What About the Canal?

At the stroke of noon on Dec. 31, 1999, the U.S. is scheduled to turn over the Panama Canal to Panama forever. When the treaty transferring the waterway was signed in 1977, it was widely denounced in both countries: many Panamanians complained about the protracted timetable, while many Americans, including Ronald Reagan, insisted that the canal should remain in U.S. hands. Today the treaty is again a source of controversy. An embattled General Manuel Antonio Noriega is trying to rally his countrymen by claiming that Washington wants to break the agreement. Meanwhile, some legislators on Capitol Hill are asking whether the...

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