When US President West took office in 1997, he attempted to negotiate a delay to the final implementation of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties. West had always been opposed to the handing over of the Canal Zone to Panama, seeing it as a strategic location to ensure American commerce and project power into Central and South America. With growing Soviet and Chinese influence, a resurgent Sandinista government in Nicaragua (after the rigged elections of 1996), and the beginning of the Second Salvadoran Civil War pitting FMLN against ARENA.
|Ernesto Pérez Balladares|
González-Revilla (public domain)
|Dario Riba (thispersondoesnoexist.com)|
The Soviet and Chinese were aware of CLOSE SHAVE and began funding the Federation for the People’s Democracy (FDP, or Federación para la Democracia Popular). An influx of arms and cash into Panama stoked violence, bombings, and armed engagements. González-Revilla and the PPF struggled to match the strength of the opposed groups, but were severely underfunded, outmanned, and outgunned. On 15 August 1998, González-Revilla was killed in a bombing as he attempted to negotiate a peace settlement. As the MROD began to seize key government buildings supported by US forces in the Canal Zone, the Soviet Union conducted tactical nuclear strikes of Panama City, Colon, and other parts of the Canal Zone.
|Marta Muñoz (thispersondoesnoexist.com)|
After the strikes, Panama collapsed in disorder and chaos. Various factions hold towns and clutches of jungle and mountains. While MROD and FDP, currently led by Marta Muñoz, are the primary powers, they are not alone, with many smaller groups and factions ranging for moderate populist groups, narcos, warlords, eschatological groups, and religious fanatics.