Nicaragua: Amnesty International assails canal plan

A new report from Amnesty International accuses the Nicaraguan government of "placing business before the future of the country and its people" with its inter-oceanic canal mega-scheme "that will affect the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people and might leave many homeless." The report, Danger: Rights for sale, charges that "the obscure legal framework that led to the concession of the project, without genuine consultation with all affected communities, violates a catalogue of national and international standards on human rights and might lead to the forced eviction of hundreds of families." It also accuses authorities of harassing and persecuting opponents of the project. (Amnesty International, Aug. 3)

"Authorities in Nicaragua have secretly sold the country’s future to the highest bidder and put thousands of people at risk of losing everything," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty. "The only way to undo this appalling error is to repeal the law that backs this project before it causes more and permanent damage and go back to the drawing board, ensuring all people who might be affected have a say about their future

Upon release of the report, Bianca Jagger, the Nicaraguan human rights activist, said: “Daniel Ortega seems determined to go ahead with a nefarious mega-project … [but] the canal is not financially viable, it is an insane project that would cause harm to the people of Nicaragua, irreparable damage to our water sources, to our rainforests, to our environment. If allowed to go ahead, it will be an environmental crime." (The Guardian, Aug. 3)