Nicaragua's 173-Mile Propoganda Canal

Would link Atlantic, Pacific Oceans

Lake Nicaragua has served as one of Central America's most important fresh water sources. (David Amsler/Flickr)

Nicaragua revealed the planned route Tuesday of a canal that would link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 

The 173-mile canal would stretch from the Punta Gorda River in the Caribbean, through Lake Nicaragua, to the mouth of the Brito River in the Pacific. The project, backed by the Nicaraguan government and Hong Kong–based HKND group, is estimated to cost $40 billion. 

President Daniel Ortega enlisted HKND chairman Wang Jing to enact the project as an opportunity to relieve poverty and create other economic opportunities in the country, according to a report from the Telegraph. Some conservationists have expressed serious concerns that the link could harm Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake and an important source of freshwater for the region. 

Construction is slated to begin in December and is expected to be complete within five years. "This project is going to be the biggest built in the history of humanity. It will be an enormous help to the Nicaraguan people and for the world in general, because world trade will require it, we are sure of this," Wang told students at the Managua University of Engineering, according to USA Today.

Considering it took the United States 10 years to build the Panama Canal, which is less than a third of the length of Nicaragua's proposed canal, there's naturally some skepticism regarding Wang's claims. Congressman Eliseo Nunez called Tuesday's announcement of the route simply "a propaganda game, a media show to continue generating false hopes of future prosperity among Nicaraguans," according to the BBC.

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