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Vigil in Panama honors martyrs of January 9

Vigil in Panama honors martyrs of January 9

Panama City, Jan 8 (Prensa Latina) A vigil of reflection will pay honor to the martyrs of January 9, 1964 when a group of young people led a revolt that opposed the occupation of the Panama Canal by the United States.

According to its organizers, the date with history will take place in front of the installations of the Administration of that inter-oceanic waterway, at the base of the monument to engineer George Goethals.

The January 9 event has its antecedents in the struggle of the student and popular movement, which unfolds since the beginning of the Republic and acquires greater vigor in the 40’s, in the heat of mobilizations and protests, aimed to recover the sovereignty in that zone of the inter-oceanic route.

According to historians, what happened in the isthmus 59 years ago was a popular insurrection, initiated by students of the National Institute, who marched peacefully to the Balboa High School to hoist the national emblem and comply with previously established agreements.

The colonial gendarmes, with their greatest contempt, responded the students initiative with bullets, a deed that claimed the lives of 21 Panamanians and hundreds of wounded.

The then government of Roberto F. Chiari, upon receiving the report of the massacre and as a result of popular pressure, had no choice but to side with the people and decided to break diplomatic relations with Washington.

For some analysts, the epic that immortalized young men like Ascanio Arosemena, Gonzalo Crance, Teófilo de la Torre, Jacinto Palacios and Alberto Oriol, among others, marked the beginning of what would later become the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, signed on September 7, 1977, and which allowed in December 1999 the recovery of the administration of the Panama Canal and the surrounding areas.

Academics such as Jaime Flores, from the University of Panama, believe that these events need to be more present in the contents of educational programs, as they represent pages of dignity and patriotism, foundations of nationality that should be available to the new generations.


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