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5. Panama (1903-present)

 

Crisis Phase (November 3, 1903-December 31, 1904): Panama formally achieved its independence from Colombia on November 3, 1903, and the US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on November 6, 1903. US troops were deployed in support of the government from November 1903 to February 1904. Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held on December 27, 1903. A constitution was approved on February 13, 1904, which provided for US military intervention to guarantee Panamanian independence and sovereignty. The National Assembly elected Manuel Amador Guerrero of the Conservative Party (CP) as president on February 16, 1904, and he was inaugurated as president on February 20, 1904. US troops were deployed to protect its interests in Ancon on November 17-24, 1904.

Post-Crisis Phase (January 1, 1905-October 11, 1925): Municipal elections were held on June 24, 1906. Parliamentary elections were held in 1906, and the CP won 25 out of 28 seats in the National Assembly. Jose Domingo Obaldia of the Liberal Party (Partido Liberal – PL) was elected president in July 1908, and he was inaugurated as president on October 1, 1908. Herbert Squires and 200 US personnel supervised the presidential elections. President Obaldia died in March 1910, and Carlos Mendoza was appointed as provisional president. Parliamentary elections were held in July 1910. President Mendoza resigned in August 1910, and Pablo Arosemena was elected as provisional president by the National Assembly on September 14, 1910. On May 4, 1912, President Pablo Arosemena requested US supervision of presidential and municipal elections. The US agreed to supervise the elections on May 13, 1912, and some 215 US personnel were sent to supervise the municipal and presidential elections. Municipal elections were held on June 30, 1912. Pedro Diaz of the Patriotic Union (Union Patriotica – UP) withdrew from the presidential election on July 12, 1912. Belisario Porras of the PL was elected president on July 14, 1912. Belisario Porras was inaugurated as president on October 2, 1912. US troops withdrew from the country on January 21, 1914. Colombia and the US signed the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty on April 6, 1914, which provided for Colombian recognition of Panamanian independence. The Panama Canal was opened on August 15, 1914. Ramon Valdes of the PL was elected president on June 30, 1916. Opposition political parties had boycotted the presidential election. President Valdes died on June 3, 1918, and Belisario Porras was appointed as provisional president on June 4, 1918. Municipal elections were held on June 30, 1918. Belisario Porras of the PL was elected president in August 1920. Colombia formally recognized the independence of Panama on March 1, 1922, when ratifications of the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty were exchanged in Bogota. Rudolfo Chiari of the PL was elected president in September 1924.

Crisis Phase (October 12, 1925-October 1, 1932): On October 12-23, 1925, US peacekeeping troops were deployed to maintain order after a request by the Panamanian government. Florencio Hermodio Arosemena of the PL was elected president on August 5, 1928. Opposition political parties had boycotted the presidential election. President Arosemena was overthrown on January 2, 1931, and a military junta headed by Hermodio Arias took control of the government on January 3, 1931. Hermodio Arias was elected president in June 1932, and he was inaugurated as president on October 1, 1932.

Post-Crisis Phase (October 2, 1932-October 8, 1941): Juan Demostenes Arosemena was elected president in 1936. Arnulfo Arias Madrid was elected president in June 1940.

Crisis Phase (October 9, 1941-October 2, 1948): President Arias Madrid was overthrown on October 9, 1941, and Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia as elected president in October 1941. President de la Gaurdia dissolved the National Assembly on December 31, 1944. The government suppressed a rebellion in March 1945. Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in May 1945. President de la Gaurdia resigned in June 1945, and the Constituent Assembly appointed Enrique Jimenez as provisional president. Supporters of former President Arias Madrid rebelled against the government in Colon in December 1945, resulting in the deaths of six individuals. Domingo Diaz Arosemena of the Liberal Party (Partido Liberal – PL) was elected president on May 9, 1948. Three individuals were killed in political violence on July 3, 1948. The government declared a state-of-siege on July 4, 1948. President Jimenez was impeach by the Congress on July 12, 1948, and Enrique Obarrio was appointed as provisional president on July 13, 1948. The Supreme Court ruled the impeachment unconstitutional on July 14, 1948. Domingo Diaz Arosemena was inaugurated as president on October 1, 1948, and the government lifted the state-of-siege on October 2, 1948. Some 100 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (October 3, 1948-March 31, 1949):

