A discussion is going on in the global mass media about the construction of a transport system capable of linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans similar to the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal is no longer in a position to meet the technical and freight demands of the modern world, the argument runs.
The Panama Canal now forces large ships carrying big containers to wait near the Eastern and Western coasts for a long time for passage, says Vladimir Sudarev of the Latin America Institute.
Large vessels carrying big containers of up to 56 meters in length cannot now sail through the Canal because it is only 33 meters in width. There are however plans to reconstruct it, but the work will last four years. The reconstruction work is by China.
In the, Columbia of which Panama was a part, fought with Nicaragua over the right to build a Canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with American money. Then America rejected the Nicaraguan version because of two active volcanoes in the country. In 1903, the U.S backed Panama’s demand of secession from Columbia, in exchange for a territory on which to build a canal. The construction lasted for 15 years. The construction of the Canal at a difficult period, caused the loss of many lives. America owned the Canal until 1999 when it transferred the ownership to the government of Panama. The US carried out a regime change in Nicaragua, to prevent the resurrection of the Nicaraguan version of the construction of the Canal, and later, it orchestrated a civil war in the country, recalls Sudarev.
But Nicaragua still dreams of building a Canal.
However, the construction of a Canal is beyond the capacity of the country to shoulder alone and it has therefore turned to Russia for assistance. In February this year, Columbia and China agreed to begin the building of a canal to connect the two oceans, including a railway line, highway and other transport facilities.
Venezuela also plans to carry out a similar project, and also plans to ask China to join it. It plans to construct a canal from the Orinoco River to the Pacific Ocean through the territory of Columbia. Venezuela is the biggest supplier of oil to China, Sudarev says.
The construction of a canal to link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans has become a matter of prestige under globalization.