Panama: What do Panamanians think about the US invasion of their country?

I am a Panamanian born 3 months before the invasion, but I have been told stories about my parents how they kept their lights off because US helicopters were firing at places they saw with light, and how a section of our building's roof was bombed. My parents say that maybe they must have thought Noriega was hiding there since it was the tallest building in my province at the time. Later the news reported that Noriega had been hiding in the Vatican embassy all along, if am not mistaken.

I think the invasion in Panama is the same as the invasion in Iraq, and many other so called wars waged with the taxes paid by millions of Americans. Would Americans be in favor of wars, absolutely not. They were being brainwashed by the media that a small country the size of 3% of Alaska was a threat to the USA. Did the war of drugs stop with Noriegas's removal? No. Did consumption of Drugs stop without Noriega helping the cartels? No. Wars or invasions, are not a correction to an already corrupt political system.

I think replacing Noriega was necessary only because Noriega was not capable of taking the country to what it is today, but the leaders we have today are not any better than Noriega. The is because Noriega was trained by the US in the School of the Americas. His economic sense, business sense, growth sense, zero. He was a good military strategist, a soldier, and was well trained to run precisely that, a dictatorial regime. His torture tactics were brutal and consistent with many students of the School of the Americas, who later went on to become dictators or powerful generals. That is not coincidence. He was an uglier version of Gaddhafi by his looks, and he was created by the US because he was an important link since Omar Torrijos was not a sellout and Torrijos' political views and ideals were totally opposite to the US's foreign policy agenda, therefore Noriega sold himself at a good price. It is also not a coincidence the timing of Torrijos' death, but there is no proof to convict anyone, so all we can settle for are conspiracy theories.

The only good thing that came out after the invasion was the dismantling of the military forces that Panama had, because that would only be the first step towards creating a stable democracy. Military forces that are too powerful relative to the size of a country's population are a threat to the country's political stability if mechanisms to avoid things such as martial law are not designed, or kept in check. Whatever some may say, the US's general population being as armed as it is, also keeps the military's duties in check. If military and intelligence is not kept in check, you got situations like Pakistan where a defenseless population is run in the background by their intelligence agency, but disguised as people's elected govt. Today they are being eaten up from the inside by the Taliban, a monster the Paki intelligence wing created.

I guess the USA being as politically and diplomatically intelligent as they are (and I am not being sarcastic, the US is the greatest country, its just their foreign policy that is kinda selfish), would have designed another way to systematically reduce Noriega's power and influence he had in Panama, and dismantle the Panamanian Defense Forces, would be the best way for a stable transition into democracy, though historically, transitions into democracy have never been stable. They could have been, but they are not let to be stable, because war is a very profitable business. There are rumors that from huge stockpiles of weapons left from WWII, some were used in Panama. Also, there is rumors that chemical and modern weapons which would be used during the Gulf war, were tested in Panama's Invasion. Why woudl you need chemical and highly sophisticated warfare, deploy more than 20,000 troops, to eliminate a single man. That is not only an excessive use of force, its a training exercise, and that too unfair.

Do you really think millions of people have the time and motivation to protest, rape, and kill in the name of democracy and freedom? No unless they get paid to do so. Syria, Iraq, and many others are just examples. There would be no Arab Spring, without being paid for it.

It would interesting to do a study to find out the % of fanaticism for politics that exists in a population, and it would explain in one single answer that wars are a business, and paid for. Its really sad how the military industrial complex, Oil, drugs, all work in an axis that is set to destroy freedom. We are still slaves, just legally with passports and ID cards.

I'd really love to sit in a corner and just try to forget about all the injustices that happen in this world, just for a piece of paper not backed by anything so precious: Money.
It's generally seen as the tragic ending of some of the worst years the country went through (the Noriega dictatorship, but generally 1968-1989 when were under military rule).

On the other hand, the US can't be truly blamed for invading us in an official sense, Noriega declared war on the US, and within 3 days he was on his knees hiding in a church, and thrown out of there within 3 more days. They overdid it by testing a bunch of weapon systems meant for dealing with Saddam Hussein on us, but that's about it.

A lot of people lost their lives, and El Chorrillo was completely obliterated, which is reflected on its terrible present state.
A lot of people who made it through are just generally happy that those dark days are behind us, and the benefits have been manifold over the last 25 years.

