Nicaraguan canal spokesman Telemaco Talavera seems to have inadvertently admitted that the Sandinista government doesn’t know the exact route of a $50 billion canal that will bisect Nicaragua.
During a confrontation with a Nicaraguan student studying abroad in Madrid, Talavera refuted her claim that 60,000 campesinos will be affected by the canal, saying “That means someone has the route more clearly defined than we do.”
Nicaraguan university student Alejandra Espinoza today challenged Talavera about the “enormous concerns” in Nicaragua over unanswered questions about the “social, political, economic and environmental affects” of the $50 billion Chinese canal planned in Nicaragua. In doing so, she presented Talavera with a bundle of papers that she said contained “more than 60,000 signatures of people who will be affected” by the canal. The stack of papers also included copies of the 32 constitutional challenges filed on behalf of 182 Nicaraguans opposed to the canal project.
Talavera answered with thinly veiled indignation, saying that he welcomes Espinoza’s opinion because dissent is welcome in a democracy. But he insisted that the 60,000 number is wrong, unless, of course, someone understands the canal route better than he does. (So far, however, Talavera hasn’t demonstrated that he has an entirely clear grasp on the canal path either).
Talavera said that Espinoza was right that the canal would have a “great social impact” on the country in that it will create jobs and “more resources for education, health and infrastructure.”
He note that 61% of Nicaraguans are in favor of the canal, and insisted — with a slightly reddening face — that the Chinese canal will have a “positive net effect” on the environment.