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Panama Canal

November 26, 1999 • Volume 9, Issue 45
Does transferring it to Panama threaten U.S. security?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

More than half of all U.S. shiping passes through the Panama Canal yearly. (Photo Credit: Panama Canal Commission)
More than half of all U.S. shiping passes through the Panama Canal yearly. (Photo Credit: Panama Canal Commission)

On Dec. 31, the United States will transfer the Panama Canal to Panama. Completed in 1914, the 50-mile canal was hailed as an engineering marvel that revolutionized world trade by shaving thousands of miles off the journey between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. More than 13,000 ships a year - 4 percent of world trade and fully half of all U.S. shipping - pass through the canal. American critics say the turnover leaves the U.S. vulnerable to disruptions in trade and reduces military security. Panamanians have long resented U.S. ownership of the canal, widely viewed as an expression of Yankee imperialism. They hope that possession of the canal will help turn their country into a booming trading center, a kind of Singapore of the Western Hemisphere.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Panama
Nov. 26, 1999  Panama Canal
Oct. 24, 1975  Panama and Latin Policy
Feb. 26, 1964  Panama Settlement
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
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