Panama


Panama is a country in Middle America bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. It is also between Columbia and Costa Rica. Panama is at the southern end of Central America. Panama and the land above it to Mexico’s southern border make the part of the North American continent that is called Central America. Other countries that neighbor Panama are: Venezuela, Ecuador. Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador are countries near Panama. The Gulf of Panama is another body of water by Panama, aside from the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. The capital of Panama is Panama City. The only type of regions panama has is rugged mountains and dissected upland plains. The costal areas, large plains and rolling hills. The location that Panama is in is a location on the eastern end of an isthmus forming land bridge that connects North America and South America. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger masses of land. Panama controls the Panama Canal that links the North Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. Panama occasionally has severe storms and forests fires.


Panama’s population as of July 2003 is approximately 2,960,784. The official language of Panama is Spanish though fourteen percent speak English and many Panamanians are bilingual. Eighty-five percent of Panama is of the Roman Catholic religion, and fifteen percent are Protestant. The major exports for Panama are bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, and clothing. Panamas exports partners are The United States - forty-nine percent, Nicaragua - five percent, Sweden – four percent, Benelux and Costa Rica. Panama earns about $5.8 billion in exports alone, but they spend $6.7 billion in import items like capital goods, crude oil, foods, consumer goods and chemicals. Their import partners are: The United States – thirty-three percent, Ecuador – seven percent, Venezuela – six percent and Japan- five percent.


An interesting historical fact about Panama is that the Panama Canal was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between the years of 1904-1914.


There are also some major holidays and activities in Panama. They do the regular calendar year too.


January 1 – New years day


January 9 – National Martyrs’ Day


February 24-25 – Carnival


April 10 – Good Friday


May 1 – Labor Day


August 15 – Foundation of Panama City


October 11 – Revolution Day


November 3 – Independence from Columbia


November 3 – Flag Day


November 5 – (Colon Only) Independence Day


November 28 – Independence from Spain


December 8 – Immaculate Conception, Mother’s Day


December 25 Christmas


The major branches of Panama’s government system seem to be the same as the United States branches. They have the Executive Branch – the president is both the chief of state and the head of government.


Legislative Branch- Unicameral Legislative Assembly has seventy-two seats. Members by a popular vote. They serve five-year terms. (In the United States we don’t vote by popularity.)


Judicial Branch – Supreme Court of Justice. Nine judges appointed for ten-year terms. They have five superior courts and three courts of appeal.


Currently in Panama they have a city doctor accused of illegally prescribing pain pills to addicts. Dr. Freddy J. Williams, 54, prescribed painkillers and more dangerous drugs to people that had no medical need for them. He continued to prescribe the pills to his patients even after learning that his patients were misusing the pills. More doctors being charged are Duane F. Oxenham, 37 and Tara L. McGaven, 34. They both recruited patients according to their indictment, and they also helped give the prescriptions the doctor wrote. The types of medication were narcotics such as methadone, fentanyl and morphine as well as sedatives like Xanax. From September 2000 and May 2003 Dr. Freddy J. Williams delivered about 54.000 pills containing oxycodone. Dr. Williams continued to prescribe painkillers in large doses even after knowing the patients were injecting the pills, or snorting them to induce euphoria. Dr. Williams even wrote prescriptions for some people under phony names, so that those people could get more pills. Dr. Williams apparently kept no medical records for some patients. He also made his patients pay for two massages a month at his office so they could keep getting their pills. Last year at least four of Dr. Williams’s patients died from overdoses. Medicaid has paid $736,133 in the