HAVANA TIMES — Representatives of rural communities and environmentalists in Nicaragua today urged the judiciary to intervene in support of the repeal of a controversial law authorizing the building of an interoceanic a canal in the south of the country, reported dpa news.
Leaders of the National Council for the Defense of the Land, the Lake and Sovereignty filed an appeal with the Supreme Court demanding it to order the Parliament to accept an initiative to repeal the canal law.
The brief “demands that the Supreme Court order the legislature to consider our citizens’ initiative to repeal the canal law,” attorney Monica López, legal representative of the peasants, told the press.
In early April, the rural anti-canal movement presented to the one-chamber Congress a proposal for the repeal of Law 840 (the canal), which was immediately rejected by the parliamentary directive, refusing to even consider it.
According to López, the refusal of the Legislature “violates the right of citizen participation and excludes 28,000 citizens” who oppose the canal project on the grounds that their land and property in the southern region of the country would be expropriated.
“We hope the Supreme Court will do justice and favorably resolve our demand,” said the young lawyer.
The farmers had also filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals of Managua and another to the Parliament asking for reconsideration, which was also summarily rejected.
The National Council of Defense of the Land, Lake and Sovereignty has organized marches and demonstrations in the south of the country as well as in Managua against the canal, a megaproject valued at 50 billion US dollars.
In mid-2013, President Daniel Ortega gave the Chinese billionaire Wang Jing a concession to build and operate the canal for 50 years, extendable up to 100 years from the date that operation begins.
Farmers and environmentalists say the project would seriously damage the ecosystem of Nicaragua because it involves opening a massive trench 278 kilometers long, including 105 kilometers in Lake Nicaragua, the second largest lake in Latin America after the slightly larger Titicaca.
Although the start of the project was officially announced in late 2014, they have not yet opened access roads in the south of the country nor put out notice for bids for construction contracts. The financing of the project remains a total mystery and Wang Jing says he has no obligation to inform who is behind the project and what funds they have committed.