The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020 41 T he relationship between the United States and Panama has historically been positive, despite occasional hic- cups during the times when the U.S. still had control of the Panama Canal. Panama felt that it was being short- changed economically and humili- ated politically as a result of the one-sided conditions created by the 1903 Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which gave the United States the right to build the canal and administer it while maintaining an enclave in perpetuity within Panamanian territory. The 1977 Treaty returning the canal to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999, was one of the biggest diplomatic successes of the last 50 years anywhere in the world. Panama has done an admirable Jaime Alemán was appointed Panama’s ambassa- dor to the United States in August 2009 by President of the Republic of Panama H.E. Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal. He presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on Nov. 4, 2009, and served as ambassador until January 2011. Mr. Alemán is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association, the Panama Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the International Bar Association and the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners. Not without hiccups, U.S.-Panama ties can become stronger with frank and open discussion, a former ambassador to the United States observes. BY JA I ME AL EMÁN job running the canal, to the point that today the waterway is for all purposes a non-issue in the bilateral relationship. The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, which entered into force on Oct. 31, 2012, further cemented the strong diplomatic and commercial bonds between our two countries. The United States has always been and still is Panama’s main trading partner. The dollar has circulated freely in the country since the time of its independence; this has been hugely benefi- cial to Panama, contributing to the country’s economic growth and stability. FOCUS HOW THEY SEE US Working with the United States AView fromPanama ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/MIRONOVAK