The United States' Latin American allies, blasting the "abusive" military strike in Panama and rebuffing the new government's envoy, are considering whether the Organization of American States will formally condemn the U.S. action.
The OAS refused on Wednesday to accept the representative of Panama's U.S.-installed president, Guillermo Endara, instead deciding to seat the representative of ousted Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.The U.S. ambassador, Luigi Einaudi, asked the members to "understand and support our action" in Panama.
But Panama's pro-Noriega representative, Jose Maria Cabrera, called the U.S. invasion "the most brutal and criminal action ever carried out by the United States in our relationship."
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council convened for an emergency debate on the invasion. The question that immediately arose was: who speaks for Panama?
The council was expected to recognize a new Panamanian ambassador, said diplomats and U.N. officials speaking privately.
At issue was which government was legitimate: that of Noriega or Endara's.
The United States, with help from other Western members, pressed Wednesday for recognition of a new ambassador appointed by Endara's government.
Endara had appointed Eduardo Vallarino, a Panamanian businessman in self-imposed exile in the United States, as its U.N. ambassador, diplomats said.
One by one the condemnations came, from Haiti, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Guatemala.
-In Bolivia a bomb went off around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, destroying windows at the embassy and surrounding offices. No injuries were reported.
-The Mexican OAS representative, Antonio de Icaza, said, "The fight against international crime is not sufficient reason to intervene in a sovereign nation. There are no reasons that can justify an intervention."
-Canada came to the defense of the U.S. assault. Its OAS representative, Richard Gorham, said his government "regretted the use of force" but added: "We must nonetheless again highlight the extraordinary circumstances which have caused the United States to act as it has, and to support its objective of restoring constitutional, democratic government to the republic of Panama."
-The Nicaraguan OAS representative, Victoria Castillo, said, "It is an aberration to speak of democracy and carry out aggression." President Daniel Ortega said the invasion threatened his country, and placed troops on maximum alert.
-Peru withdrew its ambassador to Washington.
-El Salvador's U.S.-backed government was the only one in Latin American to clearly support the move.
-Honduras appeared to give qualified support to the U.S. move, saying its government "laments the declaration of a state of war in Panama and the violent acts taken against American military and civilians."