The bicentennial celebration of Panama

November 27, 2021 - 09:29
This article is written by H.E. Eligio Salas III, Ambassador from the Republic of Panama to Việt Nam, on the bicentennial anniversary of Panama's Independence from the Spain Crown, celebrated on November 28.

This article is written by H.E. Eligio Salas III, Ambassador from the Republic of Panama to Việt Nam, on the bicentennial anniversary of Panama's Independence from the Spain Crown, celebrated on November 28.

Panama is grateful to have a friend and partner like Việt Nam in Asia, a friend that each day strengthens our position and presence in South East Asia. Panama is in a great strategic position for Việt Nam to redistribute their products and goods to all of Latin American.

Ambassador from the Republic of Panama Eligio Salas III visits Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn on October 11, 2021. —  Courtesy Photo of the embassy

In Panama, the month of November is known as 'the homeland month' because this is the month that we commemorate many of the dates that helped shape the modern nation of Panama.

One of those historic dates is November 28, 1821, which culminated with emancipation through the Declaration of Independence from the Spanish Crown, bringing to an end of 321 years of colonial rule.

A lot has happened in the 200 years since, as Panama has fulfilled its promise of being a meeting point for people and trade, and becoming 'the hub of the Americas'. All of these things have become possible through the successful convergence of many events, not least the construction of The Panama Canal, a crossroads for commerce and economic integration through which 6 per cent of all global trade flows.

President Laurentino Cortizo said in his address to the UN to the 76th session of the General Assembly earlier this year that: “Panama is a country that facilitates good investments with the best air, maritime, port and telecommunications connections in the region. Panama facilitates world trade with a 35-minute highway and a railroad linking the Atlantic and the Pacific”.

But Panama is more than just a place for trade and connectivity. We are acutely aware of the menace of climate change and have directed our efforts to fight against global warming and its effects, the end result being that we have achieved the goal of being one of three carbon negative countries in the world. 

We depend to a great extent on the water resources that our canal needs in order to operate, and on the biodiversity that lives in our rainforests. We need to act in a timely manner in order to keep our habitats intact.

Of course, the road has not been without its obstacles. The story of Panama during the Twentieth Century was a story of a struggle to regain administrative control over the Canal, a struggle that was finally and successfully settled with the signature of the Torrijos-Carter agreements, proof that a big nation and a small one could come together in agreement. And so Panama entered the Twenty-First Century, not only as one of the few nations with a new productive asset on its books but also with its territorial integrity intact. We never forget that in this effort we were able to count on the support of the whole world, and especially from the Vietnamese people.

A donation from the Embassy of Panama to the Birla Children's village Hà Nội on November 3, 2021. — Photo courtesy of The Hà Nội Union of Friendship Organisations (HAUFO)

With regards to relations with our host nation of Việt Nam, we can say that we have established the basis of a long and fruitful relationship based on equal footing and mutual respect. Panama will continue to cooperate with Việt Nam to strengthen our common ties and advance our shared values, resolving conflicts in a peaceful way, and an open trading system.

Another of the main points of connection between our two nations is the Colón Free Zone, the biggest Free Zone in the region. In 2018, Việt Nam was the sixth-largest importer by value of merchandise. These figures show that Panama can become a window for Vietnamese products and the platform for the re-exportation of products for the whole Latin American region.

So, on behalf of the government of the Republic of Panama, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all Panamanian citizens living in Việt Nam, and greetings to the noble and friendly people of Việt Nam on the occasion of the bicentennial anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Panama from the Kingdom of Spain. — VNS