Thirty years ago, the U.S. invaded Panama for more than 30 days. Today, Panama is struggling to regain its historical memory.
On December 20, 1989, 26,000 U.S. soldiers landed in Panama to oust President Manuel Noriega, former CIA informant and U.S.-trained military leader. The invasion is considered to be the last of the Cold War era in Latin America.
Panamanians don’t know how many people died during the invasion. Some say there were 300 casualties while other claim 3,000 victims. More than 20,000 would have lost their homes.
The Panamanian military was also dismantled during that time. Until today, Panama and Costa Rica are the two Central American countries that do not have armies.
The 1989 invasion is nearly taboo in Panama. It is considered a open wound that is not properly taught in schools. Some groups in Panama are fighting so that the U.S. and Panamanian governments apologize and indemnize families.
Years go by and we see this common thread coursing throughout Central America: its open wounds and struggle for memory. So check out the special section on Panama’s 1989 invasion down below.
Next week we will share with you our recap of 2019 in our end-of-year, unique and shorter edition. See you then!
The Central American News team.