Crisis Phase (April 1, 1949-December 15, 1969): The government suppressed a rebellion in April 1949, and declared a state-of-siege. President Diaz Arosemena died on August 23, 1949, and Daniel Chanis was appointed as provisional president. President Chanis resigned as a result of pressure by Colonel Jose Remon on November 20, 1949, and Vice President Roberto Chiari became president on November 21, 1949. Arnulfo Arias Madrid was installed as president on November 25, 1949. Three individuals were killed in political violence in Panama City on November 22-26, 1949. The US imposed diplomatic sanctions (diplomatic non-recognition) against the government of President Arias Madrid on November 25, 1949. Cuba provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of President Arias Madrid on December 2, 1949. The US lifted diplomatic sanctions against the government on December 14, 1949. President Arias Madrid dissolved the National Assembly and suspended the 1946 constitution on May 7, 1951. Sixteen individuals were killed in political violence in Panama City on May 9-10, 1951. President Arias Madrid was impeached and replaced by Vice-President Alicibiades Arosemena by the National Assembly on May 10, 1951. Colonel Jose Antonio Remon was elected as president on May 11, 1952, and he was inaugurated as president on October 1, 1952. President Remon and two other individuals were killed in Panama City on January 2, 1955, and Vice-President Jose Ramon Guizado was appointed as provisional president on January 3, 1955. President Ramon Guizado was impeached by the National Assembly for his involvement in the assassination of President Remon on January 15, 1955. Vice-President Ricardo Arias Espinosa was sworn in as provisional president on January 15, 1955. Parliamentary elections were held on May 13, 1956, and the National Patriotic Coalition (Coalicion Patriotica Nacional – CPN) won 42 seats in the National Assembly. The PL won 11 seats in the National Assembly. Ernesto de la Guardia of the CPN was elected president on May 13, 1956, and he was inaugurated as president on October 1, 1956. Victor Goytia, president candidate of the PL, claimed election fraud. Government troops and demonstrators clashed in Panama City on May 19-25, 1958, resulting in the deaths of eight individuals. Government troops suppressed an exile invasion near Mandinga Bay on April 26-May 1, 1959. Panama referred the matter to the Organization of American States (OAS) Council on April 27, 1959, and the OAS Council established a commission of inquiry (Brazil, Costa Rico, Paraguay, and the US ) headed by Fernando Lobo of Brazil on April 28, 1959. The OAS commission of inquiry investigated the matter in Panama from April 29 to May 4, 1959. Roberto Chiari of the PL was elected president on May 8, 1960. Marco Robles of the National Opposition Union (NOU) was elected president on March 10, 1964, and he was inaugurated on October 1, 1964.  The US deployed naval ships in the area between May 7, 1964 and May 20, 1964.  Three individuals were killed in political violence in Colon and Panama City on June 1-12, 1966. President Robles was impeached by the National Assembly on March 24, 1968. Government troops and demonstrators clashed in Panama City on March 24-29, 1968, resulting in the deaths of two individuals. Arnulfo Arias Madrid was elected president on May 12, 1968, and he was inaugurated as president on October 1, 1968. Two individuals were killed in election-related violence. President Arias Madrid was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Omar Torrijos Herrera on October 11-12, 1968, and a provisional military junta headed by Colonel Jose Maria Pinilla took control of the government on October 13, 1968. Two government soldiers were killed in political violence in Panama City on October 13, 1968. The US imposed diplomatic sanctions (suspension of diplomatic relations) against the military junta on October 15, 1968, but lifted the diplomatic sanctions against the military junta on November 13, 1968. The military junta declared all political parties illegal in February 1969. Colonel Omar Torrijos Herrera overthrew the military junta headed by Colonel Pinella on December 15, 1969. Some 100 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (December 16, 1969-June 9, 1987): Parliamentary elections were held on August 2, 1972. Parliamentary elections were held on August 6, 1978. The Organization of American States (OAS) sent three observers to monitor the parliamentary elections. The National Assembly elected Aristides Royo as president on October 11, 1978. General Torrijos Herrera, commander of the National Guard, died in a plane crash on August 1, 1981. President Royo resigned in July 1982. Colonel Manuel Antonio Noriega, the commander of the Panama Defence Forces (PDF), assumed control of the government in March 1983. Eric Arturo Delvalle became president in 1985.

