World Country Panama

About the world country Panama, its location, size, population, and who is in power.

NATIONS OF THE WORLD

PANAMA

Location: On the isthmus of Central America, between Columbia and Costa Rica. Size: 29,761 sq. mi. (77,082 sq. km.). Population: 1,990,000.

Who Really Rules: In 1978 Gen. Omar Torrijos turned over the government to the new president, Aristides Royo, and a team of technocrats, but Torrijos remains the "power behind the throne." During the first eight years of his 10-year rule, Torrijos was considered a populist, providing new rights for the peasantry and urban working class. However, faced with a stagnating economy, he made his peace with the traditional oligarchy in 1976. The government emphasizes private investment and intends to build on Panama's tax-haven history to make the country a "transnational services platform"--an international financial and shipping center.

On Oct. 1, 1979, the U.S. turned the Panama Canal and the surrounding Canal Zone back to Panama. The canal treaties provide for continued U.S. control of canal operations until the year 2000 and for a permanent U.S. right to intervene to defend the canal.

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