Nicaragua is planning to construct a 277-km long inter oceanic mega-canal that would connect the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean for ships. For that, the government has signed a contract with a Chinese company The Hong Kong Nicaragua Development (HKND) Group. The concession allows the company to build and operate industrial centers, airports, a rail system and oil pipelines as well as land expropriation and the rights to natural resources found along the canal route. The construction is scheduled to begin in this autumn (2016).
Construction of the canal and the canal itself will change the life of Nicaragua drastically. It will pose threat to local communities, including indigenous groups and will potentially ruin the remains of Nicaragua’s unique wildlife, moreover, the canal will increase the environmental risks for the nation’s largest freshwater reserve, Lake Nicaragua (Lago Cocibolca). The main problem is that no one has ever asked Nicaraguans whether they agree with this comprehensive project. Therefore, this is a perfect example of how people in power of a developing country, ignore opposition and deliberately exploit and sell their nation’s greatest resources at their people’s and environment’s expense.
In March 2016, as a group of three, Ove Musting (director/camera), Jaan Laugamõts (editor/camera) and Sander Loite (author/text editor) we set out for 23 days to discover Nicaragua. Additionally, our team had a great local support thanks to Kimmo Lehtonen as a fixer the journalist from Finland and an expert of Nicaragua and Latin America.
The crew with the chief of village Bankukuk Taik.
Our focus was to record Nicaraguan’s struggle against the mega-project, which is referred to be the world’s biggest earth-moving operation.
During the shoot we covered the areas that will be affected by the canal project. A community of Rama people in Bankukuk Taik of the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, the rain-forests and animal species under threat, Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific region of Nicaragua. These lands and people will be affected the most if the canal construction proceeds.
Furthermore, this film will feature the work of a young lawyer Monica Lopez Baltodano who lives Managua, capital city of Nicaragua. She is the person giving legal advice to the communities at risk because of the mega-canal project.
This documentary will make one understand the loss that this developing country will face when peoples and environmental interests are suppressed and ignored.