Short On Cash, Long on Coping

Despite sanctions, Panamanians -- including Noriega -- get by

After hiding for more than two months behind shuttered windows and CLOSED signs, Panama's bankers were ready for a stampede of cash-starved customers when the institutions reopened last week. With good reason: it was the first time since March 3, when the government controlled by General Manuel Antonio Noriega decreed a bank holiday, that depositors at most of the country's 120 banking institutions were allowed to make limited withdrawals. Yet the queues that curled around street corners last Monday were calm and orderly. Grunted one depositor, Roy Stone, as he waited to enter a Chase Manhattan branch in Panama City: "It's...

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