|República de Panamá|
|Republic of Panama|
Motto : Pro Mundi Beneficio
( Latin " For the good of the world ")
|Form of government||republic|
|Government system||Presidential Democracy|
|Head of state , also head of government||President Laurentino Cortizo|
|Population density||44 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+1.20% per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.788 ( 60th ) (2016)|
US dollars (USD)
|independence||November 3, 1903
(from Colombia )
|Time zone||UTC − 5|
|ISO 3166||PA , PAN, 591|
Panama ( Spanish: Panamá ) is a state in Central America that borders Costa Rica in the west and Colombia in the east. The Panama Canal , which crosses the country, connects the Caribbean in the north and the Pacific Ocean in the south.
Panama gained independence from Colombia in 1903 . After that, the country was long under the influence of the USA. In 1999, the US finally gave full control of the Panama Canal to the state of Panama. Thanks to the income from the canal, Panama is now one of the richest countries in Latin America. In 2016, the country was ranked 60th out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index .
The state of Panama has an area of 75,517 km², of which 210 km² are inland waterways. Its coastline is 1,915 km long.
Panama occupies the narrowest part of the Central American land bridge , which is broken here by the Panama Canal. The Isthmus of Panama is only 60 km wide. The highest mountain in the country is the Volcán Barú with 3477 m. It is part of the Central American Cordillera that runs through Panama parallel to the coasts.
The most densely populated areas are on the Pacific coast and around the Canal Zone. Over half of the population lives in cities.
On the northern, Caribbean coast of Panama, there is a dry season from January to March / April , and a small dry season from the end of July to September. The Bocas del Toro archipelago in the far northwest of Panama is home to a national park and, with its white beaches, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Panama. The flora and fauna are increasingly threatened by tourism . The northeastern Caribbean coast is home to the Kuna Yala Indians (also known as San Blas ), who have recognized autonomy within the region.
- Azuero peninsula - Chitré area
The Azuero Peninsula is about halfway between Panama City and David . On the entire journey via Chitré and Pedasi , pastures predominate, which are only occasionally interrupted by rice and corn cultivation. Gradually the route merges into the Canajagua Mountains , where erosion has left strange, cone-like hills. In the south-western part, the driest area of Panama, lies the approximately 8,000 hectare, semi-desert national park Parque Nacional Sarigua .
The province of Darién is largely characterized by tropical rainforest . The east and south of the province are dangerous for tourists. Particularly in the border area with Colombia, there are high security risks, as smugglers and drug traffickers from Colombia as well as resistance fighters have largely eliminated state order and security.
Flora and fauna
Panama is a natural land bridge and connects North and Central America with South America. Some animal species from both parts occur here, such as the agoutis , tapirs or the harpy . It is estimated that around 300,000 insect species live in Panama. More than 29% of the land area is divided into 15 nature parks, which serve to protect and preserve the native flora and fauna.
According to the last census of May 19, 2010, Panama had around 3.406 million inhabitants. The official name of the inhabitants is Panamanian or Panamanian. The term Panamenians, derived from Spanish Panameños or English Panamanians, is often used colloquially. Life expectancy in 2016 was 75.8 years for men and 81.6 years for women; it is one of the highest in Latin America. In a survey by the polling institute Gallup in December 2012, the people of the country were among the happiest people on earth.
Ethnic composition and languages
Almost two thirds (around 60%) of Panamanians are mestizos , i.e. descend from both Indians and Europeans. They live mainly in the provinces of Coclé , Herrera and Veraguas in the west of the country , where they make up up to 90% of the local population.
The second largest group is made up of blacks and mixed colored people with a total of around 15% (in the provinces of Darién and Bocas del Toro around 50% each). They can be divided into two groups, each of which makes up half of all Afropanamaers. They mostly come either from slaves imported by Spaniards from West Africa and therefore speak Spanish, or from immigrants from Caribbean countries who speak Creole English interspersed with West African and French elements. The word for cornmeal kukúu comes from the language of the Ewe , for eat yampí from that of the Wolof .
The Afropanamians are followed by the descendants of European settlers and immigrants with 13% (in the provinces of Panamá , Los Santos , and Chiriquí over 15%). The indigenous peoples make up 8.3% of the population (largest groups: Guaymí and Cuna ). Asians make up around 4% of the population.
In 2017, 4.7% of the population was born abroad. Most of the foreigners came from Colombia (60,000), China (20,000), the United States, Nicaragua and Venezuela (10,000 each). Most of the migrants settled in Panama for economic reasons.
