Colombia Wants Union with Panama Through Highway

Uribe insists on building the road through the Darien Gap, meeting with old reluctance from Panama.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It is only 108 kilometers of road that are missing so that the Americas can be traveled by land from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but there are two arguments for refusing construction. One is that this is one of the few quasi-virgin regions left in the world, and it is feared that the inevitable progress that the road would bring would harm the environment and biodiversity, in addition to threatening aboriginal cultures.

The other Panamanian argument against the road deals with the fear that the violence of Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers will find easy access to the Canal country.

According to the article by Univision.com, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe called for the construction of the road, which is already included in the 2019 Colombia Development Plan, at a forum organized by the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, and he referred directly to the two fears: "If the jungle is not opened to a citizenry that is highly educated in environmental protection, it runs the risk of being destroyed by predators. When new generations decide to go and open that road, they might not find any environmental resources to protect." He added in reference to the security issue that "bandits have never had borders and if we do not have better communication systems, it is only the good citizens who will lose out."

More on this topic

Organized Crime in Central America

June 2010

Lack of investment and development has triggered the establishment of criminal gangs in the border areas of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

This was one of the findings of a study by the Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP). Javier Meléndez, advisor of the Institute, commented that “Organized crime has profited from these vulnerabilities, by providing ‘job’ opportunities for the local population, which ends up contributing to the logistics and operations of trafficking drug between Colombia and United States”.

New Route to Link the Americas

July 2009

Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli proposed a new alternative for a highway linking the Americas, through Kuna Yala.

At the Tuxtla Summit, hosted by Costa Rica, the proposal of a highway linking Colombia with Panama was discussed again. This road would travel through the so called "Darién Gap".

Panamanian Government Authorizes Electric Interconnection

May 2009

Electricity Transmission Company has been authorized to handle the electricity interconnection project between Panama and Colombia, along with Interconexión Eléctrica SA.

The Cabinet Council, headed by President Martín Torrijos approved the authorization so that Electrical Transmission Company, on behalf of the State and in association with Interconexión Eléctrica SA, will be responsible for the developing electric interconnection project between Panama and Colombia.

Panama Serves as Venue for the Commerce Ministers of C.A. Meeting

February 2009

From the 11th to the 13th of February, advancement will be pursued regarding the integration of customs and the duties for bananas and sugar, issues still pending in the negotiations with the EU.

PrensaLibre.com publishes in its website: "The Vice President and Panamanian Chancellor, Samuel Lewis Navarre, declared that there still is not a concrete date scheduled for the next round that Central America and the EU will coordinate in an attempt to achieve progress in negotiations and to conclude the talks next May, as they have had anticipated."

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