Nicaragua: Green light given to Chinese entrepreneurs for oceanic canal across Nicaragua
The Sandinista government in Managua granted a 50-year concession on June 14 to the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment, a Chinese company that plans to build a shipping channel from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.

The government’s backers said that the project will bring tens of thousands of jobs to the country, and that the canal will be a pole for global transport, bring economic benefits for Nicaragua ($10,000 per year, plus one percent of the profit over ten years), and that the plan also includes building ports, an airport, a pipeline, a railway and a free trade zone.

On the other side, environmentalists criticize that the proposal contains no details of its financing or economic viability, that it would cause an environmental disaster threatening drinking water supplies and fragile ecosystems, and could mask corrupt business practices like the purchase of neighboring lands for resale to the state, among other negative consequences.

Roberto Troncoso, president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, said the money is totally irrelevant because “we’re talking about national hegemony. China is looking to turn itself into the predominant economic power. Whoever dominates trade, dominates the world.”

Cuba: FARC proposes to postpone Colombian elections
Last Tuesday in Havana, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) suggested to convene a Constituent Assembly in an effort to delay the 2014 general elections for at least one year to avoid influencing the peace talks with the government.

Head of the guerrilla delegation Ivan Marquez maintains that the progression of a so momentous agreement can not be interfered by election deadlines or President Juan Manuel Santos´ possible defeat, which could drag out the discussions that have reached the 10th round.

President Santos dismissed the proposal: “There is not even the most minimal chance I would consider that proposal to extend terms,” he said.

Brazil: Oil spill heads toward the Amazon
The government of Brazil declared an alert for the possible arrival of an oil slick being carried on an Ecuadorian river that acts as a tributary of the Amazon River— the slick has already passed through Peru. The accident occurred on May 31, when a landslide in the Ecuadorian province of Sucumbíos dragged a line of the Trans-Ecuador Oil Pipeline System (SOTE) and caused a spill of 11,480 barrels of oil.

Initially the spill contaminated the Coca River, a tributary of the Napo, but part of the slick has moved through the Amazon to Peru. Local media reported that 60,000 people had to rely on water brought in by 65 tankers. Thursday, June 6, the oil company Petroecuador informed that they have contracted a U.S. company specialized in environmental clean-up to deal with the damage caused by the spill. The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, offered apologies to Peru on Saturday, June 8, for the serious problems resulting from the spill.