Independence Day in Panama


Panama is one of the few countries in the world that celebrates three independence dates.  The first one was on November 28, 1821.  On this date, Panama celebrates its independence from Spain, along with several other South American nations.  On November 3, 1903, Panama celebrates is independence from Colombia with the helping hand of the United States who was interested in signing a treaty with Panama to build a canal in the isthmus.  Finally, on September 7, 1977, Panama celebrates its independence from the United States.  On this date, General Omar Torrijos and Jimmy Carter signed the Panama Canal Treaty which relinquished full jurisdiction of the Panama Canal Zone to the Republic of Panama.  After this date, Panama regained full control of all its territory.  At last Panama was a fully independent country capable of carving its own destiny.

November is the month of the motherland.  During this patriotic month, there are echoes of bugles and drums from the Costa Rican to the Colombian border.  Thousands of students put on their best uniforms to participate in solemn parades in all the corners of the isthmus.

On November 3rd I went out with my wife to Via España to view the parade and capture the patriotic  atmosphere of the day.  It was raining on and off.  But the parade was on and the students were determined to show their marching skills.  It was a wonderful scenario full of music and bright colors everywhere.

Taking pictures of moving subjects was hard for me.  Most of the time I take pictures of still subjects, as you well know.  The day was wet and dark which made things more difficult.  However, some pictures captured the essence of what was going on.  Due to the numerous pictures taken, I will post them in four different days, in effort to avoid  displaying an excessive amount of pictures in just one article.

Below is the first batch consisting of  seven photographs of the Third of November Parade at Via España.  Here we go.

More than founteen motorcycles of the Panama Police opened the November 3rd. parade on a cloudy rainy day. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
A Panama policeman and his dog protect one flank of the parade. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
The Panama Police was the first participant of the parade. The discipline displayed was impressive. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Notice the exact synchronization of the policemen's movements. Like a clock. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This is the delegation of the Panama Naval Unit responsible for guarding our coasts. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Policemen who protect the frontier with Colombia. It's the closest to a military unit that Panama has. The Army was deleted by a constitutional amendment after Noriega's regime was toppled in 1989. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
A police marksman in full camouflage outfit. This is a specialized unit that operates in the area of the fronteir with Colombia. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)

This is the first set of seven photographs of the November 3rd. parade.  Tomorrow I will include the second set until a total of twenty-eight pictures are posted.  I feel that these sets of pictures will give you a more rounded picture of our country.  I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow.  Until then, Good Day.

6 thoughts on “Independence Day in Panama”

  1. I see you classified November 3 and Independence from Colombia. I have written this before and some Panamanians have criticized the wording because they called it separation and not independence.

    I feel better😉

  2. Hi Don:

    Yes, I know the debate going one between the wording of “independence” and “separation” from Colombia. In strict legal terms, it’s a separation, since Panama decided voluntarily to annex itself to Colombia after obtaining its independence from Spain.

    Then it separated from Colombia in 1903. In practical terms however, it was an independence, meaning having absolute control over its own destiny. Before 1903, Panama was a dependent province of Colombia.

    There are Panamainan Historians on both sides of the aisle. I prefer the term “independence” and feel at ease with this decision.

    In my opinion, your wording is correct and valid.

    Best Regards,

    Omar.-

  3. Senor Omar:
    Nice blog. I am form Chiriqui, I live in California now, and I read Don’s blog faithfully. I agree with his comment about Nov 3 been Separation from Colombia, as we learned when we were in school, right? But I see your point and agree with it.
    Buenas fotos, gracias. Donde estan las de las escuelas desfilando?
    Also, nice blog.
    Jaime^

    1. Hola Jaime:

      Yo también soy oriundo de Chiriquí; precisamente de La Concepción, pero tengo muchos años de vivir en la Ciudad de Panamá.

      Yo le conozco por sus comentarios en Chiriquí Chatter, que es un blog que también leo todos los días. Me gusta mucho lo que escribe Don Ray sobre David.

      Lo de “separación” o “independencia” es un asunto de semántica. Un buen diccionario define independencia como un ente que es completamento autónomo, que no necesita de otro para subsistir. Cuando Panamá se separó de Colombia adquirió un independencia de ese país; tanto así que firmó un tratado con los Estados Unidos para construir un canal en el istmo. Colombia se negaba rotundamente a firmar este tratado con el Coloso del Norte.

      El debate entre “separación” e “independencia” aún subsiste entre nuestros historiadores. Para mí es totalmente irrelevante. Soy de la opinión que fue una independencia de Colombia, como también lo fue con España en 1821 y Estados Unidos en 1977.

      Mañana y los dos días subsiguientes voy a incluir más fotos del desfile del 3 de noviembre hasta totalizar 28 fotos. Luego pienso escibir sobre el desfile de los Santeños en Juan Díaz el 10 de noviembre. Este desfile es muy diferente, con personajes y carretas con bueyes al estilo de la Provincia de Los Santos.

      Mañana encontrará varios colegios desfilando y hermosas batuteras con vistosos uniformes escolares. Estoy seguro que le van a agradar.

      Gracias por leer Lingua Franca. Espero contarlo como uno de mis asiduos lectores. Ah, una cosa más; puede llamarme Omar. Me hace sentir veinte años menos. :-)

      Saludos,

      Omar.-

  4. Omar:
    Chiricano tambien! Y escribe muy bien en Ingles. Soy de David, creci en el barrio de Doleguita, me gradue en el Felix Olivares en 1981, estudie en la Universidad de Panama, y ahora trabajo y vivo en California (Fresno) desde 1992, con mi esposa (capitalina) y mis dos hijos. Que envidia que pueda usted ir a La Concepcion todo el tiempo y disfrutar de la Feria de la Candelaria. Recuerdo cuando mi papa me llevaba y cuando parabamos en La Concepcion en via a Volcan a comer “almojabanos” y empanadas, o a visitar a los papas del eposo de una tia.
    Saludos desde California,
    Jaime^

  5. Hola Jaime:

    En realidad es una gran ventaja vivir en Panamá. Tiene sus altos y sus bajos, pero en términos generales, es un gran país en plena expansión.

    La Feria de la Candelaria, la Feria de las Flores y la Feria del 19 de Marzo son consideradas las mejores ferias del país.

    Saludos,

    Omar.-

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