The opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) considers as "petty" the speech that Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela delivered at the UN, since he ignored the role of former dictator Omar Torrijos in the recovery of the interoceanic canal, administered for years by the United States.
Varela's participation "demonstrates the little political stature of the statesman that the president of the Republic could have had, but he does not deserve any further comment," said the general secretary of the party created by Torrijos himself, Pedro Miguel González.
The governor said that the sovereignty of the water route "was recovered by Panamanians, thanks to the treaties of the Panama Canal and the courageous decision of a simple human being, the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter."
"Today I publicly recognize that commitment that changed the course of our nation," added Varela during his speech on Wednesday at the General Assembly of the United Nations that is held in New York.
On September 7, 1977, former President Carter and General Torrijos signed at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), in Washington, the Carter-Torrijos Treaties, which marked the road map for the definitive transfer to Panama of the interoceanic route.
Since then, the United States, who built the canal at the beginning of the last century, gradually withdrew from the Central American country until December 31, 1999, when the final transfer of the water route was made.
"The story recognizes Omar Torrijos for his historical role in the struggle for national liberation and in the constitution of these treaties, and we do not know how Varela will be remembered (by history)," González said.
Since it is managed by Panama, the canal has provided the State with more than 13,000 million dollars, while during the 85 years of US administration it contributed only 1,877 million dollars.
The general secretary of the PRD said that Panamanian society will remember "for centuries" General Torrijos -who died in 1981 in a plane crash yet to be clarified-, while "we want to forget Varela now."
The PRD, formed by Torrijos in 1979 and affiliated with the Socialist International, has not won a presidential election since 2004, when one of the sons of its founder, Martín Torrijos, came to power.
The presidential elections of 2014 were won against all odds by the ruling Panameñista Party (PPA), while the two political forces with more deputies in the Panamanian Parliament, with 71 seats, are the PRD (26) and the CD (24).