Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Thousands march to protest Nicaragua’s ambitious canal project

December 10, 2014

“No to the canal,” “Get out, Chinese,” and “Ortega, sell out,” a chorus of demonstrators shouted Wednesday as thousands took to the streets of Managua to protest the construction of a mega-canal that threatens to expropriate land from small holders and damage Lake Cocibolca, the largest freshwater lake in Central America.

Demonstrators traveled to the Nicaraguan capital from across the country to denounce the $50 billion project as an environmental disaster and a loss of sovereignty to HK Nicaragua Development, the Chinese corporation running the Great Inter-Oceanic Canal project, which was granted rights over the canal for up to 100 years by President Daniel Ortega in 2013.

The 278-kilometer (172 mile) waterway is set to begin construction in Dec. 22, traveling from the mouth of the Brito river on the Pacific Coast, across Lake Cocibolca, and on to the Caribbean.

Marchers presented 60,000 signatures to Vilma Núñez, head of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, in hopes of drawing international attention to their concerns, the newspaper La Prensa reported.

The canal could have an impact on an estimated 30,000 people living in communities along the proposed route.

“We don’t want them to come and stomp all over our land and our rights. How are these families going to survive? How are you going to survive in the city if we can’t produce the food for people to eat?” asked Porfirio García, from the Caribbean town of Nueva Guinea.

La Prensa and news magazine Confidencial reported that many organizers were unable to reach the protest in Managua because of police blockades. In the town of Rivas, where previous demonstrations against the canal flared earlier this year, protesters clashed with police and set fires on the road. Inhabitants of El Tule, Río San Juan reported that police blocked streets there as well.

Fernando Borge, spokesperson for the National Police, told Confidencial that he was unaware of any police obstructing egress from neighborhoods.

President Daniel Ortega has said the project will create enough work to help alleviate the poverty that affects more than half the population of this Central American country, one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. But environmentalists are worried, in particular about the effects of ship traffic on a lake that is along the path of the planned canal.

Related: Nicaragua canal survey off to rocky start marked by fear and mistrust

You may be interested

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Sunday, August 2
Costa Rica
21723 views
Costa Rica
21723 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Sunday, August 2

Alejandro Zúñiga - August 2, 2020

Costa Rica announced eight new coronavirus-related deaths over the past day for a total of 162, according to official data…

Costa Rica celebrates Virgen de los Ángeles Day
Costa Rica
2646 views
Costa Rica
2646 views

Costa Rica celebrates Virgen de los Ángeles Day

The Tico Times - August 2, 2020

Costa Rica celebrates  Día de la Virgen de los Ángeles annually on August 2. The day honors Costa Rica's patron saint,…

Slothy Sunday: Meet Lola, the sloth that traveled 65 km in a truck engine
Sloth Sundays
1254 views
Sloth Sundays
1254 views

Slothy Sunday: Meet Lola, the sloth that traveled 65 km in a truck engine

Zara Palmer / Toucan Rescue Ranch - August 2, 2020

[caption id="attachment_136567" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Photo via Toucan Rescue Ranch.[/caption] Everyone meet Lola la Trailera. She is an adult two-fingered sloth…