Correa’s dream for an Ecuador-to-Brazil transcontinental highway dream could be derailed by Peruvian – Chinese train plans

May 27, 2015

From his first year in office, President Rafael Correa has talked about building a transcontinental highway from the country’s Pacific coast to Brazil. In 2008, he discussed the plan with Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva, and plans were subsequently drawn up with the port of Manta at the western end of the road.

Suggested route for Peru to Brazil rail line.

Suggested route for Peru to Brazil rail line.

Talk of the project drew strong criticism from environmentalists who said the project would cause irreparable harm to the Amazon regions of Ecuador and Brazil.

Correa’s plan, which he talked about as lately as February, could be at a dead end if a new plan for a transcontinental train, funded by China, that would connect Peru to Brazil goes forward.

Last week, China and Peru said they would conduct a feasibility study of a route beginning in Lima. China said it would foot the bill. The plan was announced following talks between Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Lima.

The plan drew immediately opposition from environmental groups, including Amazon Watch and the World Wildlife Fund, with similar objections that had greeted Ecuador’s plan eight years ago. “The route they are suggesting would devastate wildlife and would disrupt indigenous communities that have had very little contact with the outside world,” according to Amazon Watch’s Gerty McCloud. “We will do everything in our power to make sure this does not happen.”

Talks between Humala and Li Keqiang also focused on cooperation in the oil, forestry, mining, agriculture, and fishery sectors of the Peruvian economy, the two leaders said