Canal Law Protest Draws Thousands of Nicaraguan Farmers

Farmers from Punta Gorda marched on Saturday against the Canal concession law. Photo: W. Lopez/

HAVANA TIMES — Several thousands Nicaraguan farmers marched Saturday in the Punta Gorda municipality, in the southern region of the country, to demand a revoking of the law which gives a Chinese consortium based in Hong Kong the authority to build an interoceanic canal in the Central American country, reported dpa news.

Medardo Mairena, one of the leaders of the farmers’ protest, announced to the press that farmer protests, which began four years ago, would continue until Daniel Ortega’s Government revokes Law 840, which authorizes the construction of an interoceanic canal and numerous other side projects by the HKND consortium.

“This Saturday, we carried out our 88th march against the construction of the canal that would cross through our land, and this is why we are marching, to defend our property, which is the only wealth that we will pass onto our children. We will not give up, we will continue to fight until the Government revokes the Nicaragua canal law,” Mairena claimed.

The rural leader announced that the next march will take place on June 13th in El Tule, San Juan River (south), the same municipality where a farmers’ march was brutally repressed by police and military forces at Christmas in 2014.

Mairena, who was recently elected as the chair of the Farmers’ Anti-Canal Movement, insisted that rural marches do not have a political background. “We are only rising up and protesting so that we can defend our land, the only wealth we have for our children. We will not stop protesting until Daniel Ortega voids Law 840 which authorizes the construction of the canal,” he maintained.

In June 2013, the President of Nicaragua granted Chinese businessman Wang Jing permission to build the work which is estimated to cost 50 billion USD.

The approval of the abovementioned law and the government handing over the project to the Chinese company HKND Group sparked the rise of a robust rural movement which demands that this law be revoked as they fear their lands will be appropriated from them unfairly and also because of the major environmental damage that experts estimate will happen if the canal is built.