Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega pledged on Tuesday, August 13, to make the country’s controversial canal development “a reality”.

The President assured that new environmental projects are being carried out to resume the megaproject.

“Environmental studies, which had already been submitted, are being prepared again, but adjustments have to be made,” Ortega said during the commemoration of the 39 Anniversary of the founding of the Naval Force of the Nicaraguan Army, held at the Olof Palme Convention Center, in Managua.

“We have not renounced (the great interoceanic canal),” said Ortega, criticizing the United States, England and Spain, because in the past that route was disputed.

“They disputed a territory that did not belong to them (because) who gave them Nicaragua?”, He declared.

“The powers, from England to Spain, want to dominate the route to make the canal, and then the United States with its troops intervening in Nicaragua…. Imposing a treaty on Nicaragua so that Nicaragua could not give any concessions to any country. It was when the United States said, as it means now, America for the United States, why? Because they had no competition in Europe,” added Ortega.

There is our commitment to continue working for the construction of the canal through Nicaragua,” he added, however, not giving any details of the process.

“It is no madness to think of a canal in Nicaragua,” Ortega said in defending the initiative, after remembering how in the 19th century that project aroused much interest in America and Europe.

Wan Jing head of the HKND Group

The announcement comes a month after the expiry of the concession granted in 2013 to Honk Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND Group). The concession period that Nicaragua had granted the Chinese company expired on June 14, 2019, with no advances for the construction work in the six years, since HKND failed to obtain the US$50 billion dollar financing for the project.

Clause 15.2 of the framework agreement signed by the Ortega government with HKND established that if the financial closure of a subproject is not achieved within a period of 72 months, the Government or the corresponding sponsor will have the right to terminate the concession for such subproject.

Source: El Nuevo Diario in Spanish

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.