Panama has no defense force. A national security force of about 12,000 men (2009) is organized in a lightly armed police force of 11,000 men, a marine unit of 400 men with 41 patrol boats and an air surveillance unit of 400 men without fighter aircraft. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that PAN stands for Panama.
Defense of Panama costs decreased in 1985-2007 from 2.0% to 1.0% of GDP. The United States supports Panama’s defense financially, and had about 6,000 men in all-round assemblies based in the country from 1989-99.
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Political and administrative order. – Panama was a department of Colombia, from which it became independent in 1903 (see above). Colombia recognized this independence only in 1921; diplomatic relations between the two countries were resumed in 1924. Panama is a unitary republic; the president is elected for 4 years with direct male suffrage; the National Assembly is made up of 32 members also elected for 4 years with direct male suffrage. Administratively, the republic is divided into 9 provinces, of which the following table gives the surface and population (cens. 1933):
Army. – In the Republic of Panama there is no real standing army, nor is there regular draft. As the constitutive nucleus of the land armed forces, around which citizens gather in case of war, there is a militarized national police which is entrusted with the protection of public order. Its numbers are around 1500 men, including graduates and officers. The constitutional law of the republic foresees, in the case of war, the creation of an army, entrusting it to a general and two majors, who in peacetime study and prepare the modalities of mobilization.
Military aviation. – At the beginning of 1933 the republic of Panama decided to create an air force; this still consists (1934) of a Keystone Kommuter biplane (Wright Whirlwind 300 HP engine) for general police duties, and two Travel Air Speedwing biplanes (WW 240 HP engines) for surveillance.
Finances. – The budgets of Panama include, starting from 1929, a two-year period; to make it possible to compare the data, the previous years have also been grouped as follows:
Panama receives an annual subsidy of $ 250,000 from the United States for canal maintenance. As of April 30, 1932, the external public debt amounted to 15.6 million balboas (borrowed from the United States and Canada for construction of roads, railways, and other public works) and the internal debt to 2.5. Through the Banco Nazionale, the government also contracted a loan of approximately 4 million with the United States and Canada, guaranteed on landed property.
The monetary unit has been the balboa since 1930, equivalent to the US dollar; the old silver coins (for a total value of 272,000 dollars) were withdrawn from circulation and replaced by 500,000 balboas (1932). The paper money circulating in Panama is exclusively that of the United States.
Cults. – With the proclamation of independence, the new state deemed the existing concordat between the Holy See and the Republic of Colombia to lapse, and adopted a policy of separation between the state and the church, despite the population being in the very large Catholic majority. However, in the area around the Canal there are numerous followers of the Reformed churches, especially among the population residing there but coming from the United States. The diocese of Panama, erected in 1534, as a suffragan of Lima, and then of Bogotá, was elevated to an archdiocese, immediately subject to the Holy See, on November 29, 1925. There is also a bishop of the Protestant Episcopal (Anglican) church.
Panama City, Ciudad de Panamá, the capital of Panama, the country’s largest city and most important port; 880,700 residents (2010), 1.27 million. in the metropolitan area. It is located on the Gulf of Panama, where the Panama Canal opens into the Pacific Ocean.
The old colonial town is laid out with a rectangular street network with many beautiful Spanish-style buildings, among others. the city’s cathedral. With its location on the Panama Canal, the city has grown explosively, being modern, cosmopolitan and characterized by numerous skyscrapers.
But with many migrants from backward rural areas, the city also has large slums, which are breaking down into unemployment, poverty, drugs, alcohol and violence. Waste problems are growing as they move, and due to pollution, you can no longer swim in the Gulf of Panama, just as fishing has declined sharply.
The city was founded in 1519. It was the starting point for Spaniard Francisco Pizarro’s trip to Peru in 1530 and later served as a transit point for the Spaniards’ goods transport across Panama.
In 1671 it was plundered and burned down by Englishmen under Henry Morgan’s (c. 1635-88) leadership. The city was rebuilt in 1673.
After the secession from Spain, Simón Bolívar held a congress in the city in 1826 to unite Latin America.
By Panama’s detachment from Colombia in 1903, the city became the capital of the new state, and it was growing rapidly, among other things. by immigration from the islands of the Caribbean when the construction of the canal began. In the 1989 US invasion of General Manuel Noriega, parts of the city were destroyed.