[Ed. – It’s very interesting to see the hostile skepticism in the media over this project. They’ve talked themselves into a position that it can’t really happen at every step of the process. Yet it’s going forward.]
Work officially began this week. But reporters hoping to see any evidence of how it would be done in a fraction of the time it took to build the much-shorter Panama Canal, or discover who would pay for it, were left with more questions than answers.
At events marking the start of what is meant to be a five- year job, Nicaraguan officials and the Hong Kong-based company behind the canal dodged questions about its financial backers, mounting delays and whether Washington had been consulted. …
Supporters point to Monday’s start as evidence that the plan is on schedule. But key feasibility studies on the canal have been pushed back to next April, and excavation work is not due to begin until the second half of next year.
At 172 miles (278 km), the waterway is over three times the length of the 100-year-old Panama Canal, which was completed by the United States 34 years after French engineers began it.
The five-year timetable in Nicaragua has led many to surmise the Chinese government is secretly bankrolling the plan, which both China and Wang have repeatedly denied. …
China’s involvement would be a direct challenge to the United States, which controlled the Panama Canal until 1999.
The U.S. Embassy declined to comment, even though Nicaragua says the United States has welcomed the project.