From the print edition
MANAGUA – Nicaragua plans to carve out a $30 billion alternative to the Panama Canal, in what analysts say is a large, financially untenable project, aimed primarily at detracting from crushing poverty.
The proposed Nicaragua Canal “represents the summit of Nicaragua’s historic aspiration of profiting from its geography” to create the continent’s second inter-oceanic shipping route, said presidential adviser Jaime Incer.
The canal was first conceptualized in the early 1800s, but was stalemated by U.S. investors’ concerns about poverty and political instability.
Now, international investors from Japan, China, Russia, Venezuela, Brazil and South Korea have expressed interest in contributing funds, project director Edén Pastora told local television reporters.
The canal would take 10 years to build and would cover more than 200 kilometers across six possible routes, according to a congressional draft bill submitted by President Daniel Ortega’s administration earlier this month.
The shipping route is expected to breathe life into a floundering economy, and the Nicaraguan government plans to conserve 51 percent of shares and tenders in the joint venture.
Since the United States returned the Panama Canal in 1999, the waterway has brought well over $6 billion into that country.
In the 2010-2011 fiscal year alone, the canal raked in $1
Article source: http://www.ticotimes.net/Region/Is-Nicaragua-canal-bid-an-attempt-to-deflect-from-country-s-poverty-_Friday-June-22-2012 posted in Panama Canal