Sixth World: Crossroads
Abbreviated History of Panama
The Old Days
Any asshole with a calendar app has heard of Cristóbal Colón. To those calendar-owning assholes from the UCAS, your parents probably called him Christopher Colombus. A few years after Cristóbal finds Cuba, he has his best mate Rodrigo de Bastidas check out the weird landmasses to the south. He dicks around for a little while. Boom. Panama. And no, nobody knows where the name comes from but it’s got a nice ring to it.
Panana did pretty good for itself for the next 300 years under Spanish rule, dealing with only minor setbacks like natives, plagues, or Englishmen burning down the rainforest. Some smart guys bribed all the Spainish imperial troops, and presto-change-o, the country was now independent. Kinda.
The United States of America got involved in the early 1900s, and assisted Panama in getting independence from Colombia. A few million dollars later, and the Panamanians graciously agreed to let the USA build a world-changing canal. Oh, and fun fact – the USA gave some “reparations” to the Panamanian government in the 1920s. “We became your shadowy puppet masters, but we’re done now. Have $25,000,000.”
The 21st Century
From then until 2048, Panama struggled get its drek together. Plutocratic corruption, military strongment, and a combination of the two kept Panama on its ass until the turn of the century. The economy improved, but fell back on the aforementioned ass with the Awakening.
The nation of Aztlan gobbled up other countries left and right; San Diego, parts of Texas, and then down to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua… there was basically no stopping Aztlan. Man, machine, magic… Aztlan had it all in spades. Panama joined willingly in 2048 and became a footnote in history; “landslides” (read that in the most sarcastic voice you can muster) in the Galliard Cut had closed the canal, and corporate-funded “rebels” had shredded the civic landscape.
I’ll make it short. Aztlan fucked itself.
In 2044, Aztlan decided to nationalize all foreign assets. All of them. Billions of nuyen got vacuumed into the coffers of the nation of Aztlan and Aztechnology. (Basically one in the same.)
When Panama “petitioned” for acceptance into the new nation of Aztlan in 2048, Panama got the same deal; nationalization and a rapid stripping of autonomy.
In 2048, the Corporate Court – which consisted of a bunch of megacorps you know of and some you don’t – handed out some old-fashioned sanctions. “Play by the rules” they said.
“Fuck what ya heard” was Aztlan’s proud response.
You can ogle the details another time, but the payback was quick and bloody. The other AAA-Megacorps launched their own little D-Day invasions, targeting Alameda, Puerto Rico, and Ensenada. Fighters, bombers, troops, cool shit. Catch it on the trids.
The end result:
1. Old-fashioned reparations.
2. Aztlan had to open its borders to foreign business.
3. The Panama Canal is given over to the Corporate Court as a “Pan-Corprate Security Zone.”
The next big hitch was 2064. Winternight, a terrorist group, detonated a series of EMP-Nuclear bombs on the north and central areas of the canal. It was out of commission for years during the rebuilding. When construction finished in 2073, it was bigger and better than ever – but now, it competes with the Nicaragua Canal to the north.
2075 and for decades, and Panama City has had an uneasy status as a no-man’s-nation. The corporations jointly administer divisions; civic upkeep is paid for (bribed for) by the Corporate Monetary Fund.
There you have it. Panama City is a shining shithole surrounded by evil jungle and an evil Aztec empire.
Perfect spot for a cruise. Take the kids.