Emperors in the Jungle is an expose of key episodes in the military involvement of the United States in Panama. Investigative journalism at its best, this book reveals how U.S. ideas about taming tropical jungles and people, combined with commercial and military objectives, shaped more than a century of intervention and environmental engineering in a small, strategically located nation. Whether uncovering the U.S. Army's decades-long program of chemical weapons tests in Panama or recounting the invasion in December 1989 which was the U.S. military's twentieth intervention in Panama since 1856, John Lindsay-Poland vividly portrays the extent and costs of U.S. involvement.Analyzing new evidence gathered through interviews, archival research, and Freedom of Information Act requests, Lindsay-Poland discloses the hidden history of U.S.-Panama relations, including the human and environmental toll of the massive canal building project from 1904 to 1914. In stunning detail he describes secret chemical weapons tests-of toxins including nerve agent and Agent Orange-as well as plans developed in the 1960s to use nuclear blasts to create a second canal in Panama.
He chronicles sustained efforts by Panamanians and international environmental groups to hold the United States responsible for the disposal of the tens of thousands of explosives it left undetonated on the land it turned over to Panama in 1999. In the context of a relationship increasingly driven by the U.S. antidrug campaigns, Lindsay-Poland reports on the myriad issues that surrounded Panama's takeover of the canal in accordance with the 1977 Panama Canal Treaty, and he assesses the future prospects for the Panamanian people, land, and canal area. Bringing to light historical legacies unknown to most U.S. citizens or even to many Panamanians, Emperors in the Jungle is a major contribution toward a new, more open relationship between Panama and the United States.
John Lindsay-Poland is Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation's Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean. He is a coauthor of Inside Panama: The Essential Guide to its Politics, Economy, Society, and Environment. He was the editor of and staff writer for the quarterly Panama Update and has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, NACLA Report on the Americas, The Progressive, Covert Action Quarterly, and Fellowship, among other publications.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1 A Platform for Control: Interventions and Army Doctors, 1856-1925 11 2 "Test Tube Island" 44 3 The Nuclear Canal 74 4 Playing the Drug Card 103 5 The Politics of Environmental Cover-Up 138 6 Market Mania 172 7 Continuity and Change in the Military's Vision 191 Afterword: Knowing Ourselves / Exhortation to Read a Friendly Text by Guillermo Castro H. 207 Notes 211 Index 253