Home World The new £32 billion mega-canal longer than Suez that could have ended...

The new £32 billion mega-canal longer than Suez that could have ended shipping chaos

The proposed £32 billion Nicaragua Canal, which would have linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, could have ended shipping chaos and blockages at the nearby Panama Canal.

The idea of constructing a canal using the San Juan River as an access route to Lake Nicaragua was first proposed in the colonial era.

However, after acquiring French interests in the Panama Canal in the early 20th century, the US decided against building in Nicaragua, although it did secure rights and conducted studies for such a project.

But in June 2013, Nicaragua’s National Assembly gave the green light to a bill granting a 50-year concession to the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Group (HKND), led by Chinese businessman Wang Jing, to finance and manage the project.

The Government claimed that the canal would help transform global shipping. 

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega said the mega-canal would help boost the economy and provide tens of thousands of jobs for locals. 

But despite being touted as “ground-breaking” in 2014, there has been no work done on the canal, tipped to be one of the world’s biggest civil engineering and construction projects, dwarfing the length of the Suez Canal in Egypt.

It has faced some controversy after activists and scientists voiced concerns over environmental impacts and the negative consequences on locals. 

Critics said it would displace an estimated 120,000 people, mostly rural families, in the countryside. 

Following backlash, Nicaragua this week has cancelled plans to build the controversial canal. 

Thousands of Nicaraguan farmers took to the streets in protest against the government-endorsed project.

In a shocking 2019 ruling, a Nicaraguan judge handed down sentences to three farmers involved in the demonstrations, slapping them with prison terms of 216 years, 210 years, and 159 years.

The trio were charged with instigating a “failed coup” against the state, despite Nicaraguan legislation limiting jail time to a maximum of 30 years. 


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