Temas Especiales

07 de Mar de 2021


A man a plan a canal: Panama

PANAMA. This Monday November 3, Panama will be celebrating the 105th anniversary of its separation from Colombia, which marked the rise...

PANAMA. This Monday November 3, Panama will be celebrating the 105th anniversary of its separation from Colombia, which marked the rise of its identity as an independent republic.

After more than 300 years under Spanish rule, the isthmus of Panama’s independence from Spain was officially declared on November 28, 1821, alongside an intent to join New Granada, Ecuador and Venezuela’s in Simon Bolivar’s newly founded Republic of Colombia. For the years to come the isthmus would remain as a province of Gran Colombia even after Venezuela and Ecuador pulled out.

On separate occasions, the isthmus reiterated its independence for short periods of time, always re-establishing ties with New Granada in the end.

For instance, in November 1840 the isthmus declared independence during a civil war and under the leadership of General Tomas Herrera, named itself the “Estado Libre del Istmo” or the Free State of the Isthmus. The new state established external political and economic ties and drew up a constitution which included the possibility of Panama rejoining New Granada as a federal district. In June 1841 Tomás Herrera became the President of the Estado Libre del Istmo. But when the civil conflict ended Panama again became part of Colombia.

From then onwards Panama’s union with the Republic of Colombia was assured with the help of the United States.

Under the 1846 Bidlack Mallarino Treaty, the US received rights to build railroads through Panama, and in return the US could intervene militarily against revolt to guarantee New Granada’s control, as well as to protect its investments.

The US and Colombians joined forced on at least three different occasions to suppress attempts by Panamanian Liberals to seize control of the Isthmus.

In an unexpected twist of fate, diplomatic ties between the US and Colombia soured when President Theodore Roosevelt decided to take over the construction of the Panama Canal after the French’s failure, but received little or no support from the Colombian government.

Unwilling to alter his terms, President Roosevelt saw an opportunity in the separatist attempts, and encouraged a minority of Conservative Panamanian landholding families to demand independence, offering them the military support once reserved for Colombia.

With the weight of the U.S. military support (the U.S. prevented the Colombians from sending reinforcements by sea with a small naval force in the area), Panama finally separated from Colombia on November 3, 1903 and Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero, a prominent member of the Conservative political party, became the first president of the Republic of Panama.

Almost simultaneously, Frenchman Phillipe Bunau-Varilla, who had worked on the first canal attempt, signed the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty, granting the U.S. the rights to build and indefinitely administer the Panama Canal, and with it opening an entire new chapter of Panamanian history.

In celebration of Panama’s 105 years as a republic, there will be parades running through two of the city’s main avenues. On November 3 and 4, there will two parades on each day, starting between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. The first will run along Calle 50 from the Bladex bank to the Columbus University.Twenty-nine student delegations and four independent bands will participate in this parade.

The second parade runs through Via España, from the former Caja de Ahorros to the Sucasa building. Twenty-seven student delegations will participate in this one, along with five independent bands. The delegations and bands switch routes on the second day. Those performing on Calle 50 on Monday will move to Via España on Tuesday and vice versa

Full coverage will be provided by local TV networks.