Panama, U.S. Praise Importance of PANAMAX Drill

By Dialogo
August 31, 2010

Panamanian and United States officials announced on August 27 that the recent PANAMAX military exercises – which took place from August 19-26 – have boosted the security of the Panama Canal against potential threats, according to Xinhua.

The multi-national drill took place in Panama and served as valuable training for some 2,000 troops from 18 participating countries to face fictional threats common to the 21st Century, including, illegal trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism and natural disasters, announced Commander Douglas Fraser of the U.S. Southern Command.

Appearing at a news conference with Panamanian Vice Security Minister Alejandro Garauz, General Fraser announced that the exercise served as a guarantee for regional and the canal’s security, adding, “the canal is vital to guarantee the sustenance of the current global and hemispheric transportation,” reported Xinhua.

Garauz, for his part, said, “We have always said that Panama is the owner of the Canal, but the partners are the rest of the countries,” according to Xinhua. He highlighted that 5 percent of the international trade uses the canal and stressed the need for the international community to be involved in its security.

While Germany participated as an observer, Argentina, Brazil, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, Uruguay and the United States participated in PANAMAX 2010.