The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Finally, a road through the Darien Gap?

People have been talking about completing the missing 96 km of the Pan-American Highway across the Gap for decades [1] - in much the same way that the Channel Tunnel was a long-cherished, and much-discussed, dream for a hundred years and more. And an enormous long-shot - until digging commenced in the time of that oddest couple, Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand.

The latest flurry I notice in a piece today in El Tiempo in which the head of the Panamanian Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente denies that Panama will agree to the idea:
"en estos cinco años (de gobierno) no hay carretera" a través de llamado ‘Tapón del Darién’.

Apart from being an environmentally important area, the Gap has kept nations to the north free from the foot and mouth disease which is apparently endemic in South America; on the other hand, it acts like Sherwood Forest did for Robin Hood, a haven for the gamut of Colombian nasties (FARC, ELN, AUC).

Apparently, the subject cropped up in the talks a few days ago between Bush and Àlvaro Uribe: no indication that Bush has Mitterrandian grand projet dreams about closing the gap - but we're always being told that second-term presidents are obsessed about their legacy.

And, on balance, I'd take dumping millions of tons of concrete on unique habitat over a US Pearl Harbor against Iranian nuclear installations any day!

  1. A piece from 1992 - net pre-history! - on the subject.


According to an AFP piece
Estados Unidos se ha opuesto a la apertura de una carretera a través de las selvas del denominado “Tapón de Darién” alegando que así se protege una extensa zona de bosques y se impide el ingreso de enfermedades agropecuarias hacia Centroamérica.

Closing the Darien Gap was, according to FRUS materials online, under discussion under Johnson in 1966 and Nixon in 1969.

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