first_imgUnder the gaze of government officials and masked policemen, Nicaraguan indigenous and Afro-Caribbean leaders say they were coerced into signing a document Sunday regarding the planned$50 billion Nicaragua Canal project that would pass through their autonomous territory.“They were intimidated in there so they felt that they had to sign,” Santiago Thomas, a Rama indigenous leader, said of those who signed the document. “They felt like they didn’t have a choice and were under pressure with the police around.”The signing came after three days of unplanned meetings on Jan. 8-10 between canal officials and community leaders from the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government (GTR-K) – the governing body for the six indigenous Rama and three Afro-Caribbean Kriol communities in Nicaragua’s Caribbean region. GTR-K leaders say they were first pressured to sign a contract consenting to the canal’s construction on their territory. After the GTR-K declined to sign, canal officials presented the community leaders with a second document, which, according to canal officials, laid out terms for future negotiations regarding the canal.Six of the nine community leaders signed, but told the Nicaraguan press on Tuesday that they cannot be sure what they agreed to because they were not allowed to review the document. In response to the incident, the GTR-K released a statement Sunday, denouncing intimidation tactics by canal officials.The GTR-K’s complaints are typical of the negotiations surrounding the canal project, which has been saddled with scandals from the beginning. Nicaragua’s legislature unilaterally granted the 50-year renewable canal concession to Chinese billionaire Wang Jing’s HKND Group in 2013 without any public consultations and before completing any feasibility studies. The government and HKND say they will push forward with canal construction at the end of 2016, despite viability concerns raised in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), as well as the sudden decline of Wang’s fortune due to fluctuations in the Chinese stock market.The canal concession granted HKND the right to expropriate land anywhere in Nicaragua, and the planned route would displace between 29,000 and 60,000 people. Unlike the other towns and farms that would be affected by the canal, the Rama-Kriol territory is protected by law. For the canal to pass through these lands legally, the government must obtain “free, prior and informed” consent from the GTR-K.Despite this law, the Rama and Kriol say that they were not allowed legal assistance during their most recent meetings regarding the canal. They were also denied time to review the full results of the ESIA, which were completed in the middle of last year.Lawyers representing the communities filed a complaint with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in June 2014 in response to the alleged entry of canal officials into Rama/Kriol territory. According to Thomas, some members of the GTR-K are considering filing another complaint following the weekend’s meetings.“Human rights have been violated,” Thomas said. “We are not going to allow our people to be taken down this way.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Journalists harassed, detained in latest chapter of Nicaragua canal saga Costa Rican officials: We still have little information about Nicaragua’s Grand Canal plans Activists visiting Washington blast Nicaragua’s $50 billion canal project as ‘illegitimate’ US concerns grow over possible Nicaragua Canal land expropriation, ambassador sayslast_img read more

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “[The NFL Experience] will not be in Glendale,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports. “It will be in Phoenix. We have not announced details of its location, but I can confirm it will not be in Glendale. Same goes for the media center.”Other events still on the table are the Super Bowl Tailgating Party and the nationally-televised NFL Honors award show. However, Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who also serves on the Super Bowl 2015 Host committee, didn’t seem too optimistic about Glendale keeping those events, either.“Glendale still hasn’t resolved those issues,” Bidwill told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Monday. “Even though we raised this back in August, they still don’t have their hotels in the room block. They still haven’t resolved their parking problem. And they’ve lost events consequently. Super Bowl 49 is only 14-and-half months away. It’s going to be around the corner here before you know it. I think the other cities are really stepping up and doing a great job. “We’re going to have terrific events in Phoenix and in Scottsdale and throughout the rest of the Valley. I’m excited about it. If Glendale chooses not to participate for whatever reason, that’s fine. It’s still going to be a terrific game. I’m hoping the Cardinals can be the first ever team to participate in a home Super Bowl.” Your browser does not support the audio element. Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling In October, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers admitted in a prepared statement that the city was partially to blame for some of the organizational issues that have arisen regarding Super Bowl XLIX events, although he reiterated that the city is ‘committed to fulfilling all of our responsibilities that were spelled out in our Super Bowl bid.’Bidwill, though, doesn’t seem so sure.“I’m very concerned,” said Bidwill. “They’ve made more decisions out there that have sort of charted the city on a course to where they’re not participating. We brought it to their attention back in August. I can’t explain some of the decisions they’re making at City Hall. They’ve chosen to take the course they’ve taken.“They say that they’re ready. Well sure, their police cars, fire trucks and things like that are ready. But they still don’t have any of the hotels in that area, in the hotel room block. They still don’t have resolved about 2,220 parking spaces that they’re short, that they should have had nailed down for the NFL three years ago.” LISTEN: Michael Bidwill, President of the Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl XLIX is a little more than a year away and already the Valley is buzzing with anticipation for its third chance to host the NFL’s most prestigious event.It seems however, that anticipation hasn’t exactly equated to preparation when it comes to the host city, Glendale.Last month,the USA TODAY published an article suggesting that the league was miffed by a general lack of leadership on the part of Glendale officials and planned to move all non-game events to nearby cities if major details — including additional access to thousands of parking spaces around University of Phoenix Stadium and guaranteed room prices at local hotels — weren’t shored up quickly. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more