The thing to consider is the following: the US didn't harm Panama when they invaded the country to get rid of Noriega, they harmed Panama when they trained, helped, and allied with him years earlier so they could have control over the region. That meddling was unwarranted, colonial, shortsighted (in terms of actually advancing US interests), immoral and harmful to the welfare of the people.

I'm a Panamanian who was born a couple of years before the invasion. Mama said that part of why my family had to evacuate was because Americans were ‘disappearing' and she was concerned that my newborn brother and that I as a toddler would disappear too especially because our father is an American with blond hair and blue eyes.

To this day, I sometimes call it "Operation Just ‘cuz" instead of ‘Operation: Just Cause'. From what I read, Noriega had no business being in charge in the first place, being a low-level grunt who happened to be liked by the CIA. He just played ball for them and they only worked to depose him when he refused.

The last time I was back, we went and passed through an area that was hit quite heavily in the French Quarter. Mama said she knew some who lived in the area.

Now, to this day, Noriega is still called ‘Pineapple face' because of his really bad acne. He's a spoof now, but before it was unthinkable. I'm glad he was tried elsewhere because he might have some influence still at the worst. At best...

I think that until recently, in order to try and keep bigger countries from keeping such a sway again, we have since played countries against each other politically. I say until recently because China and Panama are getting closer recently. Gran even wants me to marry Chinese.


I was born some years after the invasion.

It is broadly agreed that it was necessary. My very anti-American family tell me, in a positive sense (and holy shit I'm not kidding) that Panamanians wanted the invasion. Again, exactly why a Panamanian would want the invasion varied (in my family's case it was because Noriega was seen as a CIA problem so no need to kill more of our people due to a US-trained, US-supported, third rate dictator), but it was definitely something a lot of people could agree on.

However, it is also agreed that it was a disproportionate show of force and a testing ground for the Gulf War. Whether people have a lingering resentment and a sensation that a bad chapter is behindus, or a simmering hate, is again determined by both politics and social strata. You see, especially in Panama City, due to unjustified bombings, the fires, the shootings, the mass graves in low-income neighbourhoods, the lower you go down the social ladder the more anti-American a person will get, even if they are open to American culture or influence in any other form or if they are, shall we say, libertarians at heart.

As for the politics side... well, the more nationalistic one gets, the more anti-American one gets as a rule of thumb, since the crazy imperialist, paranoid, anti-commie policies have done nothing but harm the nation so... Yes, it's a very much reviled thing. There's also the capitalist/socialist/communist divide (although not talked about as such in Panamanian political discourse); the  less capitalist one gets, the more anti-American one becomes.

It definitely doesn't help to fuel the fire that a lot of us had family members unjustifiably killed during the invasion (i.e. clearly non-combatants), and a whole 'nother bunch of issues.

But yes. While the thing itself happening was seen as a positive, literally everything else about it is seen as either vile, bad, or just glad it's over with.

If you want to determine where someone's views land in this checkered landscape, do remember that nationalism trumps everything. My family has a strongly entrepeneurial, capitalist, praise the merit based system of the Army in the Zone, they are of the  better-the-Devil-you-know (the US) view of the world, and yet, they're as anti-American as it can get.
When I sailed through the Panama Canal, we spent some time in Panama City, refitting before we attempted the passage onto French Polynesia.  During that time, we were able to get to know some of the locals around the marinas and dockyards just outside the Canal.  We met a woman, who was in her late 20's, who had been a child during the invasion.  She expressed some animosity towards the soldiers who had participated in that invasion.

Overall, however, we did not detect any overt feelings towards Americans in Panama City.  US dollars are even an accepted alongside the Panamanian Balboa in Panama.  I had the feeling that due to the connection the US has had with Panama historically, they are more linked than they are separate.
I think you're talking about invasion Moral and essential, because there was a military invasion but an invasion of mind ...

  Unfortunately, the population has assimilated American way of life, and that acceptance has to be "peaceful" annexation of Panama to the American way of life!

No complaints! Panama became a backyard of U.S. and Admit it believed to haveadvantages in doing so. Other nations were forcibly taken by the so military, but withPanama is different: the country as a prostitute, assimilate the idea of ​​American life,with its advantages and its disadvantages coms ... BUT, american's way for life! American!

* I'm from Bra>S<il, Salvador-Bahia! My name is Ednei!
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