MANAGUA – A project to construct a mega-canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean through Nicaragua, which has been delegated to a Chinese company, will go ahead although several environmental considerations remain pending, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega told EFE in an interview on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.
Ortega said the construction company in charge of the plans to carve a waterway through Nicaragua has submitted an initial study of the project to the Environmental Commission but it required several modifications.
“When the project was reviewed, there were several observations regarding the route and it was decided there would need to be some modifications because it would have an ecological impact on some areas,” the president said.
The canal project would only go ahead once a plan was submitted demonstrating how the work could be carried out with minimal impact on the environment, he added.
Ortega declined to give an estimated date for work to begin on the canal, but said: “it has the support of the majority of the nation, although there is always a section of society who question it, most of all those groups who are causing harm to our country, who have also closed ranks against the project.”
He said the trade route would regenerate areas of Nicaragua affected by fires or deforestation and raise the country up from being the second most impoverished nation in Latin America.
Ortega has been facing growing protests in parts of the country, which began on April 18 in opposition to social security reforms.
According to the government, 195 people have died in clashes with security forces but human rights groups tally the number of fatalities at around 400.
Sources: LAHT; EFE