The population of Panama is predominantly Christian ; 86% (according to other information 75 to 80%) are Catholics and 10% (according to other information 15 to 25%) Protestants (mostly Evangelicals ). There is approximately 1% each of Jews and Muslims . There are many followers of the Baha'i religion among the Ngäbe (Ngöbe) . Also, Mormons are well represented. Some groups of the indigenous Kuna, Ngäbe, Buglé and Embera are still followers of their traditional Mesoamerican religions .
In 1821 Panama split from Spain and became part of Greater Colombia under Simón Bolívar . Independence from the province of Granada (formerly Colombia) was declared several times in the 1830s and 1840s, but it was quickly reversed.
As a result of a military intervention by the USA , today's Panama split off from Colombia on November 3, 1903 after the Panama conflict . This was preceded by the 1000-day war, in which the indigenous man Victoriano Lorenzo fought for the self-determination of the Indians, which he paid with his life: he was shot. With that the Indians lost the chance of owning land and political representation in the new state.
Immediately thereafter, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, as Panamanian negotiator, signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty , which allowed the USA to build the Panama Canal and at the same time claim sovereignty over the area around the canal , the so-called Panama Canal Zone . Between 1904 and 1914 built Engineers of the US Army the Panama Canal. However, the first work on the canal had already begun under French leadership in 1881.
The constitution of 1904 provided universal male suffrage for all Panamanians over the age of 21. An election law number 98 of July 5, 1941 gave women over the age of 21 the active and passive right to vote at the provincial level if they had a university degree, a teaching degree, completed vocational training or attended secondary school. The general active and passive right to vote for women was only introduced on March 1, 1946.
From 1959 to 1962 the Puente de las Américas , a bridge spanning the canal, was built by the Americans, which was to remain the only land connection between North and South America for over 40 years. On August 15, 2004, a second bridge called the Puente del Centenario was opened under the outgoing President Mireya Moscoso . However, it was not put into operation until 2005. The third bridge at Colón was opened to traffic in August 2019.
In 1964 there was a flag dispute between the USA and Panama in the Panama Canal Zone .
On September 7, 1977, the Torrijos-Carter Treaties were signed (the treaty was named by the then de facto President of Panama, Omar Torrijos , and the then US President Jimmy Carter ), which provided the transfer of the entire canal zone from the USA pledged to Panama until the end of 1999.
In December 1989 the dictator Manuel Noriega , who ruled Panama with the help of the military after the mysterious death of Omar Torrijos in 1981, was overthrown by the USA (under George HW Bush ) in Operation Just Cause . Until his fall, Noriega was one of the United States' most important allies in Central America. The general is often mistakenly viewed as the president from 1983 to 1989. However, he was only the head of the National Guard , which was later converted into the Fuerzas de Defensa de Panamá . Five days before his arrest, the National Assembly elevated him to head of government with extraordinary and unrestricted rights.
On December 31, 1999 at 12:00 p.m., the entire US area along the canal and all US military bases were officially handed over to Panama according to the Torrijos-Carter Treaty . The Panama Canal Authority (Autoridad del Canal de Panamá - ACP) took over the operation and management of the canal . According to the government, it is planned that the US will set up two naval bases in Panama, in Bahia Piña and Punta Coca .
The parliament in Panama is the national assembly . Since July 2019 Laurentino Cortizo from the Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD), who replaced Juan Carlos Varela from the Partido Panameñista (PP) after the 2019 presidential election, has been President of Panama.
In the 2019 Democracy Index, Panama ranks 45th out of 167 countries, making the country an “incomplete democracy”. After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Panama in 2016 by 176 countries, along with Mongolia and Zambia on the 87th place, with 32 out of a maximum 100 points.
On October 22nd, 2006, a referendum decided to expand the Panama Canal. 78% voted for the expansion (with a turnout of 44%). The canal, one of the country's main sources of income, had reached its capacity limit of 14,000 ships a year. The newly built canal was ceremoniously put into operation on June 26, 2016.
Since the formation of Panamá Oeste in 2014, Panama has been administratively divided into ten provinces (provincias) and five territories ( comarcas ). In the autonomous territories there is a self-government of the indigenous people groups Kuna , Ngöbe , Buglé , Embera and Wounaan .
Provinces (in brackets the provincial capital):
- 1 Bocas del Toro ( Bocas del Toro )
- 2 Chiriquí ( David )
- 3 coclé ( penonomé )
- 4 Colon ( Colon )
- 5 Darién ( La Palma )
- 6 Herrera ( Chitré )
- 7 Los Santos ( Las Tablas )
- 8 Panamá ( Ciudad de Panamá )
- 9 Veraguas ( Santiago de Veraguas )
- 10 Panamá Oeste ( La Chorrera )
Autonomous indigenous territories with provincial status:
Comarcas without full provincial status
In 2016, 45.2% of the population used the internet.
