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The collapse of the grandiose project of an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua, which was to be built by an obscure Chinese investor

The collapse of the grandiose project of an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua, which was to be built by an obscure Chinese investor

2013. Daniel Ortega and businessman Wang Jing celebrate the canal agreement that they promised would lift Nicaragua out of poverty and would be the largest engineering feat in history. (Image 19 is digital)

This week, the Nicaraguan regime buried the Interoceanic Canal project it intended to build with the private Chinese company Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Limited (HKND Group), which was presented at the time as the world’s “greatest engineering feat ever”.

The Nicaraguan National Assembly on Wednesday repealed the law that granted the concession to build and manage the Grand Canal in Nicaragua for a period of 50 years, extendable for another 50 years, to the HKND group owned by the Chinese businessman. Wang Jing.

At the same time, parliamentarians reformed Law No. 800, the Law on the Legal System of the Grand Nicaraguan Interoceanic Canal, creating the Grand Nicaraguan Interoceanic Canal Authority.

Both the reform and the abolition were approved by 91 deputies in the Nicaraguan National Assembly, at the request “in an urgent process” of the Nicaraguan dictator. Daniel Ortega.

“Within the framework of these changes, it is necessary to adapt Law 800, the Law of the Legal Regime of the Nicaraguan Grand Interoceanic Canal and the establishment of the Grand Canal Authority of Nicaragua, to the new reality and to promote better performance in favor of this,” Ortega justified in his reform proposal.

Opposition Juan Sebastian responded, saying: “The Ortega Murillo regime realizes the failure of the dream that it wanted to sell to Nicaraguans and the whole world through the Wangjing Interoceanic Canal, and it has just withdrawn the 100-year concession by repealing Law 840.” Chamorro.

“What happened was that the concession itself for Wang Jing was cancelled, but with Law 800 the possibility of expropriation and concessions to a third party is open,” explains Chamorro, an economist.

The Nicaragua Canal will be 278 kilometers long, linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Official name “The Grand Interoceanic Canal in NicaraguaThe project aims to connect the Caribbean Sea, in the Atlantic Ocean, to the Pacific Ocean through a 278-kilometre-long canal that reaches Lake Cocibolca, or Great Lake Nicaragua, and crosses the Rivas Isthmus to reach the Pacific Ocean.

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On 13 June 2013, the Nicaraguan Parliament, by a majority of 61 in favour, 25 against, with two absences and one abstention, handed over the concession and construction of the canal to HKND, a business group set up in Hong Kong specifically to carry out the work. .

At the head of this group was Wang Jing, the Chinese billionaire, who was 41 years old at the time, and was on the list of the 200 richest people in the world, with a fortune estimated at $10.2 billion, according to the Billionaires Index. From Bloomberg.

However, by 2015, Wang’s wealth had fallen by 84 percent after Beijing Xinwei Communications Technology Group Inc. fell alongside Chinese stock markets. Wang Jing owned 35 percent of that company, and his fall was the worst recorded in 2015 by the index, which daily ranks the 400 richest people in the world.

A few days ago, a Nicaraguan newspaper the press mentioned Shenoy Group It was declared bankrupt, according to information from Chinese media, and its listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange was suspended due to “irregular financial movements,” which would have created a fraud worth about $31 billion.

“Behind the bankruptcy of Xinwei Group, current Controller Wang Jing is arguably the most mysterious rich man in the history of Chinese business. No one knows his true origin, education and professional experience,” Sina Finance, a media outlet owned by Sina, recorded. A reputed telecom company in China.

“Wang Jing’s frauds included allegedly prospecting for gold mines, promising to build an ocean canal, and launching satellites. None of that happened. On the contrary, he defrauded several governments and 150,000 shareholders in his companies, obtaining dozens of Billions in fraudulent profits, said the Nicaraguan media, which reported that “Wang Jing, the disgraced fraudster, will now live in the United States.”

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The numbers with which the canal project was presented were impressive. The canal will be three times larger than the Panama Canal, $50 billion will be invested in it, it will create 50,000 jobs and will double the country’s gross domestic product in the estimated five years of construction.

The project is scheduled to start at the end of 2014 and by 2020 the canal will be ready for operation. The Ortega regime claimed that the canal would end poverty and unemployment in Nicaragua.

Paul Oquist, Nicaragua’s Special Secretary for Public Policy, said in June 2013 that the canal would lift Nicaragua’s GDP growth by up to 15% by 2015, and that formal employment would increase by 623,458 people. which existed in 2013 to 1.9 million when the canal was built.

On December 22, 2014, in an impromptu ceremony, construction machinery was brought from some municipalities in the country, the construction of the canal was inaugurated.

“This land under our feet will remain in history, this land with our work will make way for a stronger country and happier people. This land and the canal, along with Nicaraguan, Chinese and international companies, will remain in memory as an unforgettable story,” said businessman Wang Jing in his opening remarks. .

But construction never started.

The man’s project faced strong opposition, especially from environmentalists and farmers whose properties would be affected by the work. (Reuters photos)

From day one, the canal project faced strong opposition. Peasants, owners of land that would be expropriated to make way for the canal, organized themselves into what was called the Peasant Movement, an organization that called for one hundred protest marches and was crucial to the citizen rebellion that Daniel Ortega faced in 2018.

Opposition to the canal argued that the concession handed the country’s sovereignty to the HKND for 100 years, endangered Lake Nicaragua, the largest water reserve in Central America, and did not give the country significant advantages, because the income would go to the company holding the concession, which was not obligated to use national construction companies. Or local labor, or pay taxes of any kind, and can obtain the necessary state land at no cost, and private land at prices below its real value.

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By June 2023, Daniel Ortega realized the stagnation of his channel project and blamed “North American imperialism” for it.

“When we talked in Nicaragua and worked on developing the canal, immediately came the campaign of the counter-revolutionary forces, the North American government, etc., which began their attacks, to try to prevent this project from moving forward,” Ortega complained when he received the Iranian president in Managua. Ibrahim Raisi.

According to the Nicaraguan dictator, the United States intends to take control of Nicaragua “so that no other country can develop the canal,” at a time when the neighboring Panama Canal is insufficient for current maritime traffic.

“At some point, the canal will become a reality here in Nicaragua. Because? Because, it is true, there is a canal through Panama, and it has been expanded, but the demands of international traffic are so great that the canal through Nicaragua is necessary, but the canal through Nicaragua (is necessary) “For the people, for peace,” Ortega said in another speech a year ago, in September 2022. “For the greater development of our country’s economy.”

Juan Sebastian Chamorro believes that the withdrawal of the canal concession to the controversial businessman Wang Jing “should not be a cause for celebration, because Ortega leaves alive the Grand Canal Authority,” whose tasks are to establish the Grand Canal Company of Nicaragua, which “will not be limited to studies “Not only feasibility, but it will also manage the construction and operation of the Interoceanic Canal.”

“Why would Ortega do this now?” asks the opponent. “Most likely because he already has someone to get another (stolen) chip from,” he reckons, in what appears to be the next chapter of this story.