Nicaragua canal: in a sleepy Pacific port, something stirs

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Source: The Guardian 

The proposed gateway to a planned interoceanic canal shows little sign of activity but locals say Chinese experts have visited recently and work will start soon.

At first sight, there is little to suggest the sleepy village of Brito is the starting point of one of the world’s most ambitious engineering projects.

Almost two years after ceremonial ground was broken on the Grand Transoceanic Canal of Nicaragua, the actual soil remains obdurately undisturbed by anything other than grazing cattle. There is no machinery, no noise, no activity.

Instead of legions of construction workers, the only people to be seen are a farming family sheltering on porch hammocks from the midday sun, and a couple of guards manning a gate on the rutted dirt track down to the river.

Yet contrary to the languid scene, local people have never been more convinced that the controversial mega-project is finally about to begin.

“The company is absolutely serious. We had a big meeting last month and they told everyone, don’t plant anything or build anything because you will only be compensated for the land,” said Brito shopkeeper Manuel Cruz. “They said they would start work on a pier within 15 days and bring in lots of workers in December or January.”

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