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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

chavez trees copia

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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Nicaraguan scientists eye dropping lake levels

Area residents claim the water levels in Lake Managua are dropping — scientists worry it's related to recent seismic activity.

(posted April 16, 9:40 pm) — Nicaraguan first lady and amateur volcanologist Rosario Murillo says scientists are investigating citizen claims that the water level of Lake Managua is dropping and the temperature is rising — a strange phenomenon that some are blaming on recent seismic activity. Lakeside residents claim the water level of Lake Managua has dropped 16 meters and the coastline has withdrawn 500 meters from its previous mark. Temperatures are also notably on the rise, according to citizen reports. In a Wednesday evening statement to her family-run media outlets, Murillo said the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) reports that people have reported the strange water-drop/temperature-increase phenomenon in the lakeside neighborhood of El Marañonal and near KM 17 of Carretera a Xiloa, just north of the capital. There have also been reports of strange fluctuations in water levels at Puerto Salvador Allende. Continue Reading →

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Nicaragua fears the next ‘big one’

Government graphic shows all the earthquakes to hit Managua since last Thursday

(posted April 14, 6:30 am) — The mostly impoverished population living on the northern edge of Managua hustled anxiously back into the darkened streets of the capital Sunday night as another series of earthquakes rippled violently through their disaster-prone city. A 4.4-magnitude quake with an epicenter just 6 Km deep at the Apoyeque Volcano leveled 21 homes and knocked out power lines at 10:12 pm Sunday night. The quake was followed less than an hour later by a stronger 5.6-magnitude tremor, followed by a 4.6-magnitude aftershock just before midnight. Dozens of aftershocks have been reported since then, including 15 quakes registering magnitudes between 3.0- 4.0, according to the government’s monitoring system. Sunday night’s string of earthquakes came on a heels of a government warning that the recent seismic activity has possibly reawakened Momotombo Volcano and reactivated the old “Estadio Nacional” fault line, which caused the disastrous 1972 the earthquake that shook Managua to the ground. Continue Reading →

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