Stop Plans to Build Canal That Would Destroy Environment

Target: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega

Goal: Cease talks of constructing a canal through the country that undermines its citizens and ecosystems

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is in the process of leasing a large portion of his country to a Hong Kong-based investment group to build a shipping canal through Nicaragua, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. To construct the canal will require clearing and cutting through 180 miles of tropical jungle, plaguing the country with pollution and destruction. The citizens and natural environment would be greatly exploited for the lax laws of poor countries, while the rich (Daniel Ortega) would be the primary financial benefactors.

The proposed canal would require a massive excavation through the country. There are a handful of proposed routes, but each cuts through Lake Nicaragua, the country’s most important watershed, thus polluting the lake and watershed. The people of Nicaragua need this water to drink, to live. In an impoverished country such as Nicaragua it’s understandable that the government would be eager to bring in foreign investments, but the rich will only benefit at the expense of the poor. The deal would give the Hong Kong investment group, Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Investment Co. (HKND), a fifty-year contract with the right to construct and control the canal. From studying environmental justice it is easy to see the pattern of events that would ensue, and result in the exploitation of the country’s people and resources.

It’s become all too typical that foreign investors prey on poor countries with inadequate labor laws and environmental standards to make easy profits. These will surely the case in Nicaragua, the citizens will be exploited for cheap labor in the construction and operation of the canal, and the impacts would damage large ecosystems. Let’s urge Daniel Ortega not to sell out to foreign investors, and save the sanctity of his country.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Daniel Ortega,

You are in the process of selling your country to a foreign investment group to excavate a cross-country canal through 180 miles of important jungle ecosystems. Doing so would cause harm to your country’s most important watershed, Lake Nicaragua. That water supports your citizens and your ecosystem. If the canal is built, your ecosystems and citizens will fall into despair; both rely heavily on the lake’s clean water.

You must realize that to allow Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Investment Co. a fifty-year lease would result in the direct exploitation of your people and natural environment. It is very common that foreign companies will invest in poor countries to take advantage of inadequate labor laws and environmental standards. Your citizens will be taken advantage of as cheap labor and you natural environment heavily polluted.

I urge you, the president of Nicaragua, not to sell your country out for fast money. The money won’t make it to your impoverished citizens, only the exploitation will. By building the canal you will join the ranks of every other leader of impoverished countries who has sold out his people and land for monetary gain. President Ortega, I urge you to end this foolishness now and stand up for your country.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection via flickr

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