Nicaragua Canal

(P1) Manuel Coronel Kautz isn’t a man who GIVES UP easily. This is a good thing. Because as head of Nicaragua’s CANAL Authority, he’s seen the $50 billion project suffer SETBACK after setback. The latest: 12 months of construction delays.

(P2) “SKEPTICISM about the canal will fade as things start happening,” Kautz said.

(P3) Three years after President Daniel Ortega awarded the construction contract for the 170-mile long project to the Hong Kong-based HKND Group, PRELIMINARY studies are nearing completion, Kautz said. Chinese officials who traveled to Nicaragua last month visited the Pacific Coast town of Brito, where construction on the PORT where the canal will join the ocean is now scheduled to begin in December, about a year later than originally planned.

(P4) The VIABILITY of the project, which would be 300 miles (480 kilometers) from the century-old Panama Canal, has been questioned by shipping experts and ENGINEERS since Ortega first announced his plans.

(P5) BACKERS say the canal will attract larger ships that wouldn’t be able to fit through a new set of LOCKS on the Panama Canal — a $5.3 billion project that is itself nearly two years behind schedule. A new canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would provide a significant BOOST to Nicaragua’s $12 billion economy.

(P6) Kautz said that most of the financing would now probably come from private funding. He said the project could be divided into several phases so smaller sums of money can be raised for each phase.

(P7) Anti-canal protests continued in January. A survey by Cid Gallup and published in newspaper Confidencial showed that 34 percent of respondents considered the canal to be “pure PROPAGANDA.” Skeptical residents say the canal is a plan by Ortega to DRUM UP support ahead of November’s presidential election. But a separate study published by the government said that 81 percent of Nicaraguans support the canal.

(P8) “I think the canal only exists in Ortega’s head,” said 24-year-old university student Yader Sequeira. “Absolutely nothing is happening.”

(P9) Kautz doesn’t see it that way.

(P10) “Things are being prepared to start at the end of this year, starting with the port on the Pacific coast,” he said. “Things are moving forward.”

WORDS: 363

SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-08/china-s-faltering-but-nicaragua-isn-t-giving-up-on-canal-plans


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. This canal would be one of the major engineering FEATS in the history of mankind. Do you think it will be built?
  3. China is investing money all over the world. Why?
  4. How much of what politicians say do you believe?
  5. Have there been any large public construction projects in your city or country recently?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Give up
  • Drum up

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