Every once in a while, HOH has to deliver some news that’s tough to hear. Today’s task is difficult because we figure the folks over at the Senate Armed Services Committee are going to be really sad when we break this to them: The United States doesn’t have jurisdiction over the Panama Canal anymore.
We’re really sorry, guys. We thought you knew because, well, it happened years ago.
The committee’s website claims the United States still has jurisdiction over the “maintenance and operation of the Panama Canal, including administration, sanitation, and government of the Canal Zone.”
All interesting points, except that we don’t.
On Dec. 31, 1999, the United States finished turning over the Panama Canal and the Panama Canal Zone to Panama and the Panamanians, which we assume led to Panamonium.
On that day, the United States’ Panama Canal Commission became the Panama Canal Authority, which is affiliated with the Panamanian government. According to its website, the authority has “exclusive charge of the operation, administration, management, preservation, maintenance, and modernization of the Canal, as well as its activities and related services, pursuant to legal and constitutional regulations in force.”
The CIA seems to agree. In its World Factbook, the intelligence agency states: “The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999.”
Maybe the Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, Arizona Sen. John McCain, finds it tough to let go? McCain, after all, was born in the Panama Canal Zone on Aug. 29, 1936.