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Is Nicaragua’s ‘Great Canal’ Project Dead and Buried?

LADB Article ID: 80303
Category/Department: Nicaragua
Date: 2017-05-25
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

Two-and-a-half years after developers “broke ground” on an ocean-to-ocean canal project that promised to create tens of thousands of jobs and double Nicaragua’s annual growth figures, the multi-billion-dollar venture has yet to get off the ground, recent reports suggest. Officially, the so-called “Gran Canal de Nicaragua” (Great Nicaraguan Canal) is still a go. Neither the government of President Daniel Ortega nor its Chinese partner in the project, an untested construction firm called Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Group (HKND Group), has said otherwise. And yet, there’s no evidence that the project has advanced in any meaningful way since its launch in late 2014, when HKND Group’s chairman, Chinese telecom mogul Wang Jing, traveled to Nicaragua for a confetti-covered kickoff event. Inter-Press Service reporter José Adán Silva traveled to both of the canal’s projected end-points and saw nothing to suggest that work is underway. There is no machinery, he noted. No construction workers. No HKND Group offices. Wang himself hasn’t been back to Nicaragua since his December 2014 visit.

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