ON SATURDAY December 20, twenty-five years after the US invasion of Panama when untold numbers of citizens were killed, President Juan Carlos Varela, announced the start of a process of national reconciliation to heal the wounds opened by the invasion to topple dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega.
"We have appointed Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo so that from this moment we start a serious effort and commitment by the state to national reconciliation and healing the wounds," Varela said during the commemoration of the US invasion .
"It is our commitment to seek unity in our country and do justice," said the president, according to which the initiative seeks to contribute to "seal the wounds that are still outstanding and live in many Panamanians".
Varela became the first Panamanian president to chair the tribute in honor of the victims of US military intervention, which produced 500 officially dead, although human rights organizations put the figure at several thousand.
"It is our commitment to seek unity in our country and do justice" said Varela
In acts performed at a mass grave in Panama’s Garden of Peace in the capital and accompanied by members of his cabinet and several families of the victims.,
Varela laid a wreath in honor of those who died.
On the morning of December 20, 1989 more than 27,000 US troops invaded Panama to overthrow Noriega, wanted by a court in Miami for narco-trafficking After a few days hiding in the Vatican embassy, Noriega, in military uniform, surrendered on January 3, 1990 with US troops and has since been imprisoned in the United States, France and Panama for drug trafficking, money laundering and disappearance of opponents during his rule (1983-1989).
The victims have long demanded that the United States recognizes the invasion, compensate the country and state the locations of the mass graves of hundreds of Panamanians , plus the declaration of December 20 as a day of "national mourning." However, many Panamanians viewed with favor the invasion that ended the Noriega regime, after years of serious violations of human rights and a shattered economy. reports La Prensa.
The former dictator, 80, has never apologized publicly for the events. This week only said from the Renacer prison where he is serving 60 years for the convictions of disappeared opponents that "nobody knows what happened and each tells the story as he pleases," reports La Prensa.