Panama Refuses U.S. Plan To Clean Pacific Island

August 13, 2004

PANAMA CITY (AFP) – Panamarefused a U.S. plan Wednesday to cleanup the Panamanian Pacific island of SanJosé, contaminated during World War IIby weapons practice, announcedPanama’s Minister of Foreign Relations,Harmodio Arias.Arias explained the decision cameafter the United States demanded it beexempt from responsibility for the leakage“of any war supplies found there.”Since 1999 Panama has been asking theUnited States to clean up three shootingpractice grounds along the Panama Canalused by the U.S. Army between 1914 and1999 as well as San José island, located125 kilometers southwest of the capital.Arias said the offer from the UnitedStates “was not responsible for Panama,because we would have had to make ourselvesresponsible for any damage done tothe island.”The island, according to investigationsdone by Panama and North Americanecological groups, was used for chemicalweapons practice.U.S. Ambassador to Panama, LindaWatt, said the United States has made itsfinal offer.The United States has claimed, for thepast five years, that the technology necessaryto decontaminate the areas does notexist.“The proposal from the United Stateswas good in part, but we cannot exemptthem of the responsibility of leaving thosebombs there,” Arias said.The United States, which oversaw thebuilding of the Panama Canal between1904 and 1914, maintained thousands ofsoldiers in 14 military bases in Panamauntil it turned over the canal to Panamaon Dec. 31, 1999.During WWII, the United Statesinstalled 140 defensive sites in all nineprovinces of Panama, built airstrips andestablished warfare practice grounds,including the one on San José island.

You may be interested

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it
The Tico Times
117 views
The Tico Times
117 views

Our High Season Print Edition is here! Here’s where to find it

Katherine Stanley - December 11, 2017

In the weeks since the relaunch of The Tico Times on Sept. 1, we’ve been hard at work to reconnect…

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos
Events
254 views
Events
254 views

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos

Elizabeth Lang - December 11, 2017

The Bright Lights Boat Parade marked the official kickoff of the holiday season in the Central Pacific town of Quepos…

Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El Salvador
Weather
2629 views
Weather
2629 views

Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El Salvador

AFP - December 10, 2017

Three people have died in Costa Rica, includiing two Swiss tourists, and one in El Salvador as a result of…