Courtesy Reuters

Shortly after the ratification of the Torrijos-Carter treaties on the Panama Canal in 1978, I visited an academic friend in the United States who follows U.S. policy on Latin America and raised with him the issue of Panama’s continued military regime and the need for democratization. He responded quite candidly and bluntly: "From the point of view of U.S. political leaders, Panama’s problems are solved. The fight over ratification has been costly. They won’t spend more political resources on Panama." Nine years later, early this year, I raised the same issue with a high State Department

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