A Nicaraguan delegation representing nearly 40 civil society organizations and political parties traveled to San José, Costa Rica, this week during the annual meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to generate regional support against the construction of a massive interoceanic canal there.
The group of environmentalists and human rights organizers plan to present an open letter to the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry for CELAC leaders that decries a lack of transparency in the project and threats to indigenous land rights and Lake Nicaragua, also known as Lake Cocibolca.
“This should be a great concern not only for Nicaragua but for the whole Central American region,” Suyen Barahona, national director for the Sandinista Renovation Movement, told The Tico Times.
Luisa Molina, director of Coordinadora Civil, a human rights organization, said that Costa Ricans would also be affected by the environmental consequences of the Great Nicaragua Canal on Lake Cocibolca and the two countries’ shared watershed.
On a local level, Molina said the canal would displace tens of thousands of people either from their land or their traditional way of life, from indigenous landholders to artisanal fishermen.
“We want development for Nicaragua but we want the people’s voice to be heard because they were never heard, either in a referendum or a plebiscite,” Octavio Ortega, national coordinator for the Council for the Defense of the Land, Lake and Sovereignty of Nicaragua, told The Tico Times.