Panama. According to countryaah, Panama City is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Panama. President Martín Torrio’s draft budget, which was presented in January and included cuts in the public sector and increased corporate taxes to overcome the budget deficit, was met by strong protests from both the trade union movement and the business community.
In May, Torrijos also presented a proposal for reform of the social security system, which has been a hot political issue under his representative Mireya Moscoso (1999-2004). This proposal, including means increased social security contributions and raised retirement age and was approved by Congress, met by strong protests. Some critics believed that the increased assets of the social security system would be used to pay for the redevelopment of the Panama Canal, which has long been in need of widening in order to be used by the larger, modern vessels.
1989 The United States invades Panama
The United States ceased its economic and military assistance to the country in 1987, and the following year, Panama’s funds in the United States were frozen. In addition, financial penalties were imposed and the United States stopped paying rent for the Channel Zone. In March, the banks closed for several weeks, triggering an extensive financial crisis. At the same time, the US military presence in the Channel Zone increased. Del Valle removed Noriega from the post, but Parliament supported the commander and removed the president instead. As new president was appointed Minister of Education Manuel Solís Palma.
Elections were held for May 5, 1989. The candidate of the ruling party was Carlos Duque and the opposition alliance Alianza Democrática de Oposición Civilistas (ADOC) candidate was Guillermo Endara. The United States interfered in the electoral process and characterized it from the outset as a scam. The count was kept secret for several days, and when the opposition candidate turned out to have won the election, the election was canceled.
President Solís declared that the purpose of the United States, regardless of the election results, was to have a straw government deployed and to maintain control of the Channel Zone in violation of the Torrijos-Carter agreement.
In October 1989, a rebellion against Noriega by a group of younger officers failed. Two months later, the US attack on the land culminated in a real military invasion. Without warning and without a declaration of war, on December 20, 1989, the superpower launched a comprehensive attack on Panama. Already at the start of the invasion, Guillermo Endara at North American Base Fort Clayton was named President of Panama.
With 26,000 soldiers, this was the largest military operation of the superpower since the Vietnam War (1964-1975). The reckless bombings destroyed entire residential neighborhoods of the capital and cost an unknown number of civilian lives. Officially, 560 civilians were killed during the invasion. The opposition gives death tolls of 4-10,000. Panama’s Industry Council calculated that values over $ 2 billion had been destroyed. The defense of Panama was more extensive than the invading forces had expected, and the invasion therefore pulled out. Noriega had initially sought asylum from the evangelical church, but was eventually extradited and sent to the United States. During the invasion, about 5,000 Panamans were temporarily detained.
Guillermo Endara’s government dissolved the national defense forces to replace them with a lesser police force. In order to disarm the population, $ 150 was paid for each weapon delivered. Promised reconstruction assistance from the United States failed, and President Endara himself launched a hunger strike in protest to have it paid off. The new government accepted the presence of North American “advisers” in the ministries, as well as US military operations operating outside the Channel Zone – allegedly to combat drug trafficking and Colombian guerrillas at the border.
The focal point of US policy in Central America, through the 1980’s, had been the desire to overthrow the Nicaragua Sandinists. However, just 2 months after the US invasion of Panama, the Sandinists lost the election, and the US interest in the region fell dramatically. The consequence was, among other things, that aid to Panama was not available and the country’s economic crisis continued. Independent sources reported 20% unemployment in 1991.
The Organization of American States (OAS) condemned the invasion with only 6 blank votes and 1 against (US), demanding the occupation troops be withdrawn. Britain was one of the only countries to support the invasion, and France vetoed condemnation in the UN Security Council. The only Latin American government willing to defend the aggression was El Salvador’s.
Despite doubts about future developments, the transfer of sovereignty over the Channel Zone to Panama continued. In March 1991, a Panamanian took over the administration of the canal for the first time.