Officially opening in 1914, the Panama Canal connected the Atlantic and Pacific creating a short-cut for ships. It was the biggest infrastructure project of its time. But originally the United States wanted to build the canal in Nicaragua. The plans shifted largely after French engineer Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla convinced U.S. lawmakers otherwise.
Well now the Nicaragua canal plans are back on the table. Nicaragua plans to build a $50 billion canal to connect the Caribbean and Pacific. Supporters argue it will create more than 250,000 jobs. But small farmers and environmentalists say the project will destroy Lake Nicaragua.
On this edition, we’ll take a look at the economic, political and environmental controversies surrounding the Nicaragua canal. Reporter Reese Erlich has the story.
Maria Mercelin, fisherman’s wife
Michael Healey, head of an agribusiness association
Monica Lopez, anti-canal activist and lawyer
Lionel Teller, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the EU
Rosibel Lope, owner of snack bar on Ometepe Island
Jairo Carrilon, anti-canal coalition leader
David Quintana, spokesperson for Foundation for Nicaraguan Sustainable Development
Benjamin Lanzas, member of the canal’s governing body
Juana Juarez, resident of Ometepe Island
Osvaldo Navas,Ometepe Island leader
Antonio Granados, land owner whose property lies directly along the canal route.