frontera carnet.panama 1136 pm Jan 10, 1988 SPEECH BY THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF PANAMA, DR.
frontera carnet.panama 11:36 pm Jan 10, 1988
SPEECH BY THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF PANAMA, DR. JORGE ABADIA ARIAS, IN THE
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS), 11/13/87
[This document is about half of the original speech. Frontera News
edited it for PeaceNet. For a full copy, or more information,
contact the Panamanian Consulate, Flood Building, 870 Market #546,
San Francisco CA 94102, (415) 956-4632.]
Panama comes to this Assembly today with great hopes, but also with
very grave concerns and warnings, the nature and dimensions of which
pertain directly, fundamentally and vitally to the "raison d'etre"
of the Organization of American States..
The Panamanian government has a recognized tradition of seriousness
in its international conduct and in observance of its commitments
toward other nations. Buttressed by that recognition, at the 42nd
Assembly of the United Nations, I denounced a moral aggression an an
economic aggression against the Panamanian nation, and I denounced
the danger that those aggressions could worsen and be exacerbated as
dark heraldings of military aggression.
The deeds I denounced clearly constitute a violation of basic norms
of public international law, a threat to the ideals of peaceful co-
existence and reciprocal respect in relations among nations. Mr.
President, as the representative of the Republic of Panama, I come
to this Assembly with the painful mission of conveying to you the
moral and economic aggression that is being waged against the
Panamanian state, conceived carefully within a global strategy,
structured unscrupulously and put in motion without regard to
resources, without concern for procedures.
In its structuring, in its development and in its tactics, the
subversive movement which arose in my country betrays sinister
similarities to general directives and details of actions of a
"Manual of Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare" that was
denounced three years ago in the United Nations, but adapted now to
In 1980, public writings and statements by task forces of
influential conservative political sectors in the United States of
American identified Panama as a focal point of subversion. They
pointed out Panama's military leadership as inconvenient to the
national security interests of their country, and they called the
Carter-Torrijos Treaties a dangerous mistake that was necessary to
correct as soon as possible and permanently.
With premeditated timing, these sectors described the Panamanian
government as an extreme left dictatorship, brutally aggressive,
contrary to the strategic interests of American national security.
They recommended that if the Carter-Torrijos Treaties failed, the
Panama Canal should be put under the protection of the Interamerican
Defense Board in order to assure that the nations of this hemisphere
would have regular and free access to the Pacific and the Atlantic.
They declared by placing the responsibility for the Panama Canal
with the signatory countries of the Rio Treaty, who in turn would
designate the Interamerican Defense Board as their agent, the
problem of the Panama Canal would be placed on an appropriate
Before continuing, I should warn Your Excellencies that these words
are not mine but rather expressions extracted literally from public
and official documents which constitute the conceptual basis of
current policies that are being carried out in some of our
countries. Among these documents is that entitled "A New
Interamerican Policy for the Eighties."
These machinations have not succeeded completely in the last few
years because their authors did not take into account that a new
conscience was being born in America and that our peoples were going
to understand that were these designs implemented with regard to the
Panama Canal, the vast natural resources of the region would also be
in danger, becoming eventually a threat for their own status as
independent and sovereign states.
The "Manual of Psychological Operations" to which we have referred
has been utilized to try to break up the two decades-old alliance
between the people and the Defense Forces of Panama, in order to try
to overthrow the Panamanian government, to try to do away with the
political constitution of the Republic of Panama, and to make of
Panama's territory not just a docile, obedient enclave but also a
vortex of activities designed to undermine the right of the people
of the American continent to self-determination and independence.
WHAT THE INSTRUCTIONS WERE
Let us now consider what the instructions were and what has
happened. let us make a comparison of tactical directives and the
results that gives us proof of the condemnable means that, in their
arrogant and unscrupulous blindness, certain sectors of the American
government have utilized against such a materially weak country as
--A negative image of the Panamanian government must be created.
--The reputation of the leaders must be soiled with crimes that
shock social sensitivities.
--All the military must shown as cruel, corrupt people.
--Government figures must be portrayed as a gang of thieves.
--They must be associated with the international Mafia and the
international activities of communism.
--The misuse of public funds must be underscored, incriminating
--They must be insulted so that the people lose respect for them.
