Panama. The upcoming 2014 presidential election cast its shadow over political life this year. In May, former housing minister José Domingo Arias was nominated as a candidate for the Democratic Change (CD) government party. The government was subject to major protests during the year, but at the same time could point to a positive economic development. Growth for the year was calculated, for example. to about 8%. According to Countryaah, the CD’s main political opponents and the country’s largest party, the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), also suffered major public defeats. One of the party’s nominees for the presidential post turned out to have expressed verbal threats to a competitor, and in September, one of the party’s congressmen was accused of being behind the murder of a party mate, Juan Ramón Messina, and was immediately eliminated.
As a result of the scandals within the PRD, CD’s opinion support increased. But President Ricardo Martinelli was also accused of being responsible for deteriorating and almost chaotic public transport in the capital Panama City. Extensive protests were also carried out against the government’s reform proposals in the education sector and privatization plans in the energy, telecom and oil sectors.
At the 1990 census 2,329,329 residents were recorded, 504,533 more than in the previous census (1980) and 901,247 more than in 1970. The average annual increase passed from about 2.5% in the 1970s to 2, 1% in the late 1980s: a still very high increase, mainly due to the significant drop in the mortality rate, which fell in 1991 to 3.8ı, the lowest value in Latin America (together with that of Costa Rica) and one of the lowest in the world. In the capital, Panama, 411,549 residents were registered (1990); but these are the residents of the city alone, not the entire urban agglomeration which now extends over most of the territories near the interoceanic canal, incorporating Colón, La Chorrera and various other centers, and forming a
This is a proof of how much the life of the small Isthmian republic is dependent on the waterway (about 60% of the active population is employed in the tertiary sector, and for the most part in activities connected with the Canal). The result is a growing accentuation of the imbalances between the various parts of the country: imbalances in the population density (the average is 30 residents / km 2, but we go from values of about 80 in the areas close to the Canal to the few units in the extreme eastern and north-western peripheries); imbalances in urbanization (outside the metropolitan area of the Canale only four centers – David, Santiago de Veraguas, Chitré, Penonomé – perform some urban function); imbalances in the production of wealth (over 70% of GDP comes from a territory that covers just over 10% of the total area and hosts 40% of the population). It should be noted that Panama’s dependence on the interoceanic channel has created serious problems following the crisis in relations with the United States (see below: History), which in 1988-89 suspended the payment of the toll due to Panama, also reducing the transit of its ships.
- According to AbbreviationFinder.org, Panama is the capital city of Panama. See acronyms and abbreviations related to this capital and other major cities within this country.
Agriculture employs (1991) 24% of the active population and contributes for just over 10% to the formation of the GDPanama Banana cultivation continues to be the most widespread activity and its product (11.1 million q of fruit in 1992) is still by far the most prevalent item among exports. Industrial development has been very modest, despite the efforts made in the energy field (in 1990 we reached an installed power of over 990,000 kW and a production of 2,900 million kWh).
The railway network reached a total length of 570 km in 1992; the road one, of almost 10,000 km. The fleet, due to the continued use of the Panamanian flag as a flag of convenience, is one of the largest in the world in terms of number of ships (over 5400 in 1992) and even the second in terms of tonnage (more than 52 million tonnes).
The trade balance is clearly passive. Despite the slowdown in relations, the United States is still the main partner, but Ecuador (for oil) and Japan are emerging as suppliers, and Germany as customers. In 1991, the per capita GDP had risen, according to World Bank estimates, to $ 2,180, a sensibly high value for a Central American state.