By Felipe Argote
31 December of 2009 marked 10 years since the reversion of the Panama Canal and the departure of all foreign troops from our territory. Eleven days earlier, the 20th anniversary of the bloody invasion of our country that killed thousands of innocent victims. Nine days later we are celebrating 46 years of patriotic deed on January nine where 21 Panamanians were killed while demanding their right to put our flag in the Canal Zone.
Everything is concatenated. The exploits of nine of January was the cusp of a generational struggle that forced the world's greatest power to negotiate its way out of our territory. The resistance to the invasion and occupation of the rest of our territory during and after December 20, convinced the U.S. that should not confuse our hatred of the Noriega dictatorship with our unwavering struggle for national sovereignty. It was all part of the actions that we reached at last achieved victory on 31 December 1999.
Ten years after this historic fact our country has demonstrated its ability to handle the Canal better than the American military administration. Since it is very likely that this celebration is to see a lot of leafleting statements, I decided to use the time to answer to this sector with myopic vision that said we do not eat sovereignty and those fought by large majorities who said that this objective was wrong. Those who today still write to us asking if we wanted the Yankees to leave, why we have dollars in our pocket and use clothes made in United States?
Well I'll tell you a story. When George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and others met in Philadelphia to declare independence from England they had no dollars in their his pocket, or sure they have ponds sterling and wore English style clothes. That was what they had. In their determination to have an independent country not discouraged that most of the troops that swelled the colonial army were born in what is now the United States. The army of the English armed swelled to thousands of Americans ready to die defending the idea of remaining a colony. Surely we would find in Panama a plural number of Panamanians also willing to die to remain as a colony. Some of these bad Americans said to the patriots that if they asked if they don’t like to be part of England why they dressed like Englishmen. Why did not dress like Indians who hated the European settlers? Why had in their pockets pounds?
But Washington, Jefferson and the others did not stop at that. Today nobody remembers those traitors, except to Benedict Arnold an American born in Connecticut that was passed to the English side in the midst of the War of Independence and served as colonial army Brig.
But Washington, Jefferson and Franklin not only reminds as patriots but their faces are now on the currency of the greatest economic power in the world.
Those with a slave mentality, they do not understand that sovereignty is a good business, that as warm as the breast is humans need to achieve self-independence, those will be forgotten by history, but those who gave their lives for this country, Panama, the best country in the world to live, wil not be forgotten:
List of those killed on 9 and 10 January 1964 with his precious blood that helped us to comply with the perfection of our sovereignty. Do not forget their names:
Maritza Avila Alabarca, Ascanio Arosemena, Luis Bonilla, Jose Del Cid Cobos, Theophilus Belisario De La Torre, Gonzalo A. France, Victor M. Garibaldo, José Enrique Gil, Ezequiel Meneses González, Victor M. Iglesias, Rosa Elena Landecho, Carlos Renato Lara, Evilio Lara, Gustavo Lara, Ricardo Murga Villamonte, Albert Nichols Constance, Estanislao Orobio W., Jacinto Palacios Cobos, Ovid L. Saldana, Rodolfo Benitez Sanchez, Alberto Oriol Tejada and Celestino Villaret.