Crisis Phase (June 10, 1987-February 24, 1990): The government imposed a state-of-emergency on June 10-29, 1987.  General Noriega was indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami for drug trafficking on February 4, 1988.  President Delvalle fired General Noriega as commander of PDF on February 25, 1988, but General Noriega responded by deposing President Delvalle.  The US imposed economic sanctions against the government on March 11, 1988. General Noriega suppressed a military rebellion in March 1988. Libya provided $24 million in economic assistance to the government in April 1988. Guillermo Endara Gallimany of the Democratic Civic Opposition Alliance (Alianza Democratica de Oposicion Civilista – ADOC) was elected president on May 7, 1989. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) sent 21 observers to jointly observe the presidential election. General Noriega nullified the results of the presidential election on May 10, 1989. The US condemned the nullification of the presidential election, and deployed 1,900 additional troops in the Panama Canal zone on May 11, 1989. OAS foreign ministers condemned Noriega on May 17, 1989, and authorized the establishment of a four-member conciliation commission (Ecuador, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago) chaired by the OAS secretary-general. The OAS conciliation commission issued a report on August 23, 1989. Nine government military personnel were killed following a military coup attempt on October 3, 1989. The National Assembly adopted a resolution on December 15, 1989, which proclaimed General Noriega as the head of state and declared Panama to be in a state of war with the US. Government troops killed a US soldier on December 16, 1989. Some 24,000 US troops intervened against the government of General Noreiga, and overthrew the government of General Noriega on December 20, 1989. Guillermo Endara was sworn in as president on December 20, 1989. The US lifted economic sanctions against the government on December 21, 1989. Nicaragua referred the matter to the United Nations (UN) Security Council on December 21, 1989. The OAS Council appealed for a ceasefire on December 22, 1989. General Noriega surrendered to US troops on January 10, 1990. US troops completed their withdrawal from the country on February 24, 1990. Some 500 individuals, including 65 Panamanian government soldiers and 25 US soldiers, were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (February 25, 1990-present): Local and municipal elections were held on January 27, 1991. The Organization of American States (OAS) sent observers to monitor the elections. A referendum on constitutional reform was held on November 15, 1992. The OAS sent 40 observers to monitor the referendum from November 13, 1992 to November 16, 1992. Parliamentary elections were held on May 8, 1994, and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Democratico – PRD) won 31 out of 72 seats in the National Assembly.  Ernesto Perez Ballasares of the PRD was elected president with a plurality of 33 percent of the vote on May 8, 1994, and he was inaugurated as president on September 1, 1994. The OAS sent 27 observers to monitor the presidential and parliamentary elections from May 1 to May 14, 1994.  A proposed constitutional amendment allowing the president to run for re-election was defeated by a margin of 34 percent to 64 percent on August 30, 1998.  The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) sent nine observers headed by Jack Hood of the US to monitor the referendum.  The OAS sent 15 observers to monitor the referendum.  Mireya Moscoso of the Union for Panama (UFP) was elected president with 45 percent of the vote on May 2, 1999.  Martin Torrijos of the PRD and Popular Party (PP) coalition was elected president with 47 percent of the vote on May 2, 2004.  Parliamentary elections were held on May 2, 2004, and the PRD won 41 out of 78 seats in the National Assembly.  Some 77 percent of Panamanians voted in support of expanded the Panama Canal in a referendum held on October 22, 2006.  The OAS sent 50 observers to monitor the referendum from October 18 to October 23, 2006.

[Sources: Banks and Muller, 1998, 709-714; Bannon and Dunne, 1947, 741-745; Beigbeder, 1994, 232, 235, 280; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), May 2, 1999, May 3, 1999; Brogan, 1992, 496-501; Clodfelter, 1992, 1180-1181; Dupoy and Dupoy, 1977, 1340; Facts on File, May 23-29, 1948, July 11-17, 1948, September 26-October 2, 1948, November 20-26, 1949, May 11-17, 1951, May 9-15, 1952, January 1-5, 1955, January 6-12, 1955, January 13-19, 1955, May 22-28, 1958, June 16-22, 1966, March 28-April 3, 1968, October 17-23, 1968; Foreign Relations of the US (FRUS), 1912, 1133-1167; Hispanic American Report (HAR), April 1949, August 1949, November 1949, December 1949, May 1951, May 1952, October 1952, May 1956, June 1956, October 1956; International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) press release, August 25, 1998, August 31, 1998; Jessup, 1998, 563-565; Keesing’s Record of World Events, October 30-November 6, 1948, December 24-31, 1949, August 18-25, 1951, August 16-23, 1952, May 16-23, 1959, June 4-11, 1960, December 21-31, 1968, November 24, 1978, May 1989, December 1989, September 1994; Langer, 1972, 1067-1068, 1242-1243; Miller, 633-646; Munro, 1961, 391-403; Organization of American States (OAS) press release, August 19, 1998, October 11, 2006, October 19, 2006, October 22, 2006; Robertson, 1943, 443-450; Survey of International Affairs (SIA), 1925 (supplement), 201; Weisburd, 1997, 238-240; Wright, 1964, 23-34.]