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ALBA takes lead in global fight against Ebola

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Cuba this week offered to throw the entire weight of its international medical mission at stopping the spread of Ebola and avoiding— in the words of Raul Castro— “a humanitarian crisis of unpredictable consequences.”

Speaking at a summit of left-leaning leaders belonging to the Venezuelan-propped ALBA bloc of Latin American and Caribbean nations, Castro said his government is willing to instruct all 23,158 Cuban doctors deployed around the hemisphere to do “everything in their power” to prevent the spread of the disease and train other medics in detection and response methods. “I am convinced that if this threat is not stopped in West Africa…this could become one of the most serious pandemics in the history of mankind,” the younger Castro brother said at Monday’s emergency summit in Havana. Castro, whose government already deployed a medical brigade to deal with the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, said his government will be dispatching two more medical missions to Liberia and Guinea tomorrow. As part of its international solidarity effort, Cuba currently has more than 4,000 health workers in 32 African nations, according to Castro. “African blood runs through our veins in ‘Our Americas,’” the Cuban leader said. Continue Reading →

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Nicaraguans rise up against Chinese canal

Campesinos march against the canal and expropriations in Nueva Guinea

NUEVA GUINEA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua’s muddy countryside rumbled under the staccato of horse hooves and rubber boots on Tuesday as more than 1,000 campesinos marched through Nueva Guinea to protest the construction of a $50-billion, privately owned Chinese canal that would rival Panama’s interoceanic waterway. Under the banners “Our land is not for sale!” and “Chinaman, go home!” Nicaraguan farmers and cowboys vowed to defend their properties from government expropriation and Chinese encroachment. “I would rather die than hand over my property,” march organizer Francisca Ramirez, 39, told Fusion in a phone interview from Nueva Guinea, 175 miles east of the capital. “The people living in this region are already living in extreme poverty. Where are we supposed to go if the government kicks us off our land?”

Suspicions of Nicaragua’s left-wing Sandinista government have turned to alarm as the country’s perpetual president, Daniel Ortega, hatched a perplexing partnership with enigmatic Chinese businessman Wang Jing in 2013. Continue Reading →

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Historical docs show U.S. always favored Nicaragua over Panama for canal

Proposed canal route from Menocal's day

Long before President Daniel Ortega and Chinese mystery man Wang Jing teamed up to revive Nicaragua’s age-old canal complex, a studious and diligent U.S. Navy engineer named A.G. Menocal was equally determined to connect the Atlantic and Pacific through a trans-isthmian waterway cut across Nicaragua. Menocal knew his history, was familiar with Nicaragua’s terrain, and was an expert topographer. Between 1876-77, the U.S. engineer was in the employ of the Nicaraguan government surveying harbor improvements in Greytown, while carefully mapping the surrounding river basin. He was a student of previous U.S. engineers who had conducted surveys for earlier attempts to build a Nicaraguan canal in the mid 19th century. He particularly admired the work of Col. Continue Reading →

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24 questions for Nicaragua’s government

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While Sandinista authorities huddle to come up with an explanation for Saturday night’s mysterious explosion in Managua, here are 24 other mysteries we’d like clarified:

1) What really happened to the Air Force helicopter that crashed in June, 2013, killing 10 officers? 2) What really happened during the deadly ambush on July 19, 2014? 3) Who killed Yahob and Pablo Negro? 4) Who killed Alexis Arguello? 5) De donde salió Wang Jing? Continue Reading →

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Chinese concessionaires announce Nicaraguan canal route

proposed canal route

(posted July 7, 7:30 pm) — Chinese company HKND today announced the proposed route of it’s 278 kilometer canal across Nicaragua, which will extend from the Río Punta Gorda on the Caribbean Coast to Brito on the Pacific coast. The proposed $50 billion canal, which would cross a 105 KM swath of Lake Cocibolca, would be between 230-250 meters wide and between 26.7-30 meters deep. The megaproject would also include the flooding of a new artificial lake on the Caribbean side, according to the plans. The privately owned and operated project, which promises to create 50,000 jobs during construction and 200,000 permanent jobs afterwards, is scheduled to break ground at the end of this year, although nothing is known about the company’s plans to finance the project — nearly four times greater than Nicaragua’s economy. Continue Reading →

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Experts downplay volcanic threat, warn of more quakes

Momotombo Volcano is behaving itself for the moment

Nicaraguan authorities say “there’s no scientific evidence” of a pending eruption of Momotombo and Apoyeque volcanos despite recent earthquake activity along nearby fault lines. In a report released this afternoon by Nicaragua’s Disaster Response Agency (SINAPRED), a team of national and foreign experts say the current seismic activity “could lead to future scenarios of volcanic activity” north of Managua, but there’s no evidence of an immediate eruption. Scientists say there’s no variation to the water quality in the volcanic craters and nearby wells, no emission of sulfur dioxide, and no change to the structure of volcanos — all good signs. However, the report says, the dramatic increase in seismic activity over the past week is similar to the “hundreds of earthquakes” that proceeded the 1999 eruption of Cerro Negro Volcano in León. The SINAPRED report says the seismic activity between Momotombo and Apoyeque appears to be diminishing, but authorities are not ruling out the possibility of additional aftershocks with magnitudes between 5 and 6 on the Richter Scale. Continue Reading →

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