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In Nicaragua, can Chinese move the canal, avoid Rio San Juan, and still play golf?

The Sandinista's canal spokesman says the route is being moved south, but how far south will it go?

Adding a wrinkle of confusion to a mystery shrouded in doubt, a spokesman for the Chinese canal in Nicaragua announced that the route has been redrawn to circumvent a farming community that has been energetically protesting the $50 billion project for months. Nicaraguan canal spokesman Telemaco Talavera announced last weekend that the canal route has been pushed south to sidestep the community of El Tule and the protected San Miguelito wetlands on the eastern shore of Lake Nicaragua. The decision, Talavera said, was made to avoid environmental and social problems associated with the original route. We’ll have to take his word for it, since the original canal route and environmental impact studies were never made public. But instead of assuaging Nicaraguans’ concerns about the megaproject, the offhand nature of the announcement has only heightened fears that Sandinista officials aren’t giving appropriate seriousness of purpose to the so-called “biggest infrastructure project in the history of humanity.”

“Together with all the other anomalies related to this megaproject, now we have this erratic type of communication about the canal,” said Nicaraguan environmental lawyer Monica López Baltodano, who has been active in coordinating many of the 18 protest marches against the canal over the past six months. Continue Reading →

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Wang Jing: there’s ‘no turning back’ on Nicaragua canal

canal wang jing

For a project that’s being billed as the “biggest infrastructure project in the history of humanity,” Monday’s groundbreaking of the great Chinese canal in Nicaragua was a pretty hum-drum affair. First of all, it wasn’t really a canal groundbreaking — just the start of construction on a lonely access road. But mostly, it was an opportunity for Sandinista politicians and Chinese canal planners to put on hardhats and pose next to a dump truck, which is something they promised to do before Christmas. The only real excitement of the day was provided by anti-canal protesters who blocked highways and burned tires in Rivas and Nueva Guinea. The Sandinistas tried to manufacture some excitement of their own by sending identically dressed loyalists into the streets of Managua to wave flags and repeat the first lady’s talking points about God blessing the canal (#DiosBendigaElCanal). Continue Reading →

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Too bad graffiti doesn’t come with spell check

Graf main

The following is a public service announcement from The Nicaragua Dispatch. We know that spelling is hard, and it’s hot outside, but if you’re going to go out tagging the walls of Managua to protest the Chinese canal this week, it’s worth getting your message straight before you shake the spray paint can. Take the following unfortunate incident. 1. Viva Nicagua! Continue Reading →

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Nicaraguan campesinos march against Chinese canal

A 'Guatusa' for the Chinese canal?

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The crowd erupted in wild cheers as the caravan of cattle trucks lumbered into Managua carrying several thousand cowboys to join today’s march against a $50 billion Chinese canal that’s scheduled to break ground on Dec. 22. The caravan from the interior of the countryside took nearly 20 hours to arrive, and was stopped eight times by police roadblocks. Drivers’ licenses were confiscated and several people were arrested. Similar police roadblocks along choke points to the north and south of the capital succeeded in preventing hundreds of other protesters from arriving in the capital. Continue Reading →

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Nicaraguans try to hold the line against Chinese in Latin America

Thousands of Nicaraguans marched against the Chinese canal today in Managua

Editor’s note: this story first appeared on Fusion.net. Read full story here. MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Doña Albalina Espinoza’s cellphone rattled with the incoming warning call at 2:30 p.m: “The Chinese are coming!” the voice hissed. Espinoza quickly hung up, then dialed the next number on the list: “The Chinese are coming!” she repeated. Within minutes, all 150 families in the lakeside village of Obrajuelo had been alerted to the interlopers’ presence. Continue Reading →

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Residents, tourists fail to save beached whale

Beached whale on Popoyo

(Posted Nov 15, 12:00) — Residents and tourists working together were unable to save a beached blue whale on Popoyo Beach, which was discovered on Friday morning. Video by Xiomara Diaz. The female whale was an estimated 18 meters long. Dozens of Nicaraguans and foreigners worked throughout the day, evening and into this morning trying to save the whale, but they were unable to push it back to deeper water. Continue Reading →

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Nicaragua’s comptroller general dies

Arguello

Updated (Nov 15, 2014) – Former Comptroller General Guillermo Argüello Poessy died this morning in Managua, after months of battling illness related to diabetes. He was 73. Below is an interview he did with The Nicaragua Dispatch in June, 2012, where he talked about how difficult the war on corruption has become in Nicaragua.  

(The following interview was originally Published June 27, 2012, under the headline: Does Corruption Get a Free Pass in Nicaragua?) —

Guillermo Argüello Poessy might have the toughest job in Nicaragua. With an insufficient budget and an inadequate staff, the Comptroller General is charged with the daunting task of assuring transparency and accountability in a government that isn’t too keen on either. Continue Reading →

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Ernesto Cardenal: the canal will divide Nicaragua like 2 Germanies, 2 Koreas

Ernesto Cardenal thinks the  Chinese Canal will be one of the biggest disasters in Nicaragua's disaster-prone history

We need to denounce to the world what is happening in Nicaragua. President Daniel Ortega exercising the absolute power that he and his wife have over the country, made the National Congress approve in only one day the creation of a law to build an Interoceanic Canal. This law was not consulted at all with the population. The next day, it was approved and a concession was issued at a dizzying speed, even though this will affect Nicaragua for the next 100 years and the concession was give to a Chinese man named Wang Jing who at the time was unknown. The concession just gives Wang Jing rights but doesn’t impose any obligations on him. Continue Reading →

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More Nicaraguans join anti-canal marches

Marches against the canal are growing in strength

Thousands of Nicaraguan campesinos marched on Puerto Principe, Nueva Guinea, on Monday in the 10th march organized against the Sandinistas government’s $50 billion Chinese canal project. On foot and on horseback, campesinos road through the Caribbean jungle town carrying blue-and-white Nicaraguan flags following a truck with blaring speakers that vowed to defend ancestral land from government expropriation. “What do the campesinos want?” ”For the Chinese to leave!” echoed the call-and-response. “What do the farmers want?” Continue Reading →

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