In 2018, Panama was ranked 38th out of 160 countries in the Logistics Performance Index , which is compiled by the World Bank and measures the quality of the infrastructure. Of all the countries in Latin America, Panama ranks second behind Chile .
The north-south connection between the Atlantic and Panama City on the Pacific is known as Transistmica . Today the railway line (recently renovated) runs next to the Panama Canal and a road link between Panama City and Colón some distance away . Many accidents happen on it (due to heavy traffic and poor condition). Between 2007 and 2009, a 42 km long new motorway was built parallel to the Transistmica by the Brazilian Odebrecht group to shorten the journey between Colón and Panama City and make it safer.
Panama's road network is 11,400 kilometers long , including a section of the Panamericana . The main road is the Panamericana, which runs through all of Panama. The Panamericana (English Pan American Highway ) actually connects North America with South America and leads from Alaska to southern Chile , but in the border area between Panama and Colombia, in the jungle area of the Darién , there is a gap, the so-called Tapón del Darién (also under the English Name Darien Gap known), which has not yet been closed. The reason for this is mainly due to the fact that the area is criss-crossed by swamps and is also held by Colombian guerrillas who are smuggling and drug trafficking there, so that the effort for safety in building the road would be very high. In addition, environmentalists have raised concerns that the Pan-American north-south link will probably not be completed in the near future.
The country once had around 450 kilometers of rail, of which around 380 km were narrow-gauge railways , the last of which were dismantled in 2008/2009. The approximately 75 km long main route of the Panama Canal Railway runs right through the Isthmus of Panama and connects the city of Colón on the Caribbean with Panama City on the Pacific, essentially along the canal. The Panama Railroad was built from 1850 to 1855 and had a track width of 1524 mm; 1904–1912 the route was relocated. It was privatized in the 1990s and taken over from the USA by Kansas Southern Industries , modernized and relocated to the 1435 mm wide standard gauge in 2001 . Freight traffic takes place, since 2001 with double-deck container wagons ; In addition, a passenger train runs in each direction on weekdays and charter trains are run for passengers on cruise ships.
The Panama Canal connects the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The largest ports in the country are Balboa , Cristóbal , Bocas del Toro , Almirante and Puerto Armuelles . Panama's merchant fleet is 6,184 ships. Currently the largest in the world, but this is due to the practice of flagging out : almost all ships registered here are in foreign ownership and are manned by foreign crews.
- Air traffic
Near the city of Panama is the international airport Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen (PTY) near Tocumen . In addition, the Marco A. Gelabert regional airport is located in the former canal zone in the immediate vicinity of the central bus terminal. From there you can reach provincial capitals such as David (Chiriqui) or Changinola and Isla Colon (Bocas del Toro). The domestic airlines are Aeroperlas Regional ( belonging to Grupo TACA ) and the private Air Panama . The airline Aeroperlas Regional filed for bankruptcy at the end of February 2012 and has since completely ceased regional air traffic.
In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Panama ranks 50th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). In addition, Panama has the most globalized economy in the entire region. One of the main reasons for this is the country's hub function thanks to the Panama Canal, which was expanded to accommodate larger ships in 2016, and an associated network of leading, ultra-modern and efficient ports in the region - both on the Atlantic and the Pacific - as well as numerous free trade and special economic zones that are of supraregional importance. Panama's GDP per capita in 2016 was 23,034 US dollars ( PAC ), which means that the level of prosperity was roughly the same as that of Croatia . This makes the country one of the richest in Latin America. Thanks to increasing trade, the economy has expanded by 5 to 6 percent annually in recent years.
The most important sources of income for the Panamanian economy are the Panama Canal , in whose administration, operation and maintenance around 8,000 people work, as well as the registration of ships. Most ships in the world are registered in Panama, almost one in five. The reason for this is the comparatively uncomplicated procedure and the low taxes.
The largest source of income in Panama is related to the operation of the Panama Canal, which was long under the joint administration of Panama and the United States and has been under the sole control of Panama since December 31, 1999. The US invasion of December 1989 marked another setback for the economy, which was already suffering from US sanctions. The gross domestic product (GDP) is 61,838 million US dollars (2017; services: 82 percent, industry: 15.7 percent, agriculture: 2.4 percent); this results in a GDP per capita of 15,089 US dollars.
The total number of Panamanian workers in regular paid work is less than a third of the total population. The remainder work for their own needs, live from undeclared work or are unemployed (2005: 9.6 percent). 19 percent of the regularly employed people work in agriculture, forestry and fishing, 62 percent are employed in the trade, finance and service sectors, and 19 percent in industry. Almost 17 percent of all wage workers are unionized.
