El Dorado: The Nicaragua Canal

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Trade routes have unsurprisingly played a major factor in the world’s economy and history: thanks to them we found out that the world was round, for example. What’s more, this discovery resulted from an accidental encountering with the Americas, en route from Europe to Asia. While the New World became the destination for major exchanges for centuries subsequently, new trading routes to Asia were still being searched. Eventually, finding a route that could connect the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean was imperative, especially during the time of the gold rush, when many people wished to get to California. Therefore, in the early 1900s, a canal was built in Panama, finally connecting the two oceans, and thus improving world trade, as it shortened maritime routes and lowered the costs of transportation. Before the construction of this canal, however, many countries debated whether it should have been built in Panama or Nicaragua instead, but, for a number of reasons, Panama was chosen. Now, a hundred years later, a Chinese company has offered to carry out the project of the canal for Nicaragua. Despite futile attempts done in the past for the construction of this project, the Nicaragua Canal is now actually feasible and would undoubtedly help the Nicaraguan economy; however, critics have observed unreliability and potential issues, like damaging the environment, in the construction of the canal would ultimately outweigh the benefits it would bring. Before the construction of the Panama Canal, a canal through Nicaragua was tried to build first. Nicaragua has almost the perfect conditions to build an interoceanic canal: large and deep Lake 100 ft. above sea level, large navigable stream that connects the lake with the Atlantic Ocean (Ha... ... middle of paper ... ...al feasible, citing its confidentiality policies (Cordoba). Besides, the increase in traffic due to the growth in worldwide trade is extremely speculative (Cave). Furthermore, the 50-year concession giving HKND the rights to build the canal in Nicaragua has already been signed, all of this before new feasibility studies were made, which are supposed to be done in two years (Alvarez). In an interview, Pedro Alvarez, a Nicaraguan PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan, questioned greatly the reliability of HKND; he stresses the point that the canal must be built on serious studies, which he thinks are not being made properly regarding the environmental effect of the canal. He mentions that a two-year study could be enough to claim its feasibility and study the economical view, but not long enough to study the environmental effect of the canal.

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