In this manner, then, the sinister campaign began that spewed out
the violent and unfortunate events that occurred in June of this
On September 22, 1985, with respect to the naming of a commission to
investigate the murder of Dr. Hugo Spadafora, the then President of
the Republic of Panama,a Dr. Nicolas Ardito Barletta, in a letter
which he sent to the Attorney General, stated, "As you are aware,
the Constitution and the Law that I swore to uphold and defend as
President do not permit me to do so given that the investigation of
unlawful acts corresponds exclusively to the Attorney General."
Later, that invisible army of counterfeiters that has been set up by
the enemies of the Republic of Panama would undertake to make it
appear as a motive for the resignation of Dr. Ardito Barletta
alleged pressure on him because he wanted to name a commission that
he himself had indicated clearly was alien to his rights and his
rights and his constitutional powers.
This beginning of the campaign was intended fundamentally to
discredit the Armed Forces and their top command, those who today
represent the surest and most unbending defense of the national
liberation program that General Omar Torrijos inculcated in them;
and in the officer ranks lies the principal obstacle to those who
seek to re-establish a colonial regime in the territory of the
Our commitment to perfect the democratic process, born of our own
needs and aspirations, is fully demonstrated by the equanimous,
measured, patient and highly tolerant manner in which the Panamanian
President, Eric Arturo Delvalle, has managed the crisis, his refined
patriotism revealing an exemplary respect for Panamanian law and for
the norms that govern and guarantee human rights, rights which are
authentic proof of the desire for democratic co-existence of the
I turn, then, to relate to you how in a Member State of this
Organization sedition was planned under the sponsorship and the
moral and material support of influential and powerful sectors of
the government of another state that is also a Member of this
Organization, that also is obligated by the principles and norms
that govern it.
THE YEAR 1985
The year of 1985 proved propitious to exploit the good faith, the
ingenuousness and the nobility of the great anonymous majority of
the American people, and to begin to manipulate public opinion,
preparing it to accept offensive actions which compromise in
negative fashion the prestige of the United States of America in the
eyes of the world.
The Manual of Psychological Warfare warns that the human being
should be considered as a primary objective in a political struggle,
and the most critical point of the human being thus conceived is his
mind. It explains that as soon as his mind has been affected, the
"political animal" is defeated without the need for violence.
With precise instructions, it points out that the target of the
action are the minds of the population, of the entire population, of
the forces of the Crusade, of the military forces and of the
In this way then, with the support of the prestige of large
newspapers [N.B. the New York Times and the Washington Post, for
example], known throughout the Americans for their tradition of
honesty and truth in earlier times, began systematically to
undermine the reputation of key figures in Panamas' political
leadership, always basing their articles and their slanderous
reports on alleged reliable sources, on invisible officials and form
officials of government agencies who asked that their names not be
revealed; or they were based on alleged confidential reports that
circulated in the Congress but that no one recognized having seen;
these actions thereby constructing little by little a sentence of
culpability without ever presenting proof, showing as irrefutable
truths all the allegations of the political opposition in Panama
which, in turn, displayed the slander that appeared in their
communications media, saying that it was information published in
the United States of America, supplied by official sources in that
In this sinister game of mass dissemination of murmurs at the two
poles of the axis of the plot against Panama, that invisible army
was constructed a fictitious Panama of its own invention, carefully
delineated so that it could evoke repugnance and rejection among the
largest possible number of Panamanians and Americans.
In May of 1986, with inconceivable reports in a flood of falsehoods
and slander, the battle began for the victory over the minds of
Panamanians and Americans. We were protected by our own truth, but
the American people were defensless because the only information
they had was supplied by an army of counterfeiters engaged in war
against the Panamanian nation.
Following a detailed plan, they later began to develop in Panama
front organizations which gained influence through the use of
tactics of internal subjective control, employed by meticulously
trained elements, and calculating the moment in which they would be
fused into a single action front to mobilize the masses, an action
which was conceived to overthrow the legally constituted government
and replace it with a de facto regime.
Citizens with established reputations in all walks of national life
were priority recruits at the outset as part of an alleged movement
of moral rescue of society, apparently apolitical and innocuous, in
order to then take them gradually toward the larger purpose of a
great redemptive crusade, and giving them training little by little
in the most modern techniques of persuasion and propaganda. Later
they would extend the contagion more and more to new elements, and
get ready to form a united front.
From the outset, the principal activists in the mission to
proselytize were selected on the basis of specific criteria: their
knowledge of the mentality of high school and university students;
their familiarity with the problems and mental barriers of each
union with regard to trying to infiltrate them; their understanding
of the feelings and the passions and the aspirations concerning
attracting elements with leadership skills, and preparing leaders
who could organize mobilizations on short notice.
