Panama Lost?
U.S. Hegemony, Democracy, and the Canal

Peter M. Sánchez

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"I can think of no contemporary work of scholarship that does what this work does. It is original in that it examines the interplay between Panama's democratic development within the larger context of U.S. hegemony during the twentieth century . . . and unique [in its] attention to the interplay of domestic political and international (hegemonic) forces during this period."--Steve Ropp, University of Wyoming0

"This update of Panama history and international relations within the context of U.S. hegemony is current, critical, and well executed."--Jeanne A. Hey, Miami University, Ohio

Sanchez tells the story of how Panama, though one of the smallest Latin American countries, played the largest symbolic role in America's ascent to world power status, particularly during the U. S. almost century-long occupation of the Canal Zone from 1903 until December 31, 1999. A narrow isthmus linking North America and South America, Panama's strategic geographic location and size has attracted the attention of strong nation-states for 500 years. The United States would undoubtedly have become a great power without the Isthmus of Panama, but more than any other country in the hemisphere, Panama has served as a critical outpost for U.S. power and as an instrument for U.S. military and economic might. Sanchez argues that the policies of the United States toward Panama--motivated principally by the goal of preserving its hegemony in Latin America--produced a formidable barrier to developing democratic politics in Panama.

Examining key events and personalities in Panama's political history from the 1850s to the present, this comprehensive survey analyzes U.S.-Panamanian relations through the 1989 removal of General Manuel Noriega by U.S. armed forces and the final disposition of the Panama Canal Treaties, culminating in the return of all canal-related lands to the Panamanian government. This book is foremost a study of power relationships, demonstrating how domestic political development cannot be understood fully without taking power at the international level into consideration. Combining theory, case study, and policy relevance, this volume makes significant contributions to both comparative politics and international relations theory, showing that domestic and international politics are two sides of one coin. Featuring a comprehensive bibliography of material in both Spanish and English, the book will be a key resource not only for Latin Americanists but for anyone interested in the process of democratization and the effects of the international system on domestic political development.

Peter M. Sanchez is associate professor of political science at Loyola University, Chicago.

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Choice Outstanding Academic Title - 2008

Argues that U.S. policies toward Panama-motivated principally by the goal of preserving its hegemony in Latin America-produced a formidable barrier to developing democratic policies in Panama.
--Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

"An outstanding book in every aspect. . . . Highly recommended." Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title

"Provide[s] a compact and very readable summary of this arduous bilateral relationship in the context of domestic Isthmian conditions, of hemispheric, at times global, power struggles, and of some provocative theoretical formulations."
--Hispanic American Historical Review

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