Accession Number:

ADA543248

Title:

Panama: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations

Descriptive Note:

Congressional rept.

Corporate Author:

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2011-04-22

Pagination or Media Count:

34.0

Abstract:

With five successive elected civilian governments, the Central American nation of Panama has made notable political and economic progress since the 1989 U.S. military intervention that ousted the regime of General Manuel Noriega from power. Current President Ricardo Martinelli of the center-right Democratic Change CD party was elected in May 2009, defeating the ruling center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party PRD in a landslide. Martinelli was inaugurated to a five-year term on July 1, 2009. Martinellis Alliance for Change coalition also captured a majority of seats in Panamas National Assembly. Panamas service-based economy has been booming in recent years, largely because of the ongoing Panama Canal expansion project slated for completion in 2014, but economic growth slowed in 2009 because of the global financial crisis and U.S. economic recession. Nevertheless, the economy rebounded in 2010, with a growth rate approaching 7, and strong growth is continuing in 2011. President Martinelli retains high approval ratings, but he has been criticized by some civil society groups for taking a heavy-handed approach toward governing and for not being more consultative. The country experienced labor unrest in July 2010 after the government approved legislation that would have weakened labor laws in several respects, but the government ultimately agreed to repeal the provisions. In February 2011, the government amended the countrys mining code to facilitate foreign investment. Indigenous groups protested the law even though President Martinelli vowed that his administration would not approve any mining concessions in indigenous areas. Ultimately, in early March 2011, President Martinelli called for the repeal of the law.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE