Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a compact and objective manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary Panama. Sources of information included scholarly books, journals, and monographs, official reports of governments and international organizations, numerous periodicals, and interviews with individuals having special competence in Panamanian and Latin American affairs. Measurements are given in the metric system. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be helpful to the reader.
Although there are numerous variations, Spanish surnames generally consist of two parts: the patrilineal name followed by the matrilineal. In the instance of Omar Torrijos Herrera, for example, Torrijos is his father's name, Herrera, his mother's maiden name. In non-formal use, the matrilineal name is often dropped. Thus, after the first mention, we have usually referred simply to Torrijos. A minority of individuals use only the patrilineal name.
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