Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Geography and the Environment

First Advisor

Matthew J. Taylor, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lynn Holland

Third Advisor

Andrew Goetz

Fourth Advisor

Eric Boschmann


Nicaragua, China, Canal


This research investigates the political economy of Nicaragua's development, with specific emphasis on Venezuela and China's influence, energy policy, and environmental and social justice related to the Nicaragua canal. The first section focuses on the political economy of the current Ortega administration in Nicaragua, as part of the return of left-leaning leadership in Latin America since the early 2000s. This study examines the Ortega administration's selective interpretation of the concept of imperialism and its effect on the environment as it pertains to US interests, Venezuelan oil financing and socialist rhetoric, and China's control over a large piece of Nicaraguan territory to build an interoceanic canal. The next section uses political ecology to address how Nicaragua has balanced its aggressive renewable energy initiative in light of Venezuela's large-scale funding of the Ortega regime from its oil revenues in exchange for an ideological alliance through ALBA and access to the Pacific coast for oil exports to China. Part three of this research focuses on China's involvement in the Nicaragua canal. Nicaragua's Ortega administration granted a massive concession to Chinese company HKND to build the elusive "grand canal" across Nicaragua, though various national interests have pursued the interoceanic canal for centuries. The fourth and final section focuses on the social, environmental, and political issues surrounding the legal concession granted to the Chinese company HKND to build the interoceanic canal.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sarah McCall Harris


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

164 p.


Geography, Latin American studies, International relations