Panama. In October, the Prosecutor’s Office decided to launch an investigation into allegations that, during his time as lieutenant in the National Guard, Interior Minister Daniel Delgado murdered another guard officer in 1970. Delgado himself acknowledged the incident but claimed it was a legitimate police action that was being investigated and closed down already. However, the media reported that no such investigation exists, and in connection with a government reform in mid-November, Delgado was forced to resign. He was controversial even before the revelation, including for his connections to Panama’s strong man in the 1980s General Manuel Noriega.
The Delgado Falls revelation also cast its shadow over the upcoming presidential election in May 2009. The public in Panama, according to opinion polls, is deeply concerned about the insidious remilitarization of society and associates President Martín Torrijo’s ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Democratico, PRD) presidential candidate such development. President Torrio’s government reshuffle in November was also considered by the opposition to be a disguised way for the president to give Delgado fired to save the government’s face in the run-up to the presidential election.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of PM in general and in geography as Panama in particular.
On September 4, a general strike was carried out in protest of delayed wages, inflation and the security situation in Panama. The general strike was the culmination of a wave of protests in the country’s largest cities, including 15,000 protesters in Panama City on August 14. Already in February, union dissatisfaction with the government exploded after a construction worker was shot dead by a gunshot in the back of a Colón police officer as he was on his way to a hospital for care after violent demonstrations, and 40,000 members of the construction worker union went out into the streets across the country in protest against police violence. The protests also touched on President Torrio’s controversial proposal to reorganize the country’s police force and intelligence service to combat rising crime in a way that is believed to reinforce the remilitarization tendencies in society.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Panama in 2008 was 3,642,576, ranking number 130 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.810% yearly, and the population density was 49.0004 people per km2.
Nicaragua and Panama are the least densely populated of the Central American republics, with only 6.3 residents per sq. km. For absolute population, as has already been said, Panama is in last place (483,780 residents). Still in 1843 the Colombian province that corresponded to the current republic had only 119,000 residents, which rose to 138,000 in 1851 and to 200,000 in 1870. A relatively rapid increase occurred during and after the construction of the canal: 341,000 residents in 1911, 434,000 in 1920, 467,000 in, 1930. The settlement found better conditions on the less humid side of the Pacific, a fact common to all the other Central American republics; in fact, there are the highest densities (24 residents per sq. km. in the province of Coclé, 17 in those of Herrera and Los Santos). Just under a fifth of the state’s population lives in the two cities of Panamá (pop. 82,827) and Colón (pop. 33,460); no other center exceeds 10,000 residents (David, 5041; Chitré, 4095; Penonomé, 3206; Santiago, 2213).
From an ethnic point of view, the 1930 census distinguished 249,583 Mestizos, 69,583 Negroes, 42,897 Amerindians, 18,813 Whites and 4138 Asians. More than half of the population is therefore made up of Mestizos. The Negroes are more numerous than in any other country in Central America and have come largely from the British colonies of the West Indies (Jamaica, Barbados) for the works of the Panamá-Colón railway, built in 1850-1855, and of the canal. The Amerindî, who speak Chibcha dialects, live in the most inhospitable, inland, mountainous areas: about 5000 are the Guaymi, who inhabit the slopes of the Chiriquí mountain range; perhaps 30,000 Cuna, who together with the Choco populate eastern Panama.
The Whites are found almost all in the major centers, and among them there are about 500 Italians, mainly laborers and bricklayers. Strong. it was the immigration of Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Syriacs etc.) during the works of the canal, but in 1904 it was forbidden.