Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR


Nicaragua Gears Up To Construct the ‘Great Inter-Oceanic Canal’

July 6, 2014 (EIRNS)—The Nicaraguan government is expected to announce this week the precise route chosen for building a trans-isthmus canal, a project more than a century old, connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific through Nicaragua. The project is feasible because it passes through Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. The 286 kilometer-long canal will be wider and deeper than the Panama Canal, thus accommodating today’s giant container ships. The project entails building a deepwater port on each end of the canal, highways, an international airport, and accompanying oil pipelines. The government hopes construction can begin in December of this year, with the canal opening for some smaller shipping by 2019, and reach full completion by 2029.

The canal, combined with the needed extension of the World Landbridge through Central America, can transform the entire region, where today unemployment in some countries runs upwards of 70%, and unspeakably bestial drug gangs rampage. It is the kind of project any sane American should support.

This "Great Inter-Oceanic Canal" is to be built by the private Chinese company, HKND, to which the Nicaragua government granted a 100-year concession in June 2013. China Railway SIYUAN Survey and Design Group is the lead design contractor and in charge of the road subproject design; the Changjiang Institute of Survey, Planning, Design and Research has responsibility for the design of the canal project; CCCC Second Harbor Consultants has responsibility for the design of the ports.

Other players have been brought in. Russian Vice Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov, co-chair of the Russian-Nicaraguan Intergovernmental Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation, announced in May that they are discussing the most appropriate way for Russia to participate in the project, which it supports. And most recently, following his visit to Nicaragua, Belarus Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said on June 30 that Belarus hopes to export BelAZ haul trucks, MAZ trucks and Amkador road construction machinery for this "ambitious and very interesting idea of the construction of a canal between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean," as well as to cooperate in developing Nicaraguan agricultural production.

Regional indigenous and ecological groups are frenetically escalating their campaign against the canal, claiming it will ruin traditional lands, Lake Nicaragua, etc., but they now face an uphill battle. The government will launch a nationwide campaign to explain the benefits the canal will bring the Nicaraguan people starting next week, Telmaco Talavera, head of the National Universities Council (CNU), said on July 3. He reported that plans have been drawn up to send Nicaraguan professionals to Panama and Italy for training, and the university and graduate education programs of the country are being shifted to prepare the workforce that this great project will require. Benjamin Lanzas, President of the Chamber of Construction, siad last week that work will begin on the Pacific port in December, to receive shipments from China of the specialized dredging, excavation, and rock-moving machinery required, since none of that is available in Central America.