(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.