Ortega peddles canal to ALBA

(posted Feb. 6, 7:00 a.m.)-President Daniel Ortega’s renewed enthusiasm for the long-frustrated Nicaraguan Canal project was on display again last weekend in Caracas, when he asked the member countries of the Venezuelan-propped Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) for backing.

The canal pitch at the XI Summit of ALBA makes the second time in two weeks Nicaragua has peddled the old canal project, which it also shopped to Russia in January.

In his speech at ALBA summit on Feb. 4, Ortega tried to drum up support for the canal project by invoking the spirits of Gen. Augusto Sandino and Simón Bolívar, and also by making the argument that it makes good economic sense.

Ortega read from a letter written by Sandino in 1929 that alluded to the Nicaraguan Canal and the “realization of the Supreme Dream of Bolívar,” and then he explained why the project makes sense from a capitalist perspective as well.

“Even though they are expanding the Canal in Panama, it will not fill the demand for international maritime transit…It won’t fill it!” Ortega said. “That’s to say that even in these conditions there will be a lineup…they will have to make a line…In Panama they make a line, and it costs millions. A line of boats! A line of boats!”

Ortega argued that the canal is viable and needs the backing and participation of all Latin American and Caribbean countries.

“Also, logically, we are looking for investment from countries like China, Brazil, which we have shared this project with on various occasions,” Ortega said.

The Nicaraguan president said the canal project, as well as the deep-water port project at Monkey Point, is still alive and that he hopes to involve ALBA in both.

  • Andres

    Have there been any feasibility and economic studies done on a dry canal? If so, have they been published? There still is no funding for a deepwater port on the Caribbean. What is the needed investment for a national infrastructure project like this?

  • Pedro Arauz

    Nothing but cheap talk: coming from Ortega is business as usual….

    • http://no Don Chele

      Such a project needs backing from all those that are interested. It’s mega project that will benefit Nicaragua and all it’s stakeholders. ALBA can play an important role in all of this. It will be complementary to the Panama Canal and on top of that more cost effective for the transportation companies. It is a smart move for the future of Nicaragua and Ortega wants to move it forward. Making it a dry canal is the way to go.

  • GringoLoco

    “A line of boats! A line of boats”… maybe they need to adjust Dear Leader’s meds again?

  • Jaime Silva

    Former Chief Economist of BCIE (central american bank) Pablo Rodas, said that this project is misconceived and reckless and whoever dares to execute it will have to put their own money up-front

  • http://www.islandimmigration.ca Frank Driscoll

    Hi Tim
    I remember you from the TT seems like forever.
    I’d be curious to see the science on that canal.
    The management model is the St Lawrence Seaway along the border between Canada & USA.
    The seaway is operated by a joint commission & has paid high dividends to both countries over the years.