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El Nuevo Diario (Nicaragua): There Goes the Canal 2017-3-17 13:29

By: Ricardo Coronel Pichardo (Nicaraguan agroforestry engineer)

The only thing Nicaragua has that the world needs is the possibility of the interoceanic canal. Today, our exports do not have an impact on the global need. If they disappear, practically nobody out there would notice. We do not export anything exclusive. What we export allows us to live as we live. By maximizing exports, we would probably live better (like Costa Rica?), but if these disappeared, they would not leave a mark either.

A canal would be something exclusive of our country that the world would need. Its economic success would be guaranteed and we would live much better (like Panama?). That being the case, if our offer to the world disappeared, it would make an impact, which is the same as if the Panama Canal disappeared nowadays.

President Ortega leads the most serious attempt to build it in our history. When he made the announcement, the debate began. And as someone told me once: "there are all the arguments for building it and all the arguments for not building it." With regard to these, the decision is made based on one simple fact: does the world needs it or not? If it does not need it, it will not be built. If it needs it, it will be built.

Most Nicaraguans want the arguments in favor of the canal to prevail, and the mega-project to materialize.

In relation to the opposing minority, some people —evilly— manipulate the arguments so that it will not be built. For example:" The Lake (Nicaragua) and the environment will be destroyed!" Nothing could be further from the truth. The canal would be the only thing that can reverse the —for the moment unstoppable— deterioration of the Lake and the environment of the country. The technology obtained with the resources generated during the construction and operation of the canal, in addition to the need to guarantee its main component (water), will guarantee the environmental balance. Today the Panama Canal watershed is one of the most pristine and best protected watersheds at the global level. — “Our sovereignty is being violated.” Unbelievable! It is said by those who live asking for foreign intervention in the country (OAS, NicaAct). Have those people using that argument read the canal law correctly? The canal gave Panamanians nothing less than one of the richest and most sovereign countries in the region.

— “They will confiscate (the properties of) the peasants.” False! They are going to be well paid. The law refers to the cadastral value, because the State has been careful in case someone wants to get paid for their properties as if these were in the center of Manhattan. They believe that this is the issue that can be most easily manipulated because the majority of people with land on the canal route are peasants and therefore they are "easy to manipulate".

¡Great mistake! They will make these manipulators pay for it, among these, a lady who claims to be their leader and who, because she owns vans and trucks, looks more like a merchant than a peasant. They will also make the intelligent and prepared young women (Sandinista Renovation Movement?) pay for it, who, unusually, are championing the anti-canal cause, contrary to what should be of their most natural interest, i.e. a better future. I would like to tell the peasants that, if we had a canal, at least this would subsidize the prices of the food that today you subsidize with your sweat and poverty. And to the opponents, make an intelligent opposition to the "regime", and not a clumsy opposition to the canal. — "It's going to be built by a Chinese!" Sin! Given that the concessionaire is an easterner, they despise him. If he were a northwesterner, they would flatter him. It is irrelevant who the concessionaire is as long as the canal will be built. And those who make it have the right, in short, to decide the way and how is done. If you do not agree, do it yourself.

About Ortega let me tell you that his courage is the second vital argument to make the canal. It takes courage, as president, to revive in the Nicaraguans the expectations of the materialization of our historical mega-project of well-being, and to undertake the work. And he also has the courage to, in case the world does not need it, tell the people: "Here ends our dream of the canal." Because if it is not built now, it will never happen. A century has passed since the last worthy attempt and still it has not been built, and if we waste time until we try again, it will be late; the shipping technology may no longer need canals (New Zeppelins?). In the meantime, how is the canal going? Commander-President Daniel Ortega leads it. Be patient. He will tell us.


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