For a Smile: The Panama Canal (Unofficial Version)
It is a monstrous piece of work, engineering, perhaps the most wondrous piece human effort ever done by the hands of man.
It would consume six of the largest pyramids in Egypt, or 6000 Washington Monuments.
It took ten years to build.
Close to 50,000 lives were taken between the French endeavors and American progress in building the canal, a lot of human suffering: taken by way of disease, yellow fever and malaria, along with accidents, etc.
It is 51 miles long, and the locks some eight stories high, and it has three locks, and dams and lakes, all under the name of one project, the Panama Canal, and I could go on and on about it, but I will not, and get to the point.
So I asked several people why did President Carter give it away? I wanted their views, not mine.
I was in the Army during this period, none of us were happy about it, when he did it, but Congress must have went along with it, and it was passed, and the folks of Panama love Carter for it, not necessarily the people of America, or the tax payers.
So what did they tell me, I mean, this country is not all that old, and the canal has been the property of Panama now for seven years.
It was(The Canal Zone)the property of the US.
And most of the folks who are poor, are worse off here because the Americans have left, not better off; so they have told me.
But of course the fat cats are better of because they got the Canal, and all the revenue, which is about three million dollars per day, for the 450,000 people in Panama City, and three million people in the country.
Well, this is how they see it, the folks in Panama were protesting back then, in the 70s, because the Americans were putting up the American flag, without putting up Panama's flag, and thus, climbed the poles and the walls of the Canal to do so.
The security forces in the Canal shoot and killed a few of the folks trying to do this.
Panama then said, America, according to the treaty, was suppose to put both flags up at the same time.
So this caused the dispute, and after the shooting was all over, to mend our relations with the good folks of Panama, Carter gave them the gift of the canal for a smile.
I asked the good folks of Panama, if I was to climb the walls of the canal,what would happen to me today.
They said the security forces along the canal have guns, and cameras, and they would shoot.
Oh well, we see things the same way some times, but we paid dearly for those tears did we not.
(I asked what the canal would cost today to be built, if it indeed could be, and they told me seven billion dollars.
In 1904 to 1914, it cost America $375,000,000 million, and France $300,000,000 million.