The Nicaraguan canal will cut through farmers’ lands, rain forest, Central America’s largest reservoir, wetlands and indigenous communities. It has been described as a fight of David – the local peasants – against Goliath – Chinese developer Wang Jing and the Nicaraguan government. Authorities in the second poorest country in Latin America estimate the project will lift more than 400,000 people out of general poverty by 2018. But many don’t think they will reap the fruits of such development. Sink or swim: Hong Kong company defies the doomsayers on Nicaragua Canal project Hundreds of farmers have marched against the project, with many getting arrested and injured in clashes with the police since 2014, when work started. They fear losing their homes as well as prime farmlands and, in case they are relocated, not getting fair compensation. A petition with some 28,000 signatures against the canal was handed to the Nicaraguan National Assembly in April. But the executive vice-president of the HKND Group, Pang Kwok-wai, promised to respect all Nicaraguans. “We are making our best efforts in listening to their opinions and constantly addressing their concerns … We are going to pay a fair market price for the land,” Pang said. Estimates of how many residents will be displaced range from nearly 30,000 to more than 100,000 people. “They want to run us off our properties — to scatter us like birds without a nest,” resident Albalina Espinoza told news outlet Fusion in November 2014. “My family has lived here for more than 100 years, and we would rather die here fighting than get forced off our land,” she said. Wang coy on past, confident on ambitious Nicaragua canal project Farmers have urged the government to repeal The Canal Concession Law. “As long as this law exists, we don’t feel like we’re the owners of our own lands,” said Francisca Ramírez, a leader of the movement against the canal, during a protest in April. Pang said land expropriation would follow the canal construction schedule. “We will only take the minimum land as required at the right time, contrary to the false accusations about our greediness to grab as much land as possible,” he said. “We want to be fair, just and comply with best international practice … to make the project a success for everybody,” Pang insisted.