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Tony Cardenas
Secrecy and doubt shroud Nicaragua's huge canal plans

The Chinese engineers passed by Antonio Cardenas' dusty plot of land the other day. They didn't say anything to him. They never do. In this town on Nicaragua's Pacific coast, a withering drought is scorching farmland and parching cattle. Once-green fields have turned yellow-brown. The Brito River is nothing but a dry ravine. But the Chinese engineers and the people who hired them see something different. They see a $50-billion shipping canal that would divide Nicaragua in two as it traveled from the Pacific to the Caribbean, bisect Central America's largest lake like an engineering Moses, and dwarf the 100-year-old Panama Canal. Cardenas, 32, grew up on this land....

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