School ships from eight countries with around 2,000 cadets will arrive in Panama next July as part of the Velas Latinoamérica 2018 boat parade, an event held to celebrate its third edition this year and that includes the Central American country for the first time.
The representative of Panama at the event, Orley Jiménez, told today Acan-Efe that the school ships from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, will be in the country from July 7 to 10.
"It will be a party, a cultural encounter with a lot of folklore exchange", with a program of activities that includes visits of the audience to the boats, a parade on the seafront of the capital of Panama, and artistic performances and other attractions at the Balboa port, where the ships will dock, he explained.
Panama participates for the first time in the event, which this year started in Brazil on March 25 and includes 157 days of navigation, thanks to a direct invitation that was received by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela from the then Chilean governor, Michele Bachelet in 2017.
This was said by Jiménez, who is the executive secretary of the Panamanian Minister of Public Security, Alexis Bethancourt, and also stressed "the good relations that Panama has historically had with the different Armed Forces of America."
"There is a whole joint work against organized crime, and we have many Panamanian cadets working in these armies," the official said.
Upon arrival, the school ships will be escorted by Panamanian yachts, while after their docking in the Port of Balboa, in the capital, an official event will take place that will include artistic performances and in which President Varela will welcome them.
The authorities are coordinating to set up a special public transport service so that people can go to the reception ceremony on July 7, Jiménez said.
A parade of cadets and music bands is scheduled for July 8 on the capital's seafront, known as the Cinta Costera, in which Panama will be represented by some of the nearly 3,000 children from all over the country. They will visit the school ships during their stay at the Port of Balboa.
On July 9 there will be "a kind of soccer world cup" in the Maracaná stadium, in the emblematic El Chorrillo neighborhood, where the cadets will face a Panamanian team made up of "talented" youths from different popular neighborhoods.
"It will be a historical event" for Panama, "a country of maritime traffic but that does not have a ship school," Jiménez said.
All Panamanian programming will be presented by representatives of the country at the end of next June in Guayaquil, Ecuador, which is the previous stop to Panama, said Jiménez.
Velas Latinoamérica 2018, an event organized by the Chilean Navy that began in the port of Rio de Janeiro, will conclude its journey next September in Veracruz (Mexico).
The crossing also includes ports from Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Curacao, Colombia, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, according to official information.