Panama: Dark Clouds, Bright Beginnings

Peril and promise face a newly inaugurated President

As thousands of cheering spectators crowded outside Panama City's Atlapa convention center, and dozens of dignitaries from the U.S., Western Europe and Latin America smiled approvingly inside the hall, Nicolás (Nicky) Ardito Barletta was installed as Panama's 21st President. Secretary of State George Shultz, on the second stop of his Central American tour, hailed the new leader as "a longtime and respected friend," and the swearing in as "a new opportunity for progress." That it was: Ardito Barletta's inauguration marked Panama's return to civilian government after 16 years of direct and...

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