|Happy birthday: A view of Panama City at night. The country celebrates its National Day yesterday. — Photo courtesy of Panama Embassy
Panama is a country on the isthmus linking Central and South America. The manmade Panama Canal cuts through its centre connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and providing an essential shipping route. Nowadays, the majestic transit of the gigantic Panama vessels gliding through the 101 year old canal continues to contribute to global commerce for the wellbeing of all nations.
The isthmus was inhabited by several ethnic groups prior to the Spanish settlement in the 16th century. The country is proud of its eight courageous indigenous cultures that survived the conquest and practise ancestral customs.
Panama has a very interesting history. The ruins of the old Panama City, "Panama La Vieja", founded in 1519, make up the remains of the first city on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Gold and silver from Peru went through here on its way to Spain, making it a target of the pirate Henry Morgan who destroyed the city in 1671. A new colonial Panama City, "Casco Viejo", was built in 1673. Both historical sectors are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Modern skyscrapers contrast with colonial buildings and the rainforests of the National Metropolitan Park in the capital. There are also archaeological sites across the country, including three historic colonial cities with fortresses, churches and monasteries dating to the sixteenth century.
Panama has diverse fauna and flora with exotic landscapes and a tropical climate. The colourful mixture of these elements influences Panamanian idiosyncrasies. As a result, the happiness and the spirit of our people is reflected in their music, dances and festivals all over the country.
Panama possesses a solid and modern service platform and the advantages and benefits of the country's geopolitical position and political stability. The operation of the Panama Canal and an enviable platform of logistics and financial services also make the country the ideal destination for investments. Panama can offer services and facilities as a redistribution centre, serving as a gateway to countries in the region. With its banking system, the Panama Canal, the mega container ports on both the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts and the Special Economic Area of Panama-Pacific Howard, this Central American country is one of the main options in the Americas for investment and business.
Panama and Viet Nam established diplomatic relations on August 28, 1975, an important event for both nations, which has been commemorated throughout this year with various cultural activities. The opening of the Embassy in Ha Noi in May 2006 provided an excellent opportunity for both countries to meet their goals, main objectives and commitments. Historically, both countries have shared common experiences in order to achieve these successes.
To celebrate the 112th anniversary of the National Day of the Republic of Panama and to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Embassy of the Republic of Panama hosted a reception last night in Ha Noi where Ambassador Servio S. Samudio B received Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. — VNS