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Modified 11-Jul-09
Created 11-Jul-09
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The Panama Canal occupies an area across the isthmus that is usually referred to as the american zone. When the American engineers came down to Panama in the early 1900's to resurrect the construction of the canal, the U.S. govt insisted that it have complete control over the canal. The Panamanian govt gave the U.S. the land along either side of the canal and it wasn't until the latter part of the 20th century that the U.S. gave it back.
the canal is owned and operated by the Canal Authority of the Panamanian govt - but the U.S. still retains the right to enter Panama and provide military protection should the operation of the canal ever be in jeopardy.