AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Still controversy over the transoceanic canal; Mgr. Baez "more transparency is needed"

Monday, 15 June 2015

Managua (Agenzia Fides) - Discussions have started again regarding the draft of the Grand Interoceanic Canal of Nicaragua, intended to connect the Atlantic and Pacific ocean (see Fides 24/11/2014), and this time the theme was the salinity of lake Nicaragua. The lake is the largest reservoir in the country and is home to a rich aquatic fauna. Despite it being a topic included in the study presented by HKND Group, the company responsible for the project, public opinion and some scholars have contested the assertions of the project.
The basic problem was highlighted by the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, His Exc. Mgr. Silvio Baez, with regards to the lack of transparency from the government on the project, which the government in recent months has been concerned to present as a "national project".
According to the note sent to Fides from a local source, Mgr. Baez said: "With regard to the Canal project as National, this does not correspond to reality, because the population initially did not participate in the decision". He also criticized the fact that so far the contents of environmental impact studies, which were presented to the Commission of the Grand Canal have not been made public. "Having secrets is never a good thing in the management of a government. The more a government is transparent, the more democratic it is", reaffirmed Mgr. Baez.
According to data collected by Fides, the Nicaraguan government had undertaken to analyze the 14 volumes presented on "Estudios de Impacto Ambiental y Social (EIAS)" in a period of 120 days, but nothing has been said about it. The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) on several occasions (see Fides 13/01/2015) has expressed its concern over the movement of the population interested in the project and about the impact on the environment.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/06/2015)