The cultural life reflects the mixed
composition of the population. Indigenous traditions are
interwoven with Spanish customs and Afro-Caribbean
influences. The music has much in common with music
played in the coastal regions of Colombia and Venezuela,
with the influence of African and Spanish music.
Salsa has an obvious place in music and salsa king
Rubén Blades (1948–) is known far beyond the borders of
the country. Blades is also an actor and politically
active; he was presidential candidate in 1994. The
classical Panamanian folk dance tambor, or
tamborito, is considered a national dance and is
accompanied by drums.
Latest population statistics of Panama, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The indigenous peoples' influence is not least
visible in crafts, such as kuna's textile art in the
form of molasses, embellishment on blouses
which are also sold as works of art.
An important twentieth-century author was the
award-winning Panamanian Rogelio Sinán (1902-1994) who
wrote both prose, drama and poetry. Artists include
Roberto Lewis (1874-1949). Among other things, he made
murals for the presidential palace and the national
theater in the early 1900s.
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Panama. Artists and albums are also included.
New bridge across the canal
The government signs a contract with a Chinese consortium, Panamá Cuarto
Puente, to build a bridge over the Panama Canal. It is one of the most extensive
infrastructure projects in the country's history, worth $ 1.4 billion. The
announcement of the settlement comes just the day after China's president left
Chinese President visiting
President Juan Carlos Varela receives China's President Xi Jinping and the
two sign a series of cooperation agreements on infrastructure, tourism and
development projects. Panama becomes the first country in Latin America to
become a partner in China's ambitious Belt and Road project. The visit is a
result of Panama switching relations with Taiwan to those with China (see
June 2017) - a step that El Salvador and the Dominican Republic
have also taken.
Ex-president's sons are arrested in the United States
20th of November
Former President Ricardo Martinelli's two wanted sons are arrested in the
United States (see May 23, 2017). US authorities say the men
have stayed in the country illegally since their visa was revoked in 2017.
Detained ex-president wins primary election
Former President Ricardo Martinelli wins the primary election in the
right-wing Democratic Change (CD), with 44 percent of the vote. Thus, Martinelli
is slated to become the party's presidential candidate in the May 2019 election,
despite being in custody (see June 2018) and prosecutors in a
preliminary hearing seeking 21 years in prison.
Ex-President Martinelli is extradited from the US
Former President Ricardo Martinelli is extradited from the US where he was
detained (see June 2017). Martinelli is accused of corruption
and illegal telephone interception by 150 people. He himself says he is subject
to political persecution.
Strike paralyzes port city
14th of March
The riots and looting hit Colón during a strike in protest of the
government's plans for a radical overhaul of residential areas and
infrastructure in the city. Residents fear gentrification, ie renovations that
lead to social status raising and drive away poor people. Several police
officers are injured in clashes with protesters, 50 people are arrested and a
historic building is burned down. The maintenance of residential areas and
infrastructure in Colón has been neglected for a long time.
Panama is releasing tax haven status
The EU deletes Panama and seven other countries and territories from a newly
published list of tax havens. They are now being transferred to a "gray" list of
55 countries that have pledged to adapt to EU standards in tax and financial
legislation, but without specific commitments. The EU published its first
"black" list in early December. Now only nine countries / territories remain on