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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Panama: il canale si fa grande

Sono iniziati lunedì i lavori di ampliamento del Canale di Panama. Come nelle migliori occasioni le celebrazioni si sono sprecate, con fuochi d’artificio ed esplosioni (reali) di dinamite davanti ad una selezionata platea di ospiti d’onore: Jimmy Carter, Álvaro Uribe, Daniel Ortega, Antonio Saca oltre a cinquantamila panamensi in festa. Per Martin Torrijos, figlio d’arte, si tratta senza dubbio di un’operazione di popolarità senza precedenti. Per lui, la Storia ha tracciato una ideale continuità con il padre Omar, che
nell’ottobre 1979 aveva firmato con Carter la consegna del canale a Panama.
Quale sarà l’impatto ambientale dei lavori? La domanda è passata sempre in secondo piano in questi anni di progettazione. Sul tavolo sono infatti in gioco commesse per 5250 milioni di dollari, sufficienti per mettere da parte qualsiasi rimostranza. La carica di dinamite di inaugurazione, azionata dallo stesso Torrijos, ha tranciato in due la cima del cerro Paraíso ed intanto, primo giorno di lavoro e primo morto. Il suo nome: Luis Gómez, 44 anni, fulminato da una scarica elettrica.
Eppure, il futuro del canale passa giocoforza per il rispetto dell’ambiente. Ogni nave che attraversa le chiuse ha bisogno di 196 milioni di litri di acqua, che si ottengono grazie alla perfetta comunione tra la foresta tropicale che richiama le piogge e riversa le acque nel lago Gatún, cuore naturale del canale. Negli ultimi anni Panama ha vissuto una deforestazione selvaggia e si teme che questo sistema naturale non riesca più a funzionare.
Gli interessi però sono ingenti e la manodopera assicurata per i prossimi dieci anni concede al progetto un quasi completo appoggio popolare. Resta da verificare se, una volta terminata l’ampliazione, il bacino del Gatún potrà sopportare il traffico.
Al momento, dal canale di Panama passa il 5% del commercio mondiale marittimo, trasportato da circa tredicimila navi (una media di 35 al giorno). I lavori termineranno nel 2014.

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