Bunau-Varilla knew that publicizing the incident would alter the American Canal vote. Nicaraguan officials immediately began denying reports of the volcanic eruption, and Bunau-Varilla was left struggling for a way to counter the Nicaraguan cover-up. Luckily, he remembered once seeing a Nicaraguan postage stamp featuring Mt. Momotombo, which conveniently depicted with smoke rising from the top. After rummaging through stamp shops in Washington, D.C., he found the one he was looking for and promptly purchased 90 copies. Bunau-Varilla actively campaigned throughout the Northeast, carrying pictures and postage stamps of Nicaragua's Mt. Momotombo spewing ash and lava over the proposed route.
All 45 U.S. senators received the Mt. Momotombo stamp, complete with Bunau-Varilla’s caption, “An official witness to volcanic activity in Nicaragua.” This volcano, they were told, would threaten the canal route.
On June 19, 1902, the Senate voted to change the location of the canal, and the Panama route won. $ 40 million was appropriated to the Buneau-Varilla's New Panama Canal Company, under the Spooner Act of 1902.
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