He believes in an interconnected Latin America--integrated through infrastructure. He also believes that economic and social development will come from that network of engineering and construction. Eduardo Eurnekian began his career working in the family textile business and today he operates airports, has mining and agricultural projects, is the owner of a multimedia corporation and a biodiesel plant. He recently bought a winery and is now immersed in what will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in South America: the Bioceanic Aconcagua Corridor, a tunnel that will traverse the Andes Mountains and open at the Pacific Ocean, 5,100 kilometers (3,168 miles) south of the Panama Canal.
"Latin America needs to become connected," Eurnekian tells Latin Trade from his office in the Palermo neighborhood in Buenos Aires. "We have to look toward the interior of Latin America. I cannot imagine this region with double the population, a developed interior with prosperous cities without the necessary communication," he says.
He emphasizes the need for railroads, roadways, tunnels, connectivity, airports and large-scale infrastructure projects that bore through the hemisphere's center, stretching from north to south and east to west. Eurnekian stresses the need for large-scale projects that generate business, employment, development and that lead to better living standards.
Talk soon turns to the subject of the corridor, a $4.2 billion rail project that will run across the Argentina-Chile border. Bidding on this project begins mid-year. This project was conceived out of the need to transport products from the Southern Cone to the Pacific year-round via a route that would be closer than Panama and less expensive and complicated than the Strait of Magellan route in southern Patagonia. Although there are many passes along the 3,200-mile border between the two countries, the Cristo Redentor in Mendoza, which is generally used to transport cargo, suffers frequent shutdowns during the winter months due to the heavy snowstorms at its 3,200-meters (10,500-feet) altitude.
Eurnekian does not know if this project is the culmination of his long career, but it is what enthusiastically consumes him today. He believes that Argentina needs such projects. The businessman emphasizes that there is much construction to be done in the variety of investment opportunities that Argentina offers. "Argentina has an enormous ichthyological potential...