Panama - Relations with Central America

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Panama is a country located in North as well as in South America, which makes it a transcontinental country. Panama’s adjacent countries contain Costa Rica and Colombia. Furthermore, the land boarders the Pacific Ocean in the south and Caribbean Sea in the north (Panama 2020). Panama is set on the Isthmus of Panama, a pinching strip of land that connects North America and South America. The continental divide, formed by the central spine of mountain ranges and hills, is an outstanding geographical feature of Panama. 

The Cordillera de Talamanca is the name of the mountain range of the divide, which is situated near the Costa Rican border. The highest peak in Panama is occupied by the inactive volcano, Baru (Barú). The highlands and mountains consist mostly of volcanic/mineral rock. The plains of Panama and the Colon Province, the river basins of the Chepo and the Chucunaque and the northeastern plains of the Caribbean region are included under the lowlands and in most of these regions; sedimentary rocks such as slates and shale are present. There are several natural harbors along their coasts.

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Panama generally has a tropical climate with moderate rainfall, humidity and temperature. Tropical rainforests, and tropical grasslands are present here. Some short rivers also flow in this country. The soil is often reddish-brown and clayey, which is fertile in some regions, but fertilizers may be needed in other regions. Volcanic ash has developed into fertile soil in some regions, although the volcano has not been active for hundreds of years. Bananas, cocoa, maize, corn, oranges, and coffee are among the main crops cultivated in this country. Panama is also home to several plants and animals (Panama).

The opening of an artificial waterway, the Panama Canal, about 100 years ago, triggered a revolution in international trade. This is because it made transportation between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans easy and quick the most densely populated region of Panama is located the regions near the canal. Most of Panama’s economy is based on the Panama Canal, which was built by the Americans for shipping and passenger ships. The largest ports are the port of Balboa in Panama City, which is connected by a canal to the port of Colon in the north side of the country. Along the entire canal runs the Panama Canal Railway, the second most important transport line after the Canal, again built by the Americans (2020).

The capital Panama City, located on the Pacific coast is the most populous region and it is the focus of Panama's cultural, industrial, commercial, and political activities. San Miguelito and Colón are other important urban centers. Plains and low hills located between the Azuero Peninsula and the Tabasará Mountains are the regions where the dense rural populations can be found (Settlement patterns). The eastern third of Panama is the least densely populated region. Even though Panama is less urban compared to other Latin American countries, most people in Panama are followers of the urban culture (Panama). The service sector of the country developed due to the increase of canal traffic and offshore banking. In return, the GDP of the country is strongly influenced by the service sector of the country. This includes public administration and other service sectors. Ecotourism in the country also contributed to the country’s economic growth. Agriculture and fishing also play an important role (Kiprop, 2018).

Panama is in a unique position as far as diplomacy is concerned; many Latin American’s see Panama as the one that was influenced by Americans. Panama is a nation that maintains good relations countries. First, many people from the black community have relations with the Caribbean islands, like Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad, as their ancestors moved away from these nations in the 19th century and played an important role in the construction of the canal. Even today, many of them still have families and travel to these countries. 

The former colonial ruler Spain still maintains close ties and many Spaniards like to move to Panama, visit Panama, or retire there. In socio political and economic terms, the United States, has played a major role in developing much of what is now Panama, not only occupying the canal, but also building the infrastructure, railways, and roads. Colombia shares a long of history with Panama, at some point they voluntarily joined Colombia and became a division under Gran Colombia. They eventually broke apart but remained closely connected. Costa Rica and Panama had problems for years. Over time their relationship has grown.

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