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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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Nicaragua on alert as tsunami danger passes

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(posted Oct 14, 6:15 am)— Nicaraguan emergency-response workers have activated contingency plans to evaluate damage and assess continued risk to lives and properties along the Pacific coast following a strong 7.3-magnitude earthquake and 17 aftershocks over the past 12 hours. Public school classes have been suspended for the day and authorities are calling for calm after a shaky evening. So far there are no serious injuries or deaths reported. There are reports are minor damages to a dozen homes in the affected area. The first quake occurred 67 Km off the coast of Chinandega, at a depth of 22 KM. Continue Reading →

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BREAKING: Normal seas reported following 7.3-quake

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(updated 11:50 a.m.) —Nicaragua has been placed on “yellow alert” for a tsunami on the Pacific coast following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake at 9:50 p.m. off the coast of Chinandega. First Lady Rosario Murillo said that the government has activated its system of disaster prevention, but so far there are no reports of “abnormal waves” or high seas on the Pacific coast. As a preventive measure, school has been canceled all along the Pacific coast for Tuesday. Murillo said the government is investigating reports of damaged homes in León. There are still no reports of injuries or deaths in Nicaragua. 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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Nicaraguan police nab 8 more in massacre

The suspects

Nicaragua’s National Police have captured eight men — one allegedly with ties to the Mexican drug cartel known as “Los Zetas” — who will face charges of authoring and executing the July 19 attack on a Sandinista caravan, which killed five people and injured 24 others. Police Chief Aminta Granera called a press conference Thursday afternoon in Managua to present the eight men to the press. The men, handcuffed and dressed identically in gray t-shirts and blue pants, were paraded out by masked police officers. A ninth suspect remains at large, according to police. Granera was quick to dismiss suspicions that the suspects belonged to a rearmed contra group, despite the apparently political nature of the attack. Continue Reading →

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US extends property waiver for Nicaragua

US Embassy in Managua

The U.S. government today announced another one-year extension of its annual “property waiver” for Nicaragua, granting the Sandinista government access to U.S. bilateral aid and support for multilateral funding for another year. The waiver, granted to Nicaragua every year since 1995, was renewed as a reward for Nicaragua’s continued efforts to resolve pending property claims from U.S. citizens whose properties were confiscated by the Sandinista government in the 1980s. Cases are “resolved” when the original owner get his or her land back or is indemnified by the Nicaraguan government, according to the U.S.

The Sandinista government resolved an additional 52 property cases from 28 claimants during the last waiver cycle, from July 2013 to July 2014. An additional 154 property claims — including some of the most complicated cases filed— remain pending, according to the U.S. government. Over the past 19 years, Nicaragua has forked over nearly $1.28 billion in compensations to thousands of U.S. and Nicaraguan citizens whose properties were confiscated by Sandinistas in the 1980

The U.S. government used to grant Nicaragua two waivers each year, one for budget transparency and the other for property confiscations. Continue Reading →

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