Panama

Published: 1977
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI

Pye Chamberlayne: Here's a group of Kuna Indians on the coast of Panama dancing barefoot, shaking rattles, blowing flutes and wearing gold rings in their nose. They're greeting dictator Omar Torrijos, a group of Senators, including the influential Democratic leader Robert Bird. These Kunas, the smallest people in the world except for pygmies, voted against the canal treaties. They're a symbol of the diverse groups the Senator saw.

The high point of the trip was Torrijos' promise to the Senators to repeal repressive laws passed way back …

Translator: " … when we were all inexpert and we did not have the political maturity we have now."

Omar Torrijos: "(Foreign language.)"

Translator: "And now they're -- these are laws that constitute an insult to the national dignity."

Omar Torrijos: "(Foreign language.)"

Translator: "I admit this."

Pye Chamberlayne: This is another group of Kunas. Bird and the group of Senators were impressed. They came away more favorably disposed to the treaties, said the once-dismal prospects for the pacts have begun to improve.

Pye Chamberlayne for Recap '77.

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