Panama Canal, 3.5.09
Though they look like little toys, these are ship containers on a stop making their way through the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal has an incredible history. The difficulties of completing it are legendary. The construction began in 1881 by France, but due to engineering problems and an incredibly high mortality rate among the workers, it was abandoned by france around 1894. IN 1904 the United States took over the construction of the Canal. How that happened is another interesting story of early U.S. involvement in the politics of other countries. Certainly in regards to Panama, the United States has inflicted a fair amount of pain and hardships on the Panamanian people. From the events of January 9, 1964, now known as Martys’ Day, to the 1989 invasion of Panama to oust Manuel Noriega, who was supported by the U.S. while it worked for the U.S., then the U.S. invaded to oust him when it wasn’t working for the U.S.
In 1997, President Jimmy Carter and the President of Panama, Omar Torrijos signed the Torrijos-Carter treaties giving the control of the Panama Canal to it’s rightful owner, Panama. The transition was complete in 1999, though the United States retained the right to protect the Canal from any threat.