Hail to the Chief

Saturday afternoon, with dusk coming on, Panama's mild-mannered President Daniel Chanis screwed up his courage to summon Colonel Jos´ ("Chichi") Remón, chief of national police, for a painful interview. The press had been pounding hard with charges of police grafting in the control of slaughterhouse and bus-line operations. After the latest blast in the Panama American, Chanis had made his decision: Remón must go.

Just how ailing, uncertain President Chanis expected to bring the trick off was something of a mystery. Remón, the strong man and orderkeeper for every Panama administration since...

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