Panama History Part 2

By | November 23, 2021

Republican era

Panama Canal

Once the separation of Panama from Colombia was declared, the new government, through its plenipotentiary ambassador Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, achieved the signing of the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty for the construction of an interoceanic canal through the isthmus with the government of the United States of America.

In 1904 the construction of the Panama Canal began by the Americans, a work considered the eighth wonder of the world. The French had started this gigantic project, but the weather, tropical diseases, and misappropriation of funds prevented them from completing the work. The Americans took note and decided to continue with the construction of the Canal and the development of the Panama Canal Zone. This period changed Panama forever, becoming a bridge to the world.

The canal treaties granted the administration of a 10-mile-wide strip of land along the interoceanic waterway to the United States government. The political controversies arising from the interpretation of the treaties were considered a threat to Panamanian sovereignty and accentuated the differences between the authorities of the Isthmus and those of the Canal Zone. In 1914, President Belisario Porras raised for the first time the need for a new treaty on the Panama Canal.

The 28 of July of 1926 was signed Alfaro-Kellogg Treaty between the governments of Panama and the United States. It regulated the procedure for the expropriation of land for the operation of the Canal; the establishment of companies; the granting of customs facilities for Panama; the use of coins, among others. But it was finally rejected by the National Assembly of Panama.

The Arias-Roosevelt Treaty of 1936, signed by Presidents Harmodio Arias Madrid of Panama and Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States, annuls the principle of US military intervention in the internal affairs of the Panamanian state, changing the legal concept of a country protected by States. United but the Canal Zone is still the soil of US military bases. In the North American Canal Zone, the School of the Americas was installed , where those who carried out repressive actions, disappearances and torture in Latin America during the 60s, 70s and 80s were trained.

The 9 of January of 1964, students of the National Institute lead a movement demanding the raising of the Panamanian flag alongside the US in the channel, according to the Chiari-Kennedy Agreement of 1962, ending in student riots and clashes with the population civil. As a measure to control the situation, the governor of the Canal Zone authorizes the US army to open fire on Panamanian civilians, leaving 21 dead and more than 300 wounded.

The President of Panama Roberto F. Chiari breaks diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declares that they will not be restarted until it is agreed to open negotiations for a new treaty. In April of that year, both nations resumed diplomatic relations and US President Lyndon Johnson agreed to start talks with the purpose of eliminating the causes of conflict between the two nations.

The November from October of 1968, just a few days after taking office Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid, middle managers of the National Guard, led by Boris Martinez dan dan a military coup. In the official communiqué, the rebels indicated that the attempt to violate the popular will in the legislative elections, as well as the illegal integration of the Electoral Tribunal as a cause of the rebellion. A year later, Brigadier General Omar Torrijos assumes command of the National Guard.

In 1972 the military government of General Torrijos issued a new political constitution in which he was recognized as the leader of the revolutionary process of October 11 and head of the Panamanian state. Torrijos pressed and achieved the recognition of Panamanian sovereignty over the Canal.

In 1977, General Torrijos as head of state of Panama and the president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, signed the Torrijos-Carter Treaties that establish the handover of the administration of the Panama Canal and the closure of all military bases. Americans in Panamanian territory. In 1981 General Torrijos died in an airplane accident of which numerous authors point to the North American government as guilty.

North American invasion

In August of 1983 he amounted to commander in chief of the National Guard four – star general, Manuel Antonio Noriega, transforming the armed forces in Panama Defense Forces. General Noriega was accused of being a drug trafficker by the United States government but he was a former CIA agent with whom they finally came into contradictions.

The 19 as December as 1989 began the American bombing simultaneous Panama. Thus began the US military invasion in that territory. The president of the United States, George Bush, announced that his forces in Panama had the objective of capturing Manuel Antonio Noriega and protecting “North American interests” in that country.

In the days immediately following the invasion, the US military command, and in particular Brigadier General Marc Anthony Cisneros, had expressed sarcastically and contempt for the enemy that at the beginning of the attack he would be having a beer and at the end of his punitive work he would return as quick, it would still be cold. But the calculations of the northern strategist faced national resistance, which showed courage and bravery despite its superiority in numbers and arms. Stealth ghost planes burst into Panamanian airspace causing fear, weapons of mass destruction were tested, it was a laboratory that tested advances to produce death. Two years later they would do it with lethal efficiency in Iraq.

The military mobilization took approximately two weeks and more than 3,000 casualties are estimated, the vast majority civilians from the poorest areas of the country. The name of the operation was “Just Cause.”

Guillermo Endara, assumed the presidency from a North American aircraft carrier and issued an executive decree, with which the Defense Forces of Panama were abolished with retroactive effect to December 22, 1989 and in its place a National Police (PN), a National Maritime Service (SMN), a National Air Service (SAN) and an Institutional Protection Service (SPI), later on November 15, 1992 a referendum on constitutional reforms was held, including the abolition of the Army, which it was rejected by almost 60% of the votes, some time later the old ‘legislative assembly’ approved the abolition of the army.

Recent history

Mireya Moscoso, widow of former President Arnulfo Arias, wins the elections in 1999, becoming the first woman to preside over the Panamanian government. His links with extremist sectors of the Cubans in Miami were evidenced by the amnesty of a group of notorious terrorists, among whom was Luis Posada Carriles, arrested when they were preparing an attack against Cuban President Fidel Castro on Panamanian soil.

The 31 of December of 1999, in compliance with the Torrijos-Carter treaties the Republic of Panama assumed full control of the Panama Canal.

In May of the 2004 wins the election the lawyer Martin Torrijos Espino, son of General Omar Torrijos. He held the position from September of the same year, until June 30, 2009.

Ricardo Martinelli, a millionaire businessman who won elections in May of 2009, takes over administration of the government since day one of July 2009 until 2014. One of its first measures was to withdraw Panama from the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) for the benefit of the most humble sectors of the Panamanian people and eliminate health collaboration programs with Cuba) [1] , which constitutes a setback for the integrationist process undertaken in the Latin American region. As a country located in Central America according to, Panama joined this mechanism 16 years ago, in which there are legislators from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Following the presidential elections on 4 of maypole of 2014, Juan Carlos Varela, to the front of the alliance between the Party Panameñista and the Popular Party, won the victory to the beat ruling party candidate José Domingo Arias with 39.11% of the votes cast. He assumed the position of president on July 1, 2014, succeeding Ricardo Martinelli.

Panama History 2