National Day Message of HE Ambassador Itzel Karina Chen Chan
The Embassy of the Republic of Panama
On the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Panama in November, I would like to convey my good wishes and messages of congratulations to all Panamanians and friends of Panama in Thailand, who are taking part in our celebration of the month of the Fatherland (Fiestas Patrias in Spanish).
During November, people in the Republic of Panama enjoy several festivals to commemorate the important dates of our national history, namely, the First Shout of Independence of the Villa de Los Santos that occurred on 10 November 1821; the Independence of Panama from Spain on 28 November 1821; the separation from Colombia, which occurred on 3 November 1903; November 4th, the Day of National Symbols on 4 November 4th, which includes our flag, coat of arms and national anthem, and 5 November 1903, the Day of Consolidation of the Republic.
Many important events have taken place at different times throughout our history, all of which contributed to the sovereignty and independence of our nation that coincidentally have occurred in November. That is why it is called the month of the Fatherland.
Meanwhile, this past third of November, Panamanians celebrated their 120 years of republican life since our separation from Colombia in 1903. This year, 2023, also marks the 41st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Panama, which have continued to develop since 20 August 1982.
Therefore, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations on this auspicious occasion and for the long-lasting cordial ties that have benefited our two countries and peoples. These long-standing ties between Thailand and Panama have been uplifted by the enactment and ongoing negotiation of several agreements and MoU. Throughout the years, our two countries have remained great and reliable friends and over the past few years, we have witnessed a significant advancement through the exchange of visits of high-level officials and activities within the framework of bilateral cooperation.
We welcomed the Thai Delegation to Panama in July 2018, led by HE Mr Virasakdi Futrakul, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, which was followed by the official visit to Thailand in October 2018, of HE Mrs Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, former Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, which helped to continue the positive momentum of Thai and Panamanian relations. More importantly, in April 2019, the Republic of Panama was honored to receive the official visit of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand to the Republic of Panama, which represents the highest visit level since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Panama in 1982.
Although Panama is a small country with a population of only 4 million, we serve the world as a bridge and Hub of the Americas with our logistic services of excellence. In August of this year, we celebrated the anniversary of the Panama Canal, as an engineering marvel that continues to connect nations and transform global commerce since its opening 109 years ago.
Before the construction of the Panama Canal, ships traveling between the east and west coasts of the American continents had to go around Cape Horn in South America, a voyage of some 8,000 nautical miles longer that took about two months to complete. All journeys between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have been shortened by passing through this canal.
The Panama Canal is a constructed waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the Isthmus of Panama. Ships can go in either direction, taking about 10 hours to get from one side to the other. All ships from every country are treated equally with respect to conditions of passage and tolls. Besides, Panama has the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), an autonomous agency of the Panamanian government that was established in February 1998 to integrate and coordinate maritime services offered by Panama to the international shipping industry. This is the maritime administration with the largest registered fleet of flagged vessels amongst the nations of the world to maintain logistic operations according to maritime needs.
Since then, AMP has collaborated with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reaffirm the positioning of the Republic of Panama as a world leader in trade, commerce, transportation, logistics activities, services, industry expansion and maritime traffic to maximize growth and sustainable economic development in the country. Today, the AMP is present in about 65 countries with more than 140 merchant marine consulates and offices that assist clients, seafarers and ship brokers and owners uninterruptedly in their queries and requirements.
Under the Maritime Authority of Panama (AMP), we proudly provide high quality service to the maritime industry, guaranteeing legal security, free enterprise and a competitive market through compliance with national and international regulations, within a framework of transparency and environmental social responsibility.
As Panama and Thailand share a similar position of strategic locations, serving as important gateways to Latin America and Southeast Asia, respectively, we look forward to promoting closer cooperation and more activities in all dimensions, including investment, tourism, agriculture, culture, human resources and logistics, among others. Our countries certainly share the same values of trust and respect, enabling us to set out our common goals and strategic directions to drive our cooperation forward into the next era of bilateral relations, overcoming difficulties and challenges in the years to come.