The Panama Deception (1992)

This is an oldie but a goodie. Most documentaries more than a few decades old especially political ones are slow-moving and dull, but this sharply-edited expose rips along at a snappy pace throwing information at you almost before you can take it. It is essentially a history of the United States Imperial involvement in Panama, from the initial takeover of the ‘Canal Zone’ under Teddy Roosevelt in the 1900s (“I took it”, says Roosevelt) through the whole Bush, CIA, drug-dealing, Noriega, Nicaragua years of the 70s and 80s, culminating in the 1989 attack that was a first dress rehearsal for the Bush dynasty’s smash and grab foreign invasion model, to be repeated in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

This peppy and waste-no-time slice of hardcore attack news seems to take its style from the high-tech weaponry used for the first time in this invasion like the Blackhawk and Apache helicopter, stealth fighter, Humvee and Wehrmacht-like PASGT helmet.

Exactly what the murky details of the USA’s covert activities in Central America during the 80s were in what seemed to be a ‘war for drugs’ down there is always a complex subject that is hard to grasp clearly. Well, this film presents the whole thing exceptionally straightforwardly and simply. If you are interested in knowing the basics of what all happened, here it is.

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