The route of the ‘Gran Canal’, Nicaragua’s biggest-ever infrastructure project, has been revealed. The government of President Daniel Ortega and the Hong Kong-based HKND Group, which was awarded the build- operate concession for the US$40bn inter-oceanic project in June 2013, ended what had been a major source of speculation last week. Nicaragua has since been a hub of diplomatic activity. Ortega received Russian President Vladimir Putin – in the first-ever visit by a Russian head of state – and the vice-president of the US Chamber of Commerce on the same day on 11 July. Both countries are eager to be involved. The Costa Rican foreign ministry, meanwhile, joined indigenous and ecological groups in Nicaragua in expressing concerns about the proposed route, suggesting the Canal could provide a new source of bilateral diplomatic tension.

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