News Summary: Nicaragua in thrall of canal dream

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

CANAL DREAMS: Six months after the Sandinista government granted a Chinese businessman a 100-year concession to build a vast canal across Nicaragua, most of the nation is in the thrall of the imagined waterway.

CONCERNS OVER DEAL: Many legal and environmental experts charge that the canal deal violates national sovereignty, and construction could cause profound ecological damage to this rugged nation of lakes, cloud-wreathed volcanoes and thick tropical forest, by damming rivers, splitting ecosystems and moving untold tons of earth. Critics say global trade will not support a second Central American canal.

HOPE FOR PROSPERITY: Nicaraguans say they are confident the $40 billion canal will become reality, lifting their country from poverty to prosperity.