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#150: Panama Breaks With Colombia, Clearing Way for the Panama Canal

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Construction on the Panama Canal in 1913
Construction on the Panama Canal in 1913

BOB DOUGHTY: Welcome to the MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.

Theodore Roosevelt became president of the United States at the beginning of the nineteen hundreds. He firmly believed in expanding American power in the world.

西奥多.罗斯福在20世纪初成为美国总统。他坚信,美国必须扩展在全世界的影响力。

To do this, he wanted a strong navy. And he wanted a waterway that would let the navy sail quickly between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

为此,他需要一支强大的海军,以及一条可以让海军在大西洋和太平洋之间迅速穿行的运河。

Roosevelt decided to build that waterway.

罗斯福决定修一条这样的运河。

This week in our series, Richard Rael and Maurice Joyce tell the story of the Panama Canal.

RICHARD RAEL: For many years, people had dreamed of building a canal across Central America to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The most likely place was at the thinnest point of land: Panama. Another possible place was to the north: Nicaragua. President Roosevelt appointed a committee to decide which place would be better.

多年以来,人们梦想修建一条横跨中美洲,连接大西洋和太平洋的运河。而最有可能修建运河的地方位于美洲大陆最狭窄的地方:巴拿马。另外一个地点在稍微靠北的尼加拉瓜。罗斯福总统指派一个委员会专门研究哪个地方更适合修建运河。

Engineers said it would cost less to complete a canal that had been started in the eighteen eighties in Panama. But, the United States would have to buy the land and building rights from a French company. The price was high: more than one hundred million dollars.

工程师们认为,如果在19世纪80年代德·雷赛布在巴拿马修运河的地方接着把运河修完,整体花费就能小一些。不过,要这么做,美国就必须从一家法国公司购买这片土地的所有权和运河的修建权。这笔费用很昂贵,超过一亿美元。

So, the committee decided it would be less costly, overall, to build a canal in Nicaragua. The proposal went to the United States Congress for approval.

所以,运河研究委员会最后决定,从总体上算,还是在尼加拉瓜修运河比较省钱。于是这个计划被提交给美国国会,等待批准。

MAURICE JOYCE: The House of Representatives quickly passed a bill to build the Nicaragua canal. Then the French company reduced its price for the land and building rights in Panama. It decided some money was better than no money at all.

国会众议院迅速通过了修建尼加拉瓜运河的议案。可就在这时,法国那家公司降低了在巴拿马修运河的土地费和建筑权费,因为能得到一些钱总比一分钱都拿不到强。

President Roosevelt was pleased. He gave his support to the Panama plan. When the Senate began debate, however, it appeared the Nicaragua plan would win.

罗斯福非常高兴。他表示支持在巴拿马修运河的计划。不过,在参议院开始就运河问题展开辩论后,议员们似乎更倾向于尼加拉瓜运河计划。

Then a volcano exploded in the Caribbean area. A city was destroyed. Thirty-thousand people were killed. Soon, reports said another volcano had become active and was threatening a town. The volcano was in Nicaragua.

此时,加勒比海地区一座火山喷发,摧毁了一座城市,导致三万人死亡。很快,有报导说,另外一座火山也进入了活跃期,威胁一个城镇的安全,而这座火山就在尼加拉瓜。

Nicaragua's president denied there were any active volcanoes in his country. But one of Nicaragua's postal stamps showed a picture of an exploding volcano.

尼加拉瓜总统否认这些说法。他说,尼加拉瓜根本没有活火山。然而,尼加拉瓜却发行过一枚邮票,上面就印着火山喷发的景象。

A photo dated 1902 shows smoke coming from the Momotombo volcano, the
A photo dated 1902 shows smoke coming from the Momotombo volcano, the "smoking terror" in Nicaragua

That little stamp weakened support for the Nicaragua canal. The Senate passed a bill for a Panama canal instead. The House of Representatives changed its earlier decision. It approved the Senate bill.

这枚小小的邮票削弱了人们对尼加拉瓜运河计划的支持。美国参议院通过了在巴拿马修建运河的议案。众议院也修改了其先前的决定,同意了参议院的议案。

RICHARD RAEL: At that time, Panama was a state of Colombia. Canal negotiations between America and Colombia did not go smoothly. After nine months, the United States threatened to end the talks and begin negotiations with Nicaragua. The threat worked.

当时,巴拿马还是哥伦比亚的一个州。美国和哥伦比亚关于修建运河的谈判进行得不顺利。在谈了9个月后,美国威胁说,如果再谈不拢,美国就要终止谈判,去和尼加拉瓜谈运河的事。这个威胁奏效了。

In January nineteen-oh-three, Colombia signed a treaty to permit the United States to build the Panama Canal. The treaty gave the United States a canal zone. This was a piece of land ten kilometers wide across Panama. The United States could use the canal zone for one hundred years. In exchange, it would pay Colombia ten million dollars, plus two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year.

