What is the price for selling out your country? For Panama Canal
Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta, the answer is about $10 per
Panamanian. He joins the ranks of infamous Panamanians like drug
dictators Noriega and Torrijos, who have sold their nation for money.
Zubieta was Clinton’s star witness who lied at the recent Senate Armed
Services Committee hearings that Communist China has not been given U.S.
ports, bases and functions of the Panama Canal. Many of you readers saw
him on C-Span. He is my Panamanian countryman, but his betrayal is of
both of my countries — Panama and the U.S. — though that will not stop
him from fleeing north when the results of his treachery show their
When Comrade Zubieta first read the 50-year treaty signed between
Panama and Communist China (Law No. 5), he was outraged. It violated
the Panama Canal Treaties and the Panamanian constitution. This fact is
indisputable. It was told to me by one of his friends and widely
reported in the Panamanian media (La Prensa, El Panamá América, El
Siglo) by former Vice President Ricardo Arias Calderon of the Christian
Democratic Party. But that was before Zubieta’s $24 million dollar deal
to upgrade a former U.S. military base in Panama, Amador, for commercial
Last year I was discussing Zubieta’s other business dealings in the
Canal which have occurred since he changed his opinion about Law No. 5.
One of Zubieta’s business partners chided me for getting it wrong. I
had publicly stated that he received $31,000 a day for a barge working
in the Canal. I was wrong; he earns $48,000. And if there is any
mechanical trouble on the barge, the Panama Canal pays to fix it, and
Canal workers do the job. Let me remind you that his testimony was as
the administrator of the Panama Canal Commission, a job which under U.S.
Civil Service laws forbids, among other things, conflicts of interest.
Suppose for a moment that he were a high official of the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers in charge of the Canal as in former days, and then
suddenly he owned a dredging company that was doing all the dredging of
the Canal and associated waterways for which the Corps was giving the
contracts, thus paying himself $48,000 a day? Where is the enforcement
of law? Where is the security which Panama was promised? You get the
Who knows about this well-kept secret? The El Siglo newspaper in
Panama headlined my charges regarding Zubieta’s barge contract. They
reproduced my letter to the Panama Canal Inspector General. In another
leading Panamanian paper, El Panamá América, in an article on April 15,
1997, former Vice President Calderon is quoted as stating that Mayor
Alberto Aleman Zubieta said the same thing to him, an admission solidly
against Zubieta’s present position as just stated under oath before the
But let’s not lay all the blame on the Panamanian. The response to
Zubieta’s opposition to the Panama-Communist China Treaty by the then
U.S. Secretary of the Panama Canal Joe Reeder was swift and in no
uncertain terms: Back off. He was ordered not to interfere with
Clinton’s Communist Chinese campaign donors, the Lippo Group, China
Resource Enterprise (CIA of Communist China), and Li Ka-Shing. This was
in 1996 and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was selling the
nation for money. Reeder now sells the nation from his new job at
Patton & Boggs, Noriega’s lobbyist firm between 1983-85. Rewards for
betrayal and stonewalling for the truth is what we see. Scoop Jackson,
where are you now that the nation needs you?
Who I really felt sorry for was poor Webster Hubbell. The poor man
had to listen to America claiming that he received the Lippo money and
did nothing. It is not true. He served as the point man for Lippo on
the Panama-Communist China cover-up. Being a traitor is hard work.
But, back to Zubieta. I am as much to blame as anyone for his
appointment. Based on recommendations of those who knew him well, and I
respected, I supported his appointment. My investigation showed that he
had an excellent reputation. He was the man for the job.
The one intangible unknown at the time was Zubieta’s lack of
backbone. His wishy-washy style quickly became apparent. Panamanian
President Balladares easily pushed him around and named family members,
business partners and friends to high positions in the Panama Canal.
Zubieta welcomed with open arms men like Canal Director Moises
Mizrachi (130 cases of fraud and kidnapping and with an accusation of
murder from his former business partner), Canal Director Gonzalez
Revilla (who, along with partner President Balladares, defrauded two
U.S. companies), and the new Treasurer of the Panama Canal Ricaurter
Vasquez (tied in with a government finance company under Noriega with
$35-70 million in missing funds).
It took the United States 60 years to raise the tolls one time.
Under U.S. control, the tolls subsidized the entire Canal Zone and the
Canal operated like a synchronized Swiss watch. Under U.S. control a
first class military force whose primary mission was to keep the Canal
open protected the Panama Canal. The American workers, called Zonians,
who ran the Canal were decent, hardworking, dedicated, honest, and
simply put, the best of the best.
The Zubieta Panama Canal runs like Panama. Since 1979, Panama has
raised the tolls 8 times and the dollar amounts have increased almost
150 percent. Miter gates almost fall off, the anti-terrorist system is
inoperable, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified 830 major
problems (40 percent have not been dealt with), and the Panama Canal has
not a major overhaul in 20 years. (The Zonians did it every three
years.) Watchmen are now responsible for the defense of the Canal, with
two Colombian rebel armies, listed on the State Department’s terrorism
list, within walking distance of the Canal. Just recently, these
Colombian rebels stole two helicopters from a former U.S. Air Base
(Albrook), 30 seconds flying time from the Canal.
President Clinton has scheduled a trip to Panama to give away the
Canal on Dec. 14. My fellow Americans, with your support, it can be
stopped. Larry Elgin and his organization, U.S. Defense-American
Victory, have brought in Larry Klayman and
Watch to aid in the legal fight.
Obviously Alberto Aleman Zubieta and William Jefferson Clinton are going
to continue the betrayal of two nations. Only court action can stop
We can hand the “Clinton/Carter Democratic Communist Chinese Party of
America” (not the party of Scoop Jackson and Harry Truman who stopped
the Communists in Greece or John Kennedy who fought for progress in
Latin America to stop Communism, not reward it) their single greatest
defeat of this century. The Panama Canal is an American Canal. Its
continued neutrality and operation is the lifeblood of Panama as well as
a vital link in U.S. security and commercial strength. We will not
surrender the Canal without a fight.
William Bright Marine is a
dual U.S./Panamanian citizen who has led the fight to secure a new
Panama Canal Treaty and U.S. Base Treaty since 1995. He was jailed,
tortured, and exiled twice by Noriega. U.S. Defense-American Victory
may be contacted about the lawsuit now in federal court by