Good well these jokers here in this office the ones

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you're sending him a copy. Good. Well, these jokers here in this office, the ones who think Torrijos is a Socialist, really won't give a damn as long as the work flows in." Bruno had been right — as usual. Now it was 1977, Carter was in the White House, and serious Canal negotiations were under way. Many of MAIN's competitors had taken the wrong side and had been turned out of Panama, but our work had multiplied. And I was sitting in the lobby of the Hotel Panama, having just finished read-ing an article by Graham Greene in the New York Review of Books. The article, "The Country with Five Frontiers," was a gutsy piece that included a discussion of corruption among senior officers in Panama's National Guard, The author pointed out that the general himself admitted to giving many of his staff special privileges, such as superior housing, because "If I don't pay them, the CIA will." The clear implication was that the U.S. intelligence community was 104 Part III: 1975-1981 determined to undermine the wishes of President Carter and, if nec-essary, would bribe Panama's military chiefs into sabotaging the treaty negotiations.4 I could not help but wonder if the jackals had begun to circle Torrijos. I had seen a photograph in the "People" section of TIME or Newsweek of Torrijos and Greene sitting together; the caption indi-cated that the writer was a special guest who had become a good friend. I wondered how the general felt about this novelist, whom he apparently trusted, writing such a critique. Graham Greene's article raised another question, one that related to that day in 1972 when I had sat across a coffee table from Torrijos. At the time, I had assumed that Torrijos knew the
foreign aid game was there to make him rich while shackling his country with debt. I had been sure he knew that the process was based on the assump-tion that men in power are corruptible, and that his decision not to seek personal benefit—but rather to use foreign aid to truly help his people — would be seen as a threat that might eventually topple the entire system. The world was watching this man; his actions had ramifications that reached far beyond Panama and would therefore not be taken lightly. I had wondered how the corporatocracy would react if loans made to Panama helped the poor without contributing to impossible debts. Now I wondered whether Torrijos regretted the deal he and I had struck that day— and I wasn't quite sure how I felt about those deals myself. I had stepped back from my EHM role. I had played his game instead of mine, accepting his insistence on honesty in ex-change for more contracts. In purely economic terms, it had been a wise business decision for MAIN. Nonetheless, it had been incon-sistent with what Claudine had instilled in me; it was not advancing the global empire. Had it now unleashed the jackals?

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