The first image Panama City shows the traveller, en route from the airport to the city, is the illusion of its conquest: a 90-feet-high tower, legendary and archaic, marks the spot where the capital was born in 1519. The second image is overwhelmingly futuristic and vertical: an army of skyscrapers more than 1,000 feet high, fashionable towers made of steel and glass, gigantic cranes looming over the Manhattanesque new city.

From the first watchtower, which policed the arrival of Spanish ships laden with gold from Perú, to the current skyscrapers in Bella Vista – one of the largest financial centres in Latin America – everything carries on much the same. Panama has not managed to escape its reputation for international money trafficking, being an entrepôt nation, cut down the middle by foreign interests, stemming from the same patron: money...

Published in Viajar