Nicaragua

For more than three decades, a group of engineers has been transforming the municipal region of El Cuá, in Nicaragua’s northern highlands, by building a series of small hydroelectric plants. Thirty years ago, El Cuá was home to just 3,000 people. Since electrification, it has thrived: around 40,000 people live there now and they enjoy a higher standard of living. Electricity powers businesses and schools, refrigerates food and improves communication and information links.

Jorge Mejia Peralta / Flickr

  The Panama Canal marked its centennial this year. But another place engineers have always wanted to build a waterway across Central America is Nicaragua. Construction on a Nicaragua canal started last week – and so did protests, there and here.

The Nicaragua Grand Canal, as it’s called, will cost an estimated $50 billion. And at 173 miles it will be more than five times longer than the Panama Canal.

Roberto Koltun/The Miami Herald

Jose Antonio Machado was brought to Miami as an undocumented immigrant from Matagalpa, Nicaragua, when he was six years old. He grew up here with his mother, Melba, also an indocumentada, until she was deported two years ago after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

“I expected her home at 11:15 p.m. that night,” says Machado, now an 18-year-old who graduated this month from Miami Senior High School. “Eventually I fell asleep. The next morning I realized she wasn’t there.”