1903年1月,哥伦比亚在协定上签字,允许美国修建巴拿马运河。协定使美国获得了一个宽10公里、横跨巴拿马的运河区。美国对这个地区有100年的使用权。作为交换,美国付给哥伦比亚一千万美元,每年还要额外支付25万美元。

The United States Senate passed the treaty within two months. The Colombian Senate rejected it. The Colombian government demanded more money.

美国参议院两个月后批准了这项协定,可是哥伦比亚参议院却拒绝这么做。接着,哥伦比亚政府要求美国支付更多的钱。

MAURICE JOYCE: President Roosevelt was furious. He saw the issue in terms of world politics, not simply Colombia's sovereignty. He said: "I do not think Colombia should be permitted to bar permanently one of the future highways of civilization."

罗斯福为此大为恼火,他认为这件事并不仅仅关乎哥伦比亚主权,还影响到整个世界的政治格局。他说:"我认为,哥伦比亚不能永远阻碍这条通往文明的未来之路。"

Roosevelt was ready to take over Panama to build the canal.

罗斯福决定将巴拿马从哥伦比亚手里抢过来,修建运河。

That was not necessary. A revolt was being planned in Panama to gain independence from Colombia. The United States made no promises to support the rebels. But it wanted the rebels to succeed.

然而,还没等他动手,巴拿马已经在酝酿革命,打算脱离哥伦比亚成为独立国家了。美国没有承诺支持革命分子,但希望他们成功。

Under an old treaty, Colombia had given the United States the right to prevent interference with travel across Panama. Now, the United States used the old treaty to prevent interference from Colombian troops. Several American warships were sent to Panama.

根据美国和哥伦比亚以前签定的一项条约,如果人们在巴拿马旅行受到干扰,美国有权制止干扰行为。现在,美国就用这个条约来对付哥伦比亚军队。若干美国战舰被派往巴拿马。

RICHARD RAEL: The local leader of the Panamanian revolt was Manuel Amador. Amador had the support of the French company that still owned the rights to build the Panama Canal. The chief representative of the company was Philippe Bunau-Varilla. He worked closely with an American lawyer, William Cromwell.

巴拿马革命力量的领导人是曼努埃尔·阿马多尔,他得到了依然拥有巴拿马运河修建权的法国公司的支持。这家公司的首席代表是菲利普.比诺-巴里利亚,他的得力工作伙伴是美国律师威廉.克伦威尔。

Bunau-Varilla and Cromwell provided Manuel Amador with a declaration of independence, a constitution, and money. Amador used the money to buy the support of the Colombian military commander in Panama City, the capital. He also got the support of the governor, who agreed to let himself be arrested on the day of the revolt.

比诺-巴里利亚和克伦威尔为阿马多尔写好了独立宣言、宪法,还给他提供了资金。阿马多尔用这笔钱收买了巴拿马首府巴拿马城的哥伦比亚军队指挥官。他还得到了巴拿马州长的支持。州长同意,在起义爆发的那天,自己将束手就擒。

Amador formed a small army of railroad workers and fire fighters.

阿马多尔组织铁路工人和消防员,成立了一支人数不多革命军。

The rebel army planned to take over Panama City on November fourth, nineteen-oh-three. Just before that date, five hundred Colombian soldiers landed at Colon, eighty kilometers away.

他们计划1903年11月4号夺取巴拿马城的控制权。然而,就在起义开始前,500名哥伦比亚军人登陆距离巴拿马城80公里的科隆港。

The soldiers could not get to Panama City, however. All but one railroad car had been moved to the capital.

不过他们去不了巴拿马城,因为几乎所有火车都已经被调进巴拿马城了,在科隆只剩下一节车厢。

MAURICE JOYCE: Manuel Amador gave a signal. The revolution began. There was a little shooting, but no one was hurt. Most of the shots were fired into the air to celebrate the call for Panama's independence. Colombian officials were arrested quickly. Then Amador made a speech. He said:

阿马多尔一声令下,起义开始了。虽然开了枪,但是没人受伤。大部分枪都是冲天开的,为的是庆祝巴拿马的独立诉求。哥伦比亚官员很快就被逮捕了。然后,阿马多尔发表了演讲。

Theodore Roosevelt, left, stands with Manuel Amador, center
Theodore Roosevelt, left, stands with Manuel Amador, center

"Yesterday, we were slaves of Colombia. Today, we are free. President Theodore Roosevelt has kept his word. Long live the Republic of Panama! Long live President Roosevelt!"

