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Chinese checkers

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Chinese companies are involved in several of the biggest projects in Central America and Mexico.

Profit is always a motive for investment.

In this case, China may also want to send a message to Washington.

In Nicaragua, Hong Kong-based HKND has a contract to build and run a supercanal, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

China Harbour Engineering Company wants to connect the two oceans, using a Honduran railroad.

Chinese interests.

In Costa Rica, China National Petroleum Company is the 50% partner in a plan, to build a $1.5 billion oil refinery.

Both China Harbour and China National Petroleum are controlled by the Chinese state.

Chinese interests are also behind proposed rail links in Mexico and Guatemala.

Of these projects, the Nicaraguan canal is most likely to succeed.

Most Nicaraguans support president Daniel Ortega, who supports the idea.

It would be a huge undertaking, longer and higher than the Panama Canal.

But a Nicaraguan canal would get traffic from ships, which are too big to go through Panama.

China might want to invest in the shortest route between Asia and the East coast of the Americas.

China may also want to send a message to Washington.

If the United States opposes Chinese interests in the South China Sea, Beijing will seek opportunities in the Caribbean.