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International (Forat) -A law to regulate Nicaragua's Grand Inter-Oceanic Canal, now under construction, ensures the waterway "will operate with complete neutrality to provide an international public service," Cuban state daily Granma said.
The waterway "constitutes heritage of the Nicaraguan nation and ... will include guarantees of complete neutrality and international public service, whose functioning must not be interrupted under any circumstance," the daily said.
The daily dismissed the existence of rivalry between Nicaragua and Panama, home to the 100-year-old Panama Canal.
"In regards to those attempting to foment a clash of interests between Nicaragua and Panama, (Nicaraguan) President (Daniel) Ortega made it clear that 'the Grand Inter-Oceanic Canal will be a reality and work to compliment the Panama Canal, given the increase in the demand for goods on the international market,'" Granma said.
It also rejected claims the project is failing to take into account the canal's environmental impact.
Ortega has "sent a message to all the communities in the areas along the canal route, assuring them that no one would be trampled over, or affected, as opposition groups supported by the U.S. would have people believe," the daily said, adding that to the contrary, Ortega has assured that the communities will benefit from the project.
The environmental issue "has been used as a weapon by anti-government sectors to try and confuse" residents along the canal route, Granma said, noting that Britain's Environmental Resources Management (ERM), "one of the world's most prestigious firms in the field," was brought in by the Chinese company building the canal to carry out an environmental impact study and presented its recommendations in May, including a redesign of the original project.
The official daily also presented the Nicaraguan canal as an independent Latin American initiative, in contrast to the Panama Canal, which was built and operated by the United States in an effort to exercise control over the region.
U.S. interests in the Panamanian mega project were "in no way altruistic, nor coincided with the universal idea of mutual benefit," Granma said.
"The U.S. began to actively formulate plans to turn the region into what would later come to be known as its 'backyard,' with an inter-oceanic canal constituting a key feature of these schemes," it said.
In fact, Granma said, the idea of building a canal was originally proposed in 1815 by Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar.
"This magnificent location between the two great oceans could in time become the emporium of the world. Its canals will shorten distances throughout the world; strengthen commercial ties with Europe, America and Asia; and bring that happy region tribute from the four corners of the globe...," Bolivar wrote.
Over a century later, in 1929, Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto Cesar Sandino wrote of his "plan to realize Bolivar's ultimate dream."
"Almost another century would have to pass before a Nicaraguan government, inspired by Sandino's ideas, would revive the scheme to construct a new canal in Central America to compliment the waterway which has existed in Panama since 1914," the daily said.
"Small minds and foreign interests will try to stop the process," Granma said, but the route "will make a vital contribution to the path toward peace and unity among the peoples of the world."/End/