Photo by Theresa Poulson / Cronkite Borderlands Project

Nicaraguan farmers’ land and way of life threatened by interoceanic canal

By Theresa Poulson / Cronkite Borderlands Project

Published June 17, 2015

On the volcanic island of Ometepe in Nicaragua, farmers plant organic sesame for export to Canada. It’s a growing business for entrepreneur Olga Rodriguez, president of a cooperative of small producers. But a powerful force could soon level what she's built. The Nicaraguan government has granted a concession to a Chinese development company to build an inter-oceanic canal through the country. The project, which includes an airport and hotels, promises to create 200,000 jobs for the second poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. Thousands of households, including those belonging to farmers in this agriculture-rich country, could be displaced as their land is expropriated.