Based on in-depth interviews with eyewitnesses and millennials born around the time of the invasion, María's research unveils a generational divide in how Panamanians signify this military raid and represent U.S.-Panama relations.
While survivors recount a traumatic episode steeped in a history of neocolonial relations, millennials regard the invasion as an event of lessened relevance to their generation. Barring knowledge drawn from shared family memories, the invasion, and U.S. earlier control of the Panama Canal lay both chronologically and subjectively outside the purview of young Panamanians.
Panama's repositioning in the neoliberal world order as a convenient site for global trade aligns with millennials' historical narrative of "nation," ostensibly dissociated from the vision of sovereignty that preoccupied earlier generations. This reframing of collective identity is interpreted as a "loss of memory" by older Panamanians who lived through the invasion and the prior eight decades of U.S. occupation of the Canal Zone.