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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Americas | International | U.S. | Drug War
Panama used to be a part of Colombia, but because the U.S. wanted to build a canal down there, they backed a rebel leader who led a revolt against Colombia and then declared himself a new government, the government of Panama
The U.S. went in there and backed him so they could grab off this piece of land that they needed to build their canal. That's the beginning of that history, and Colombia still disputes that Panama was ever a different government. But the U.S. backed it and helped this guy to grab it!
Colombia, one of the closest U.S. allies in Latin America, has been ravaged for decades by a civil war pitting left-wing guerrilla groups against right-wing paramilitary organizations. In fact, Colombia is the largest cocaine producer on planet earth, and half of the heroin picked up on U.S. streets is said to originate in Colombia. The two predominant rebel groups--the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish acronym, FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN)--are included on the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations. Under Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who took office in 2002 and has been boosted by large inflows of U.S. funding, both groups have been depleted in numbers and resources. Yet peace talks between each group and the government remain dogged by difficulties. Allegations in March 2008 and August 2009 by the Colombian government that the FARC is receiving support from the Venezuelan government have further complicated prospects for peace.
In other words, the U.S. grabbed Panama in the beginning, that's the history of it, so they could be sure that they were going to control that neck of land through which they built the Panama Canal. I can remember when I was much younger that Guatemala voted in a Communist president. The U.S. immediately sent in the Marines and ousted him! They've invaded Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Grenada, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, not to mention Puerto Rico. Nearly every Central American state has been invaded at some time by the Americans. And if they didn't invade them, they put sanctions on'm and did all kinds of other things to them!
Ted Rudow III, MA