|Demostrators hold letters reading “No to the canal”|
Socialists Attack Private Property
- The Socialists in Nicaragua look to confiscate private property under a secret deal and turn it over to Chinese businesses. China marches on while Obama golfs.
Everything in the path of the proposed trans-oceanic canal in Nicaragua would have to be relocated. Churches. Cemeteries. Stockyards.
As many as 28,000 people scattered in villages and towns face the likelihood that their lands would be expropriated. The government pledges they will be better off, living in new settlements with a bit of cash in their pockets. But skepticism abounds. Ranchers are angry. They’ve held 44 marches and rallies in the past nine months. A few events have turned violent.
The ruling conference of Roman Catholic bishops has voiced concern. In March, it issued a statement warning that people along the path of the canal feel “anxiety and uncertainty,” and that the project must be carried out with an eye to the environment and to the benefit of all Nicaraguans. Otherwise, the bishops warned, it “could trigger unwanted armed conflict” as well as expose Nicaraguans to “the massive presence of people outside our culture, history, traditions and religious beliefs” – a reference to the expected influx of Chinese workers.
One day in this ranch town in eastern Nicaragua, Medardo Mairena Sequeira climbed into the bed of a silver pickup truck. He grabbed a microphone hooked up to a small amplifier and spoke to a few dozen people, some on horseback and others on foot. Most wore baseball caps or broad-brimmed cowboy hats. Mairena railed against the 50-year concession granted to HKND Group, the company controlled by a Chinese telecom billionaire that is to build the canal.
Mairena declared that the concession violated Nicaraguan law, and that the Chinese company would not look out for the interests of Nicaraguans.
“Our sovereignty is being handed away.”
“What the farmers believe is that this will be a confiscation. They’ve just heard too many lies,” said Manfredo Hidalgo Benavides, a rancher, as he gazed at cattle penned in a local stockyard.
The concession allows HKND Group to expropriate and control up to 6.2 miles of land on either side of the 170-mile-long canal route, a fat ribbon across the country’s midsection. While some farmers would be allowed back in to cultivate vast flattened mounds of excavated material, most would be relocated away from the protected canal zone.
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