他说:"昨天,我们是哥伦比亚的奴隶。今天,我们是自由人了。西奥多.罗斯福总统言而有信。巴拿马共和国万岁!罗斯福总统万岁!"

Colombia asked the United States to help it re-gain control of Panama. The United States refused. It said it would oppose any attempt by Colombia to send more forces there.

哥伦比亚请求美国帮助它夺回对巴拿马的控制权。美国拒绝了,并表示,美国反对哥伦比亚一切向巴拿马增兵的企图。

The United States also recognized Panama's independence. And, almost immediately, it started negotiations with the new government on a canal treaty.

美国还承认巴拿马独立,并几乎马上开始同新成立的巴拿马政府就运河事宜展开谈判。

RICHARD RAEL: The two sides reached agreement quickly. The treaty was almost the same as the one the Colombian Senate had rejected earlier. This time, however, the canal zone would be sixteen kilometers wide, instead of ten. And the United States would get permanent control of the canal zone.

双方很快达成了协议。这次达成的协议和之前被哥伦比亚参议院拒绝的协议几乎一模一样,不同之处在于,原先10公里宽的运河区被加大到了16公里,而且美国将永远对这一区域拥有控制权。

The treaty was signed on November eighteenth, nineteen-oh-three. That was just fifteen days after Panama declared its independence.

1903年11月18号,也就是巴拿马宣布独立仅仅15天之后,双方在协议上签字。

MAURICE JOYCE: Colombia protested. It said the United States had acted illegally in Panama. Many American citizens protested, too. They called President Roosevelt a pirate. They said he had acted shamefully.

哥伦比亚对此表示抗议,说美国在巴拿马的所作所为是非法的。许多美国人也不满美国在巴拿马的行为,说罗斯福是个行为令人不齿的海盗。

Some members of Congress questioned the administration's deal with the French canal company in Panama. Several investigations examined the deal.

一些美国国会议员对罗斯福政府同法国运河公司在巴拿马达成的协议提出质疑,并几次对该协议进行调查。

Theodore Roosevelt did not care. He was proud of his success in getting the canal started. He said: "I took the canal zone and let Congress debate. And while the debate goes on, so does work on the canal."

而罗斯福总统并不在意这些反对和怀疑。他为自己能开启运河工程而自豪。他说:"我拿到了运河区,让国会去辩论好了。他们在那儿继续辩论,我这边的运河工程就继续进行。"

RICHARD RAEL: It took ten years for the United States to complete the Panama Canal. The first ship passed through it in August, nineteen fourteen.

美国花10年时间修完了巴拿马运河,1914年8月,运河通航。

A ship entering the completed Gatun Lock on the Panama Canal
A ship entering the completed Gatun Lock on the Panama Canal

In that same year, the United States signed an agreement with Colombia. The agreement expressed America's regret for its part in the Panamanian revolution. And it provided a payment of twenty-five million dollars to Colombia.

同年,美国与哥伦比亚签署一项协议。美国对支持巴拿马独立革命表示道歉,并支付给哥伦比亚两千五百万美元。

Theodore Roosevelt was no longer president when the agreement was signed. But he still had many friends in the Senate. He got them to reject it.

协议签署时,罗斯福已经不是美国总统了,不过他在参议院朋友众多,于是他利用自己的关系网,让参议院否决了这项协议。

After Roosevelt's death, the United States signed another agreement with Colombia. The new agreement included the payment of twenty-five million dollars. It did not include the statement of regret. The Senate approved the new agreement.

罗斯福去世后,美国同哥伦比亚签定了另外一份协议。新协议包含美国支付两千五百万美元的内容,但是不包括向哥伦比亚道歉的内容。美国参议院批准了这份协议。

MAURICE JOYCE: The issue of America's involvement in Panama caused much bitterness in other countries of Latin America. Some did not feel safe from American interference. President Roosevelt said the United States would not interfere with any nation that kept order and paid what it owed.

然而,美国参与巴拿马革命的行为让其它拉丁美州国家感到十分不满。一些国家觉得,美国的干预会威胁到它们的安全。对此,罗斯福总统表示,对那些遵守秩序、欠债必还的国家,美国不会干预其事务。

Roosevelt was worried because some Latin American countries were having difficulty re-paying loans from European banks. He did not want the issue of non-payment used as an excuse for European countries to seize new territory in the western hemisphere.

当时一些拉美国家无法偿还欧洲各银行发放的贷款,这令罗斯福感到担心。他不希望欧洲国家以不还债为借口在西半球攫取新的地盘。

Roosevelt said the United States was responsible for making sure the debts were paid. His policy led to further United States involvement in Latin America.

罗斯福说,美国有责任确保拉美各国偿还这些贷款。他的政策使美国进一步卷入拉美国家的事务。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Richard Rael and Maurice Joyce. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at www.unsv.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English.

Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

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