of a law for the construction of “Great Inter-Oceanic Nicaragua Waterway Canal,” passing legislation that authorized the government to create a company whose state share would be 51%, while the remaining 49% would be acquired by a strategic partner. Daniel Ortega presidential adviser Paul Osquit, said that it was a project intended to send “a clear signal to the countries of the world” interested in investing in the mega project, which included Venezuela, Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia. Notice that the U.S. is pointedly not on the list. It will not be an insignificant undertaking, as the canal’s proposed locks will require 1.7 billion gallons of water per day, given that the channel will be 200 feet deep in places. Furthermore, Nicaragua’s canal would have to be more than three times longer than The Panama Canal. A major advantage of the route however is that the massive Lake Nicaragua is separated from the Pacific only by a thin strip of land; accordingly, large oceangoing freighters could travel about 50 miles on Lake Nicaragua’s waters before going through a pair of locks, and into a waterway dug across the waist of the country to the Atlantic coast lowlands. Nicaraguan advocates say the channel is needed, arguing that inter-oceanic maritime freight traffic demand will outstrip the capacity of even the expanded Panama Canal by more than 300 percent within 123 years, and the canal’s construction create 40.000 construction jobs. Better yet, is could double the per-capita GDP (…..)


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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