Sunday, Mar 26, 2023

How Egypt’s Suez Canal Story Created an Echo in Latin America

How Egypt’s Suez Canal Story Created an Echo in Latin America

Standing before a crowd at Alexandria’s vast Mohammed Ali Square, former President Gamal Abdel Nasser teases the crowd with his enigmatic smile before his speech, and then finally takes the microphone and begins to speak about the nationalization of the Suez Canal. “Today we are going to get rid of what happened in the past; some of your fellow citizens have just taken over the Canal.”

The speech sent shockwaves across Egypt and the world, but it did not stop at the region or in Europe, but also across the oceans in Latin America. Egypt, for Venezuelan politician Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, showed the world that “human solidarity could confront blatant injustices” and that small nations, or developing nations, can operate a company as large as the Suez Canal.

So much has passed, and so many years have gone by, that today this historic event does not shake us as much or spark visions for the future anymore. But at the time, it made an echo and influenced two key events: the Panama Canal and the founding of OPEC.

From Western Oil Majors to OPEC

When Pérez Alfonzo became the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 1959, he aspired to control oil prices and put an oil producing country’s cartel in place of the private cartel of multinational oil corporations. His visions were aligned with Nasser’s aspiration for countries to independently manage their economies and prevent foreign powers from controlling oil prices.

A meeting was held in Cairo between 16 and 23 April 1959 between Pérez Alfonzo and other Arab leaders, including Abdullah Tariki, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia. At that time, the oil industry was controlled by Western Oil Majors, and included little to no involvement by the host developing countries. Developing nations had no say in what or how their resources were being used and exploited, and no authority in determining the future of their economy.

The meeting led to the co-creation of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), which not only protects the interests of oil producing countries today, but also illustrates once again that countries in the Middle East and Latin America can come together and take control of their own economy and destiny.

Panama Canal

Scholar Federico Vélez also offers an interesting historical analysis on the influence of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s policies on Latin America, particularly the Panama Canal.

Vélez explains that before the events in Suez, the United States built a canal in Panama after the Colombian Congress refused to accept the conditions initially agreed upon by both governments, and the United States was granted the right to use, occupy, and control the five-mile zone on each side of the waterway, also known as the Canal Zone.

However, Panamanian nationalism grew, and eventually reached its climax with the events of Suez Canal. Nasser’s courage to stand against British colonialism and nationalize the Suez Canal began to appear as a thorn in the negotiations between the United States and Panama, as Vélez argues, which forced the United States to return to negotiations and accept a recalculation of royalties, as well as a promise to improve the labor and economic circumstances of Panamanians working in the American Zone.

When President Eisenhower asked his Secretary of Defense to negotiate with the Panamanian government and improve labor conditions, he emphasized that he did not want the situation to end up as the one the British had to face in Suez, and that the negotiations should not result in “incurring the risk of divided control.”

In a memo to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of Inter-American Affairs, the Acting Officer in charge of Central American and Panamanian Affairs, said that the “Panamanians… have made no secret of the fact that they follow with keen interest the developments of the Suez. The Government of Panama unquestionably looks to the day when it will be able in one way or another to emulate the recent action of Egypt.”

Nasser’s policies pushed university students in Panama City to call for a General Assembly and demand that the Panamanian government abolish the 1903 treaty and lend its full support to the cause in Egypt. By the late 1950s, student groups began a series of peaceful protests against the American presence in the Canal Zone and a “sovereignty” rally to demand the presence of the Panamanian flag in the Zone.

After the events culminated in a general uprising and led to the destruction of American property, the United States allowed Panamanians to raise their flag alongside the American flag in the Canal Zone. Panama’s new leader General Omar Torrijos negotiated a final agreement with the United States in 1977, which abrogated the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903, returning sovereignty and full control of the Canal and the Canal Zone to Panama.

Yet, fast forward to this day, it is hard to grasp just how much impact the Suez Canal had on global politics, and even Torrijos himself, when asked by a journalist about using Nasser as a model for his country, asked, “What did Nasser do?”

Nevertheless, while the world continues to struggle with the remains of neocolonialism, the story of the Suez Canal may once again ring a bell for those who wish to subjugate and control other nations’ resources.


Related Articles

Singapore’s Prime Minister says China and US need to stabilize relations because world can't afford a confict between the two superpowers
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Bordeaux town hall set on fire in France pro democracy protest
Police violence in Paris
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
The US government has charged Chinese businessman Guo Wengui with leading a $1 billion fraud scheme that cheated thousands of followers out of their money.
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Drew Barrymore
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
A brief banking situation report
Lady bites police officer and gets instantly reaction
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Senator Tom Cotton: If the Mexican Government Won’t Stop Cartels from Killing Americans, Then U.S. Government Should
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
Silicon Valley Bank: Struggles Threaten Tech Startup Ecosystem"
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
Givenchy Store in New York Robbed of $50,000 in Merchandise
European MP Clare Daly condemns US attack on Nord Stream
Former U.S. President Carter will spend his remaining time at home and receive hospice care instead of medication
Tucker Carlson called Trump a 'demonic force'
Kamala Harris: "The United States has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity."
US Joins 15 NATO Nations in Largest Space Data Collection Initiative in History
White House: No ETs over the United States
U.S. Jet Shoots Down Flying Object Over Canada
Nord Stream terror attack: David Sacks breaks down Sy Hersh's story
Being a Tiktoker might be expensive…
Miracle: El Salvador Search and Rescue teams, with the support of Turkish teams, rescued a woman and a child from the rubble 150 hours after the earthquake
SpaceX, the private space exploration company, made a significant breakthrough in their mission to reach space.
China's top tech firms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, NetEase, and, are developing their own versions of Open AI's AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT