Panama

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Panama is a country in Central America carved out of Columbia by the United States to protect its interests in the Panama Canal, which was begun by a private French firm but eventually completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The completed Panama Canal was opened in 1914. In 1999, the Panama Canal's jurisdiction reverted from the US to Panama.

Shortly after Reagan's inauguration Panama's leader Torrijos died in a plane crash that was suspiciously similar to the one in which the Ecuadorean president died at around the same time. This has been explained in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man as a CIA action.

Panama dominated the headlines in 1989 when the U.S. invaded Panama in search of its dictator General Manuel Noriega. Noriega had been a faithful servant of the CIA and was also a key player on behalf of the MedellĂ­n drug cartel and thus had to be neutralized. Captured in 1989 and brought to the United States, Noriega was tried and convicted on eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering.

Contents

Background

  • Population: 2.9 million (2000), 4.3 million (2025)
  • Infant Mortality Rate: 18 per 1000

Government

Panama has a presidential constitutional system with a directly elected President and unicameral 78 seat Legislative Assembly.

May 2, 2004 Legislative Assembly Election

Party 1999 2004
  Arnulfista Party (PA)
18
17
  Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)
34
40
  Christian Democratic Party (PDC)
5
0
  Solidarity Party (PS)
4
8
  Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (MOLIRENA) 
3
3
  National Liberal Party (PLN)
3
1
  Democratic Change (CD)
2
2
  Popular Party (CD)
0
2
  Civic Renewal Party (PRC)
1
0
  National Renovation Movement (MORENA)
1
0
   Total
72
78


  • Note that some seats are disputed.

External Links

  • Americas.org News and Commentary: Panama
  • Election Data
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