MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua's government and the Hong Kong-based HKND Group on Monday unveiled the route of a proposed $40 billion inter-ocean canal to compete with the Panama Canal that Sandinista officials hope will lift the Central American country out of poverty.
While the canal has the support of President Daniel Ortega and most Nicaraguans, many legal experts charge that the deal violates national sovereignty. Environmental experts warn that construction could cause profound ecological damage by damming rivers, splitting ecosystems and moving untold tons of earth. Others fear the project is not economically feasible.
Representatives of HKND, which is owned by Chinese businessman Wang Jing, said Monday that the canal will stretch 173 miles (278 kilometers), 65 miles (105 kilometers) of which are across Lake Nicaragua.