Under the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty (1916), the United States paid Nicaragua $3 million for an option in perpetuity and free of taxation, including 99-year leases to the Corn Islands and a site for a naval base on the Gulf of Fonseca. Costa Rica protested that Costa Rican rights to the San Juan River were infringed, and El Salvador maintained that the proposed naval base affected both it and Honduras. Both protests were upheld by the Central American Court of Justice. The court rulings were ignored by Nicaragua and the United States. The action was bitterly criticized by Latin Americans and others as an example of U.S. imperialism. A possible route was surveyed in the early 1930s, and a barge canal was proposed later in the decade. In 1970 the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty was rescinded.
In 2013, Nicaragua granted the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. a 50-year concession for the building of the Nicaragua Canal. The company subsequently proposed (2014) a route that would begin at Punta Gorda on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast (more than 40 mi/65 km N of the San Juan River's mouth), cross Lake Nicaragua, and then enter the Pacific at Brito.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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