‘Venderemos!’: Rama Territory and the Nicaragua Grand Canal

The Nicaraguan Canal project has primarily existed in the abstract space of national possibility. It percolates Nicaraguan popular imagination as a missed economic opportunity, a historical turning point, an emblem of an unrealized splendor, the missing contribution of a peripheral country to the all-important circulation of capital. This paper examines the current Nicaraguan Canal project set to start construction in late 2014. Studying the anticipated contributions to Nicaragua as an economic stimulus, the canal raises many infrastructural, demographic, and environmental concerns. In what ways does the megaproject physically and conceptually reorient commercial, geopolitical, biological, oceanic, and ethnohistorical pathways? Dissecting Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest freshwater lake, the Chinese-financed canal project exposes Nicaragua’s many contradictions. Dubious environmental impact assessments, unrealistic long-term employment projections, Sandinista President Ortega’s adopting of a right-wing development agenda, and the illegal displacement of Afro/indigenous populations from their homelands prompts the question: who/what is this canal for?