The Government of Panama today asked the countries of the region in a hemispheric forum held in Mexico to increase cooperation in security matters, and said that it is actively working to prevent its logistics platform and of financial services from being used by organized crime.
The Minister of Security, Alexis Bethancourt, who is participating this week at the 13th Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas held in Cancun, said that it is necessary to establish "strategic alliances that allow us to move towards the promotion of mutual trust, the dialogue and transparency among our institutions".
During the summit, which will conclude on October 10, the Panamanian official said that the Central American government "is focused" on preventing the logistics and financial services platform from being used by organized crime.
Panama is an important regional banking center, as well as one of the main logistics platforms in the world, as it hosts numerous ports, the largest free zone in the Americas and the interoceanic canal.
The Panama Canal, through which close to 6 percent of world trade passes and whose expansion was inaugurated in June 2016, unites more than 140 maritime routes and 1,700 ports in 160 different countries.
The Conference was created in 1995 with the purpose of becoming a forum for debates for the exchange of experiences among the Ministers of Defense of the American Continent, with 34 countries attending the first conference.
The first meeting was held in the United States in 1995 and the second in Argentina in 1996; then it was held every two years in Colombia 1998, Brazil 2000, Chile 2002, Ecuador 2004, Nicaragua 2006, Canada 2008, Bolivia 2010, Uruguay 2012, Peru 2014 and Trinidad and Tobago 2016.
The countries of the Americas belong to the conference in their own right, which have expressed and requested it and that comply with the "Williamsburg Principles", agreed in 1995.