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Continued: Nicaragua approves handing massive canal project to little-known Chinese company

  • Article by: LUIS MANUEL GALEANO , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 13, 2013 - 8:04 PM

Panama and Nicaragua were the top contenders for the route of a trans-ocean canal from the first arrival of Europeans in Latin America. A French company began excavating the Panama canal in 1880 but work was halted by rampant tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. The project was sold for $40 million to the United States, which finished it in 1914.

Historians say 5,609 people, mainly West Indian workers, died during its construction, on top of the 22,000 dead during the period of French control.

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Correspondents Mark Stevenson in Mexico City, Joe McDonald in Beijing and Juan Zamorano in Panama City contributed to this report.

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  • People push a boat into Lake Nicaragua, near Granada, Nicaragua. A multi-billion dollar Chinese plan to plow a massive rival to the Panama Canal across the middle of Nicaragua was approved Thursday by the leftist-controlled National Assembly.

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