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Dictatorship announces a railway between the oceans.  What are the regime’s giant projects that remained in their promises?

Dictatorship announces a railway between the oceans. What are the regime’s giant projects that remained in their promises?

As usual, since his return to power – in 2007 – dictator Daniel Ortega has promised the Nicaraguans many megaprojects that never materialized. Last week, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Oscar Mujica, announced the regime’s intention to build an interoceanic railway that will link the port of Corinto, in the Pacific Ocean, with a port that will be “built” in Bluefields, on the Costa Caribe.

We are moving in this direction, and this is not a dream. “We are advancing with our feet firmly on the ground, in a solid way,” Mujica declared on 20 June during an interview with the pro-government Channel 8.

Also read: Ortega recommends trolleybuses and trains to combat climate change

For Minister Ortega, this action will be considered a “solid milestone”, as it will facilitate all operations of the port. But he made it clear that this railway between the oceans would be a second phase, since another would be built first and which would unite the provinces of Managua, Masaya and Granada.

This is to provide a modern, efficient and low carbon transportation service. In other words, we are taking two steps forward (…) It is indeed a project that we are working on for its strong formulation in studies and bankable designs, ”added the Ortega official. However, this railway business initiative has been publicized for several years.

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructure is retired General Oscar Mujica. Press/Archive

Other “gigantic projects” that remained in the models

Ortega has spent 16 consecutive years ruling a poor country in crisis. In the midst of this context, he promised to solve the lives of Nicaraguans through gigantic projects. However, the dictator’s promises have passed from one project to another that remain only in forms and without any explanation are ignored or left halfway through. Here are some samples:

1- El Supremo Sueño de Bolívar Refinery

On August 21, 2007, eight months after his return to the presidency, Ortega and Hugo Chávez (RIP), acting President of Venezuela, announced the construction of a refinery that would be called El Supremo Sueño de Bolívar.

Local and international media highlighted that Chávez and Ortega had laid the first stone of the refinery, in Piedras Blancas, 8 kilometers from Puerto Sandino, in the Pacific Ocean of Nicaragua.

The approximate value of the work will be the $4 billion disbursed by Venezuela. The idea was that it would be fueled by Venezuelan oil and that it would supply the country’s needs and export surplus production to Central America and the United States.

Ortega's giant projects
Among the projects left halfway due to the collapse of Venezuelan cooperation is the refinery that the deceased Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, promised to Nicaragua. Here they both laid the foundation stone for the project. Press/Archive

If these plans were implemented, the refinery would have been completed no later than 2011 and 2012, and as of 2011, it was supposed to have the capacity to produce 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day, making it “the world’s largest refinery.” In the middle of the country. America”. It was also cataloged by Ortega himself.

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While Chavez confirmed at the time that the production of fuel will bring net profits between 600 and 700 million dollars.

However, the liquidation agreed upon between Ortega and his deceased counterpart Hugo Chavez was only partially true, because ten years later (2017) It became a storage plant with a capacity of one million barrels of crude.

2- Deep water port

The Nicaragua deep-water port construction project has undergone several site changes. In 2007, the regime announced, with the help of Venezuela, that a deep-water port in the Caribbean (Monkey Point) would be built, but that did not happen either.

Faced with this breach, Ortega announced in July 2010 that Korean companies would build a deep-water port at the port on the southern Caribbean coast, and it was estimated that the initial investment would be $500 million, but this also did not materialize.

In 2015, the system announced its interest in building a deep-water port in the municipality of Bluefields, in the southern Caribbean.

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The then Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Pablo Fernando Martinez, told the media that they had asked Taiwan for support to build this port, instead of building one at Monkey Point Port, 40 kilometers north of Bluefields, as they had initially planned. .

In July 2020, the state media “again” announced the construction of a deep-water port in Bluefields. But this time, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Oscar Mujica, has made it clear that construction will begin in 2025.

Despite the announcement in August 2021 by the Minister of Finance and Public Credit (MHCP), Ivan Acosta, that the country will begin construction of a deep-water port in Bluefields next year and that the port will connect Nicaraguan shipping with Caribbean countries.

3- Hydroelectric tamarin

In 2009, the National Assembly approved the law granting a 30-year concession to carry out the largest hydroelectric project in Nicaraguan history.