The incentive, the source of permanent encouragement, was a
statement contained in the Manual of Psychological Warfare which
reads, "When internal subjective control has been developed in
parallel fashion along with other activities, any leader can shake
the governmental structure." Simultaneously, a massive and
systematic effort was being developed to exacerbate political
sensitivities in order to relate government administration to all
life of society, so that even the intimate problems would be
unconsciously viewed as governmental activity and all potential
hatred, discontent or natural antipathy or spontaneous hostility
could be targeted toward the authorities, toward the established
On the basis of a studied system of cell formation, immediate
reaction mechanisms were being introduced in a sector of the
population by means of a scientifically prepared vocabulary, giving
the words a different meaning from the true one, gradually
falsifying in order to avoid problems of acceptance, beginning with
skillful sophisms and without ever going into deep explanations.
The objective was to have the words "democracy," "justice,"
"liberty," "human rights," "moral," "Christian conscience,"
"patriotism," "resistance" and "crusade" produce the desired effect
of rejection of civil authority and the Defense Forces of Panama,
the desired effect of longing for a change of government as an
urgent individual need and, in addition, as a noble goal, as a
higher mission. This is all evident in their writings.
They were organizing discussion groups, dinners, meetings of
elements with common activities, under any pretext, using anything
from intellectual curiosity to cravings for expansion of social
contacts, and even through pseudo-mystical and occult sects.
In this manner they introduced beachheads and the means to mobilize
in groups, associations, clubs and political parties, because the
objective was to create a national conscience of falsified reality,
to stimulate acceptance or an organized lie and, with profound
knowledge of the tactics of subversion, undermine all strata of
society, preparing an insurrectional mobilization that could have
the effect of paralyzing the national economy.
As the seditious contagion grew, the vocabulary had to be molded
with the goal of making it more seductive in the eyes of American
public opinion, and expressions were being spread in daily talk that
previously were only used in necessary instances and very rarely,
such as "civil liberties," "due process," and human rights." For
Panamanians, freedom of thought is a secular custom with deep roots
in our history and in our way of life. We call the absence of
justice cleanly and plainly injustice or denial of justice, and we
called violations of human rights outrages long before the
expression became fashionable, and "civil liberties" for us have
always been "individual guarantees." But the important audiences
were no longer just Panamanians but rather the people and the
Congress of the United States and the international community,
utilizing sectors of foreign communications media.
It is sad and shameful to have to recognize that a considerable
number of Panamanians expanded the ranks of that army which for
several years has been limiting its actions and its words strictly
to the directives of a policy of psychological warfare. On the
other hand, it is reassuring that national majorities have turned
their back on them when they tried to convince the population that
what they were doing was to protect the people and not themselves,
that their excesses were acts of a democratic movement and that
their higher mission justified them, because the final objective of
the insurrection was a free and democratic society in which those
acts would no longer be necessary, and that the attacks on the
national economy were a necessity because of the system of
oppression, and that this would be changed when the forces of
Today we see that they succeeded in leaving us a divided country.
But that division is between Panamanians who defend the patriotic
truth of national liberation and those Panamanians who, having
failed in their attempts, have thrown themselves into the streets of
the world to shout lies that reactionary and fascist forces grab up
to join in with them. But that minority that is trying to hand over
the destiny of the fatherland to foreign interests continues to
have, nonetheless, a great capacity to do harm; and the lesson that
we Panamanians are learning today we denounce here so that no other
sister nation will ever suffer it.
Now, besides all the foregoing, I want to call the attention of this
Assembly to other aspects of the aggression that has been mounted
against the Panamanian state. If we have signed a Charter with
principles and norms which should govern relations among American
states, it is not possible for a Member state of the Organization
unilaterally and capriciously to interpret those principles and
those norms without introducing an element of grave danger for
peaceful co-existence on our continent.
In the Permanent Council of OAS and in the United Nations General
Assembly, the Republic Panama denounced a long list of actions which
constitute interference in our internal affairs. We shall never
forget the support received from our sister nations. We refer again
here to those denunciations because there are those who persist in
interfering in our internal affairs while alleging supposed
I wonder, furthermore, if it is not a grave danger for the Member
states that in the Congress of the United States of America a draft
bill is circulating entitled "The Democracy in Panama Act of 1987"
and in which requirements are established that the Government of
Panama must meet in order to be acceptable to said body?
For one state to exist, does it have to receive the approval of the
Congress of another state? Can the Congress of one state impose a
change of government on another state?
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