On January 28, 2016, the EU Commission presented a package of measures to combat tax evasion , including Panama on the black list of tax havens . Following the revelations in the Panama Papers , President Varela promised more tax transparency and openness.
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).
(purchasing power parity)
|7.32 billion||11.18 billion||12.61 billion||18.59 billion||26.47 billion||36.71 billion||41.07 billion||47.27 billion||52.36 billion||53.61 billion||57.38 billion||65.48 billion||72.85 billion||78.93 billion||85.20 billion||91.10 billion||98.87 billion||103.89 billion|
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
(as a percentage of GDP)
8.8 percent of Panama's land area is used for agriculture. Mainly bananas , plátanos , sugar cane , rice , pineapples , corn and coffee are grown. The animal population includes cattle , pigs and chickens .
Forestry and fishing
Forests cover around 45 percent of the country's area. A national forest authority manages the majority of the forest areas - around two thirds are under protection, the remaining third is used as commercial forest.
Mining and industry
Small amounts of gold and silver are mined in Panama . Salt is extracted on the Pacific coast. Most manufacturing products such as cement , cigarettes, shoes , clothing , soap, processed foods and alcoholic beverages are destined for the domestic market. Oil refineries produce mainly for export.
Panama has had one of the largest banking systems in Latin America since the 1980s and therefore also attracted German wealthy people. Offshore business in particular is offered on a large scale, including from large law firms such as Mossack Fonseca, made famous by the Panama Papers .
After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Panama in 2017 by 180 countries, along with Brazil , Colombia , Indonesia , Peru , Thailand and Zambia on the 96th place, with 37 out of a maximum 100 points.
Currency and foreign trade
The currency unit of Panama is the Balboa (PAB), where 1 PAB is divided into 100 Centésimos. The US dollar is also an official currency. The Balboa is pegged 1 to 1 to the US dollar. In addition to US cent coins, Balboa coins are also in circulation. Payments over 1 PAB / USD are only made in US dollar bills. The National Bank of Panama is the state bank founded in 1904.
The country's main exports are bananas, pineapples, petroleum products, shrimp, raw sugar and coffee. Over 60 percent of that goes to the United States. Imports are mainly from the United States and China. Other main suppliers to Panama are Mexico and Japan. Primarily fossil fuels , textiles , canned food , machines , chemicals , conveying equipment and raw materials are imported . The trade balance is negative.
The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 12.4 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 11.7 billion US dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 1.2% of GDP .
The national debt was 39.7% of GDP in 2016. Panama government bonds are rated BBB by the rating agency Standard & Poor’s (as of December 2018) and are therefore considered to be worth investing.
In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
The kitchen of Panama is a mixture of Spanish and Caribbean to American and German dishes and ingredients. The influence of the indigenous population has also had a major impact on Panama's pantry. The most famous dishes in the country today include the sancocho, a stew made from chicken and vegetables, possibly also with bananas, furthermore the tamales , a kind of corn dough with various ingredients such as meat or raisins, and yuca al mojo, pieces of cassava cooked with olive oil.
music and dance
Panama's folk customs are shaped by Spanish, African and indigenous influences. It is mainly expressed in music, dance and festivals such as B. in carnival. Historical as well as modern dances from the neighboring country Colombia and the Caribbean form, together with the typical Latin American dances, a great variety. Well-known dances are the 17th century tamborito and the cumbia from the Guinea coast in two-quarter and four-quarter time, which is also common in Colombia and El Salvador . Drums and other percussion instruments play an important role in these dances.
Also to be mentioned are:
- the Tipico and Vallenato , which have survived from the former community of states with Colombia ;
- the reggae , reggaeton (the corresponding dance is Perreo is also called Rakata) from Puerto Rico , the Dominican Republic and Panama itself;
- Dances of the various indigenous groups, including the Kuna Yala ;
- the Haitano from Haiti ;
- the typical Latin American dances Salsa , Merengue , Bachata .
One of the most famous salsa musicians in the world comes from Panama: Rubén Blades , he was tourism minister of his country from 2004 to June 2009.
Most of the dances are still dominated by large parts of the population.
- Before independence
The first work published during the colonial period of Panama is the Llanto de Panama con la muerte de Don Enrique Enriquez from the 17th century. Even before independence in 1903, there were representatives of a romantic literature in today's Panama, whose work reflected the liberal and national currents of the time, and especially Colombia. With the arrival of modernismo in poetry , the national movement radicalized. One of the first modernists was the Mallarmé- influenced diplomat Darío Herrera (1870–1914), a friend of Rubén Daríos .
