By: Abby Belongy
The Nicaraguan people are arguing that the construction of a major canal compromises the nation’s sovereignty. A Chinese company requested permission from the Sandinista-led government to construct a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Nicaraguan canal would rival the Panama Canal in theory, though it is projected to be four times as large. In June of 2013, the Supreme Court took a mere two days to approve the $40 billion project.
Citizens range from skeptical to outraged at the prospect of a canal spanning the country. One reason for this is a distrust of the Chinese firm and its owner, Wang Jing. Hardly anyone has heard of the company before and therefore do not believe it is credible. The same goes for Jing, as many question where he came from and how he got his money. Jing also said the route was finalized, whereas the government says six possibilities are still being researched (see photo above). Additionally, the canal could destroy fresh water and other natural resources that Nicaragua relies on or will need for the future.
The biggest problem, however, is the issue of sovereignty. It is extremely interesting that the Nicaraguan government approved this deal so quickly when it would relinquish ownership and control of the canal to Wang Jing for at least 50 years. Nicaraguans certainly do not want any part of their nation to be controlled by an outside force, but the Sandinistas, for some reason, seem to support the controversial idea. They even went so far as to remove from office the sole politician who opposed the law. To show their disproval, a political group has come forward and filed a challenge to the Supreme Court, so we’ll have to wait and see how the government responds to its people.