The company Centrales Hidroeléctricas de Nicaragua (CHN) was the beneficiary of the implementation of the hydroelectric project that would be known as Tumarín. However, the project varied over time and eventually became paralyzed, in part because of a corruption scandal that broke out in Brazil and involved the main partners, the Brazilian companies Electrobras and Queiroz Galvão.

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The Tumarín Hydroelectric Station is located in the municipality of La Cruz de Río Grande, on the coast of the southern Caribbean Sea, exactly in the Rio Grande de Matagalpa basin, and will extend to 3,700 manzana, or about 26 square kilometres. The inhabitants of those lands would be compensated and moved to a new town, Apawás, which the company would build for them.

The cost of the project is $1.2 billion, it will be ready by the end of 2018, and it will provide the country with about 253 megawatts of renewable energy. According to Law 965, the special law for the development of the Tumarín Hydroelectric Project, this work will reduce the cost of purchasing oil for power generation by about $100 million annually.

4- The Nicasat 1 satellite

The ambitious technological project adopted in 2012 with the name Nicasat-1, according to the initial plans of the Institute of Telecommunications and Posts (Telcor), will be in orbit and will bring great benefits from the last quarter of 2015. But we are already in 2023 and we are still. There is no satellite.

The space project would cost $254 million to be paid over 15 years to Chinese banks who were willing to finance it, but apparently no one was interested.

The Asian company Great Wall of China was responsible for the construction of the device that was going to reach space. The purpose was to put a Chinese-made satellite into orbit from 36,000 km above the Earth’s surface, and the satellite’s coverage range would cover from Mexico to Colombia, countries to which Nicaragua sells services and receives profits in terms of space and rights to communications.

Ortega's giant projects.
Orlando Castillo (RIP) with the dictator’s son, Laureano Ortega Murillo, at the time they were promoting the Nicaraguan satellite project, a project that was also not implemented. Press/Archive

At the local level, according to the authorities, the communications signal will reach the depths of the territory, and there will be the ability to monitor the area inch by inch, monitor any emergency situation due to natural disasters and implement digital education systems throughout the territory, among other things, hundreds of benefits.

In November 2015, the director of Telcor, now deceased Orlando Castillo, made another announcement: “Nicaragua has ordered a communications satellite from China for $346 million.” With that said, there will be two satellites that the country will own. In other words, Nicaragua expects to have two communications satellites by 2017.

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5- The Grand Canal between the oceans

On December 22, 2014, the official media happily announced the launch ceremony of the preliminary business of The Grand Canal between the oceans. The giant project worth $50 billion is surrounded by doubts and questions.

On July 3, 2012, with the story that Nicaragua would advance on a final path to “defeat poverty inherited from the neoliberal past,” the regime approved Law 840, the Grand Canal Project Legal System and Gran Canal Authority Act, to lay the legal foundations for the failed canal bid.

In short, the Nicaragua Inter-Ocean Canal project was a private investment by Chinese businessman Wang Jing and international investors sought after, under his Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Company (HKND Group).

Ortega's giant projects
Model of the Grand Interoceanic Canal in Nicaragua provided by HKND. THEPRESS/REPRODUCTION

The huge project will ensure a connection between the two oceans with a length of 278 kilometers and a width of between 230 and 520 meters. It will start in Punta Gorda, pass through Nueva Guinea, El Tule, and Lake Cochipulca, then enter the Las Lajas River (which crosses the South Pan American Highway) and then the Prito River, until it exits the Pacific Ocean.

Ortega’s regime expected average growth to rise from 4.5 percent of GDP to 10 percent in the first years of operation of the canal, in addition to creating about 50,000 jobs during the five years of construction and another 250,000 jobs when it began. 2019 or the beginning of 2020, the year 3,576 ships will pass through the Nicaraguan Channel.

The canal concession gave Wang Jing unlimited powers over Nicaraguan sovereignty “for a period of 50 years, from the commencement of commercial operations” of the canal and extendable for another 50 years.

On June 13, 2019, the six-year period for the Chinese company HKND to prove its ability to finance the canal expired. From June 14 through September 12, the franchise can be revoked. Nothing happened.

In August 2019, Daniel Ortega revived the theme of his channel. During an action for the Navy, he said he didn’t “give up” on making it a reality.