After separating from Colombia in 1903, Panama got rid of its Colombian tradition, but at the same time was exposed to high economic and cultural pressure from the USA. Since the 1920s it has been the goal of the authors to present an independent cultural identity.
The best-known author of the 20th century is Ricardo Miró (1883–1940), who was influenced by modernism and who had to give up painting in Bogotá for political reasons . After Panama's independence, he wrote the poem Patria (1904), a kind of informal national anthem. For a while he was consul in Barcelona . He also wrote the novels "Las noches de Babel" (1913), which combines elements of the detective novel and reportage, and Flor de María . The literary prize Concurso Nacional de Literatura Ricardo Miró is named after him.
The modernist lyric work of Demetrio Kors is also inspired by Rubén Darío; later he returned to regionalism. The nature-loving poetry of María Olimpia de Obaldía (1891–1985), who campaigned for the women of the indigenous people of the Ngäbe , cannot be assigned to any school . The poet and narrator Rogelio Sinán (1902-1994) dealt with the European surrealist and other avant-garde currents in Europe. His work Onda (1909) marks the beginning of the avant-garde in Panama. In the 1930s and 1940s he contributed to the development of theater and especially children's theater in Panama.
Panama produced numerous other writers in the second half of the 20th century, but their works have generally not yet been translated into German. They were influenced, among others, by Colombian, Nicaraguan and Guatemalan authors. Still, local issues like the canal and rural life remained important.
The works of the literary scholar, essayist and narrator Gloria Guardia (* 1940), who was born in Venezuela as the daughter of Panamanian-Nicaraguan parents and temporarily lives in Colombia, found international recognition , whose work is characterized by the abolition of the boundaries between the genres and a post-modern collage technique. Her works have also been published in the USA, France, England, Italy, Poland and Japan. Well-known authors include Joaquín Beleño (1922–1988), whose experience with the US administration of the Canal Zone was reflected in his dark novels such as Luna Verde (1951), the realistic narrator and poet Tristán Solarte (* 1924), the 1984 almost fell victim to a paramilitary attack, as well as the versatile author and doctor Rosa María Britton (1936–2019) and the narrator, poet and essayist Enrique Jaramillo Levi (* 1944), who has written or edited more than 50 books. The poet and essayist Giovanna Benedetti (* 1949) lives in Spain today.
The range of topics for the younger generation of authors has expanded considerably; they write about urban chaos or about fantastic topics. Among them, the musician and music therapist Melanie Taylor (* 1972) , who is of Caribbean ancestry, stands out. She is inspired by Guatemalan poetry and also writes micro-stories ( Minificción ). The narrator Carlos Oriel Wynter Melo (* 1971) is also considered a promising talent . The ancestors of the poet, narrator and violinist Melanie Taylor (* 1972) come from the Caribbean. She reflects on the gentrification of Panama City, with ghetto aesthetics and the androgynous body cult of young people, in which she recognizes a revolt against the McDonald’s world. The poets and writers of short stories and micro-stories Lucy Cristina Chau (* 1971) and Lili Mendoza (* 1974), who also write literary reports (Crónicas) , became known throughout Central America . Ariel Barría Alvarado has received multiple awards for novels and short stories.
The engineer, computer scientist and cultural manager José Luis Rodríguez Pittí (* 1971), who publishes the blog minitextos.org , writes electronic mini-texts, photo essays and stories . As a result, the media reach of the authors in the small country has increased significantly. The website escritorespanama.com provides information on current literary events .
Panama has a poorly developed book market and imports many books from Colombia, Mexico and Spain. Award literary prizes and a. the Instituto Nacional de Cultura , the Technical University of Panama (UTP) and the Fundación Cultural Signos .
The best-known Panamanian painters are Hernando de la Cruz (1592–1646), a Counter-Reformation artist who decorated various buildings in Quito ( Ecuador ), Adriano Herrerabarría (* 1928) and Rodolfo Antonio Méndez Vargas (1926–2004), who joined Realistic and Impressionist paintings oriented.
The Panamanian media are generally quite professional, but e.g. B. The disclosure of private information is prohibited. Government employees face severe penalties for secretly disclosing relevant information to the public. In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Panama was ranked 96th out of 180 countries. According to the non-governmental organization, there are "recognizable problems" with the situation of press freedom in the country.
The most popular sports in Panama include baseball and soccer . The greatest success of the national soccer team was the second place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2013 and 2005 and the qualification for the soccer world championship 2018 in Russia , where you were eliminated in the preliminary round but scored two goals as a debutant.
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