February 1, 2002
An atmosphere of ordered calm still pervades many of the neatly built and carefully landscaped housing estates and military facilities that are the legacy of the long US presence in Panama. The manicured gentility of these Canal Zone areas was always in stark contrast to the typically tropical disorder in the 'other Panama,' which could be as close as just across the road.
When the US pulled out of Panama in 1999, the opportunity to integrate the Canal Zone and its infrastructure into the development of the nation presented itself as a historic opportunity.
Yet capitalizing fully on these so-called 'reverted areas' has proved to be more of a struggle than Panama was expecting.
Panama has not found it as easy as it had hoped to attract investment into areas once occupied by American troops. Development of the reverted areas has been plagued by false starts and delays.