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The Great Nicaragua Canal Scam

The promise to resurrect the dead interoceanic canal project confirms the decline of the regime, when the post-Ortega era is already beginning.

This past Tuesday, during the anniversary of the Naval Force celebrated with the top brass of the Nicaraguan Army, the dictator Daniel Ortega revived his promise to build an interoceanic canal, which according to his official plans should already be about to be inaugurated this year 2019.

In June 2013, Ortega proclaimed with so much hype that we had reached the “Promise Land” when he granted an obscure Chinese businessman, Wang Jing, and the company Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND), a canal concession which is detrimental to national sovereignty through law 840.

The Ortega-Wang Law not only gave Wang Jing the entire national territory for the alleged construction of the canal, but also granted him full discretion to develop or transact in a dozen megaprojects, set up in a deliberately speculative business scheme.

According to the promises of Ortega, the great interoceanic canal should be inaugurated at the end of this year, and in its construction by now 250,000 jobs would have been created, and the economy would be growing from last year between 12% to 15% annually. That is how it is written in the official plans which were promoted around the world by Ortega’s personal delegate to Wang Jing, his son and business operator Laureano Ortega Murillo, and Minister Paul Oquist, seller of illusions of the regime.

The reality of this bizarre story, as everybody here knows, is that Wang Jing has disappeared for three years, his company never dug an inch of land, nor could it raise a tenth of the 50 billion dollars of investment in six years. Therefore, according to the canal law itself, the Nicaraguan State is already entitled to repeal this law without incurring any economic damage to the country. But that will be up to the new democratic government and a new parliament that will bury the dictatorship of Ortega, after free elections.

Meanwhile, the only thing left to the country by this megaproject, negotiated secretly without any transparency, is the most scandalous act of corruption in national history, in which the only beneficiary has been the Ortega-Murillo family. A real mega-scam, which must be investigated by an International Commission against Corruption and Impunity in Nicaragua (CICIN), a supranational entity that, like the CICIG of Guatemala and the CICIES of El Salvador, will be established by popular mandate in the new Nicaragua.

After four years of silence, when the failure of the canal has become public, Ortega has tried to resurrect the dead before the high command of the Armed Forces in a pathetic staging, which reflects the decline of a regime that no longer has anything to offer, not even to his supporters.

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The announcement of the resurrection of the canal means that the post-Ortega era has already begun. Because what is implanted in the national agenda is not Wang Jing’s canal, but Ortega’s departure from power and the abrogation of Law 840 by a new democratic government. Likewise, what will be present on the agenda of the Nicaraguan Army, once the top officers led General Julio Cesar Aviles are replaced, is not the protection and defense plans of an imaginary interoceanic canal, but the plans for disarmament of the paramilitary gangs under a new democratic government.

The only tangible legacy of the unborn canal is the peasant movement which was organized to defend their lands, and asserted the defense of national sovereignty. An autonomous movement, now led by peasants Medardo Mairena and Francisca Ramirez, and with its more than 100 protests marches, cleared the path of the April rebellion. That peasant movement that defeated the dictatorship in the canal route, in the marches, in the roadblocks, in prison, and in exile, today is an inseparable part of the present and future of Nicaragua, while Ortega is part of the past, and will be buried in the mausoleum of traitors.

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