U.S. leaving ordnance in Panama forest


The forest along the Panama Canal is a biological treasury. There are rare groves of Ecuador laurel, wild plum and West Indian birch, abundant plant varieties—seven of which are imperiled worldwide—and a profusion of wildlife including peregrine falcons, Baird’s tapirs, ocelots and spider monkeys. Rich as it is, though, this forest has become a subject of bitter debate as the U.S. prepares to cede its military bases in the former Canal Zone by Dec. 31, 1999. For nearly a century, the U.S. military has used three tracts of the land for training and weapons testing, leaving a potentially lethal legacy of unexploded ordnance. Chemical weapons also were brought here, mainly in the 1940s and 50s, although the United States says they were never... [Log in to read more]

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