Historical Retrospective on the CANAL: As it defines the PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE of PANAMA.

This engineering work has a great connection with the Panamanian idiosyncrasy as well as the history of the isthmus, in which it continues to be a relevant element.

The return of the Panama Canal and the Canal Zone to the Panamanian administration is one of the most important events of the 20th century.

With a direct impact on the sovereignty and direction of the country, the fight for the Canal defined generations and provided a purpose that united Panamanians throughout history, but also forged the idiosyncrasy of a new Panama, which they now enjoy more of four million people.

However, if we talk about the generational struggle for the Canal, it is important to mention the summit that made possible the reversal of the clauses of the Canal Treaty. On September 7, 1977, the Torrijos-Carter Treaties were signed between the then President of the United States, James Carter, and the Head of State of Panama, General Omar Torrijos, which put an end to decades of the claim. isthmian for sovereignty and equality.

One of the determining factors that led to the signing of this treaty was Panama’s participation in the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) on March 15, 1973, in which the Panamanian cause was discussed.

During this meeting, the support of the international community for the generational struggle of hundreds of Panamanians was demonstrated with a final resolution of positive support from 13 members of the Security Council.

At that time the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland abstained from the vote and the United States voted against the resolution.

“Another important unresolved problem is that of the Panama Canal and the surrounding area. The operation of the Canal by the United States and our very presence in that country are governed by the clauses of a treaty signed in 1903. The world has changed radically during the 70 years of that treaty. Latin America has changed. Panama has changed. And the terms of our relationship must reasonably reflect the changes that have occurred,” warned former President Richard Nixon, in a report to the United States Congress after the Security Council meeting.

According to the historical account of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Panama’s victory in this treaty is due to the “patriotic role” played by the negotiating team of the isthmus as well as the constant pressure exerted by the people, who maintained the flame of hope for national sovereignty lit even with the setbacks that the negotiations suffered during the four months they lasted.

Returning to the present

The discussion ‘The return of the Panama Canal: past, present and future’ took place in the context of the Centroamérica Cuenta Festival and was attended by Ilya Espino de Marotta, current deputy administrator of the Panama Canal; Aristides Royo, former Minister for Canal Affairs and former Foreign Minister Jorge Eduardo Ritter, with the moderation of journalist Sabrina Bacal. In this space, the experts discussed the impact on Panamanianism today, the idiosyncrasy of the country and expectations for the future.

One of the topics that was most referred to during the conversation is the current importance that the Panama Canal has economically in the country.

In this century, the meaning of the Canal for Panamanians has changed significantly from being a symbol of struggle and sovereignty to being one of the most important pillars of Isthmian capital as well as a crucial connection between Panama and the world.

“The Canal has contributed a lot to forging the nation we are today. Differentiating ourselves from the [former] administration of the Canal has also helped, now recognition is being made of all the ethnic groups that participated in the construction of the Canal, so I am sure that all of us who are here have something of that so-called melting pot of races. ”Ritter explained.

According to the experts on the panel, the expansion of the Panama Canal locks was a crucial decision that kept this engineering work relevant in a world of rampant globalization.

Currently 52% of the Canal’s income comes from the expanded Canal. “The expansion was the avenue that allowed us to retain those incomes that we have been maximizing in recent years,” highlighted the deputy administrator of the Panama Canal during her presentation. She also noted that last year was one of the most difficult and challenging for the Canal administration, being the third driest year in the Canal’s history.

The influence that this engineering work still has on Panamanian territory is undeniable, being one of the most important assets of the isthmus. Although there are still challenges that remain to be resolved in the Panama Canal, especially regarding the environmental issue, this asset is currently managed by capable Panamanians and in complete sovereignty, a dream of different Panamanian generations fulfilled 24 years ago.

The Canal has contributed a lot to forging the nation we are today. Differentiating ourselves from the [former] administration of the Canal has also helped, now recognition is being made of all the ethnic groups that participated in the construction of the Canal, so I am sure that all of us who are here have something of that so-called melting pot of races. ”,
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