PANAMA CITY — The United States has committed more than 50 violations of the 1977 treaties under which it agreed to turn the Panama Canal over to Panama by the year 2000, a state-run newspaper charged Sunday.
La Republica said U.S. officials have sought to keep control over the waterway and to maintain indefinitely the 10,000-strong American military presence at the U.S. Southern Command in Panama.
"The United States never meant to hand over the canal, and that's why it has maintained a policy of militarizing the administration of the Panama Canal," La Republica said, adding that the United States has appointed retired military officers to key posts in the binational Panama Canal Commission.
Among the alleged treaty violations cited by the paper were handling of canal finances, treatment of the waterway's Panamanian personnel and a dispute over whether the canal administrator could be a member of the U.S. military.
Under the 1977 treaties, signed by former President Jimmy Carter and the late Panamanian military ruler, Gen. Omar Torrijos, the canal will be gradually turned over to Panama by the year 2000, when U.S. military forces are also to be withdrawn from Panama.