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The articles "Panamanian Banks Recover Strength" and "Shipping Firms Concerned About Canal Administration After 2000," both of April 23, offer a very interesting update on the Panamanian situation.
Regarding banking in Panama: Additional enforcement and regulations will only make handling legal transactions less competitive. Measures such as a more thorough review of currency transaction reports, as suggested by a United States official in the article, will only divert government resources from social programs required by a country in reconstruction.
Panama showed more willingness in fighting laundering than the US by ratifying the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The Assembly postponed discussion of more-pressing matters, such as the abolition of the Army, social security reform and other economical matters to speedily ratify the treaty, while the US Congress has not acted on it.
As for the future of the Panama Canal, the subsistence of a civilian, elected government is essential to avoid the canal and related activities from being used as cash cows. Only a government where checks and balances and the rule of law are upheld can maintain the canal of the year 2000. The education, work ethic, and dedication of working Panamanians will do the rest to ensure efficient administration. Alvaro Aguilar A., Washington
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