The monstrosity of the Canal
By: Ernesto Cardenal
We need to expose to the world what is happening in Nicaragua.
President Daniel Ortega, with the all-embracing power that he and his wife have in this country, had the National Congress create and approve (in one day) a law for the construction of the Interoceanic Canal. The people were not consulted at all about this law. The day after the law was passed, a concession was granted with dizzying speed, although it will affect Nicaragua for over one hundred years. The award was made to a previously unknown Chinese named Wang Jing. The award only grants rights to Wang Jing but does not impose any obligations.
The grant was made without any previous study, as President Ortega himself has said.
The grant requires that all information about the construction of the Canal will remain confidential.
The grant, which was made without any bidding, includes an airport, two ports, a railway and two free trade zones.
National territory has been given so that these works can be carried out where Wang Jing wants and he will have all the permissions to make whatever decisions that may be required. He will have complete license, permit or authorization that he will ever need.
The State of Nicaragua will not receive a single penny in taxes or charges for any of the works.
Under the agreement the Chinese company signed, they are beyond national law, free of responsibility for any administrative, civil or criminal liability or penalty, even if they default on their obligations.
The law is contradictory to many aspects of our Constitution.
It also contradicts other projects that might be more profitable in the long term than cutting apart in two the tourist corridor of the Pacific.
The famed Humboldt Center has stated that the construction of this canal and its Project Partners are the biggest threat to environmental conditions in the country’s history. They also claimed that this concession exempts all Project Partners from compliance with environmental legislation which may be exposing the country to irreversible ecological destruction.
The State of Nicaragua would receive one percent of the shares each year, and in one hundred years would have one hundred percent of the shares.
With every passing ship, a huge amount of fresh water would go to the sea.
The Great Lake of Nicaragua will only have one utility: navigation. We cannot produce food through irrigation, we can only see boats passing by.
Nor can we drink water from the lake. We must also take into account that many people live by fishing in the lake and now they will not have that as an option.
All our water, surface and underground will be given to a Chinese man.
To the owners of the land that will be expropriated by this Chinese man will pay a price for the land at the land registry (i.e. tax declaration) value and not market value.
36 cities would be affected by the loss of the lake, as well as many smaller towns.
The Isletas of Granada will disappear because he locks will raise the lake level by two meters.
This nightmare scenario is what President Daniel Ortega calls the “Promised Land.”
Many experts say that Nicaragua would earn more by selling potable drinking water than from the income of a canal that won’t be ours for a hundred years.
With this Canal, the country will be divided into two, the Nicaragua North and South, as there were two Germanys and as there are two Koreas. There will be two distinct populations of animals (except those that can fly) that will be different over time. which will hurt our biodiversity.
Solentiname has been declared a national monument, but without the lake there will be no more Solentiname. Someone from over there said: “I’ll be eating a lot of fish, afterwards there will be no more because all the fish will be canned by the Chinese.”
With this Canal, Lake Nicaragua, which for us is a great blessing of God, will become a curse.
Doing away with Lake Nicaragua would be the greatest crime in the history of our country, and Ortega would become a more abominable figure than William Walker$.
Very clear and direct words from a great Nicaraguan poet and writer, Ernesto Cardenal. I hadn’t thought about the idea that the isletas will basically disappear with a rise in the lake levels of 6 feet, but it makes sense.