Taking advantage of the chemical weapon crisis in Syria, the government of Panama has reminded the United-States about their obligation to destroy the chemical weapons that they had left on San Jose island, the country’s second largest.

When they signed the treaty banning chemical weapons, in 1997, the US falsely declared they possessed no such weapons outside of their own territory. An inventory established in 2002 by the Panamanian government revealed the presence of a stockpile of weapons and ammunition, dating back to several decades. At least 16 different sites were used by the Pentagon to test chemical weapons in Panama.

For 11 years, Panama has unsuccessfully been calling for the destruction of phosgene and mustard gas bombs in particular, and of over 120 000 ammunitions in general. During that period, at least 20 people were killed accidentally by these weapons.

The Department of State indicated it’s intention of complying rapidly to these obligations, as long as Panama’s request to the Haye is modified : they would become weapons ’’forgotten’’ by the US, and not ’’left’’. This semantic change would enable Washington to save face and avoid the international judicial consequences stemming from it’s false declaration, even though the above photograph clearly shows US soldiers manipulating these weapons in Panama in 1998.

Alizée Ville