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Now this treaty is going to be put up before them in a plebiscite on October 23. With your knowledge of Panama, what do you think the outcome of that vote will be if the majority of Panamanians, in your judgment, are opposed to the treaty.
Mrs. Fulton. They can go to the polls and they can vote no, but if the Panamanian Government is counting the votes who is going to argue with them?
Senator PERCY. It will be a secret ballot. Mrs. FULTON. Secret? But the Panamanian voting official will see what color ballot you put in the box and a no vote is a different color from the yes.
Senator PERCY. Are you saying there will be intimidation ?
Mrs. FULTON. What do you call it? This has been announced in the Sunday papers. I brought it for the committee. They are not saying it for intimidation but it amounts to that. The people are snickering about it.
Senator PERCY. What was announced yesterday in the paper?
Mrs. Fulton. There is a two-page spread in which there is a description. They explain, using cartoon figures, how you will vote. Many of these people are uneducated or illiterate.
Senator PERCY. Are you saying it is a different color ballot?
Mrs. Fulton. Yes; the blue ballot for yes, red ballot for no. They show a little cartoon character walking in the voting booth, picking up whatever ballot he wants. He comes out of the booth. He deposits it in a box in front of the voting official and then, to top it off, he writes his name and his identification number on a piece of paper. Then they punch his ID card so that he can continue to do business with the Government. You are trapped. Thousands of people could vote no. If the Government is counting the votes and the way they fixed elections before when they had a democratic government, they can announce anything they want plus there is a real question—I remember during the first week of the hearings that some of the Senators expressed concern that the people really would not understand what the treaty says. There are people who live in little villages, people in Panama City, who have not seen the treaty. How in the world can somebody in a little town understand the neutrality pact and the exchange of letters? It is absurd but they are supposed to sign a card saying, “I have read it."
WHY A MAJORITY ARE AGAINST TREATY
Senator PERCY. You say a majority of them are against it. Why are they against it?
Mrs. Fulton. Let me explain about politics in Panama. The students in Panama have a far-reaching effect in politics, more influence than students would have here in the United States. They are on television along with various groups of lawyers instructing the people in political science, telling them why the treaty is bad. Many of the little people, there are some who still like Torrijos, yes, I am not sure how many are left. But they may respond to the students or they may not. The most vocal group in Panama right now is against the treaty. Many people are afraid to come out and say because they know about reprisal, because they are scared of being picked up, so they don't express opinions with their mouth.
INVITATION TO SEND OBSERVERS TO PLEBISCITE
Senator PERCY. Coming from Cook County, having spent almost all my life in Cook County, I have a little knowledge of rigged elections. It is even more sophisticated than it might be in Latin America. But if
you feel that the Panamanian Government is so vulnerable, why do you suppose they have openly invited the United States to send observers down to see how the Panamanian plebiscite is carried on? I assure you we could send our election people down there, and they are pretty sophisticated people.
Mrs. FULTON. If you can have somebody go in cold, preferably somebody with a Latin accent and not let them know what you are doing, they might find out something. They will stage what you want to see.
Senator Percy. Do you think we are that stupid ?
Mrs. Fulton. They think so. The Panamanians tell us they are having freedom now because it is “The Spring of Liberty of Jimmy Carter." "When the 24th comes," one Panamanian said, "it is going to be like that" (motion of cutting throat).
WHAT PLEBISCITE WILL SHOW
Senator Percy. What do you think the plebiscite is going to show? What percentage for and against the treaty? You have already stated you think most Panamanians are opposed to the treaty. What do you think that plebiscite will show on October 23 ?
Mrs. KENNEDY. It will probably show they are in favor of the treaty.
Senator Percy. You have said over 50 percent literally are opposed. What percentage do you think will show a favorable vote on ratification?
Mrs. KENNEDY. At our last executive meeting of the civic council representatives with the Governor, one of the Panamanians who resided in the Canal Zone answered that question and he said that he thought the campesinos up in the interior of Panama would probably vote for the treaty, many of whom can't read but they can tell the difference between pink and blue.
Senator Percy. A lot of people in this country are functionally illiterate, but they do vote.
Mrs. KENNEDY. They will do what they are told to do because they have done that all their lives.
Senator Percy. In a sense you are saying these Panamanians are pretty much sheep.
Mis. KENNEDY. In the interior of the country. This is what this Panamanian says. This is not what I am saying. I am quoting him. He says in the terminal cities of Panama and Colón
Senator PERCY. When were you last in the interior of Panama? Mrs. KENNEDY. I guess it is almost a year ago.
Senator Percy. But you were there and you spent how much time there?
Mrs. KENNEDY. I have lived in the Canal Zone 35 years and even had a home in the interior of Panama.
AMERICANS LIVING IN PANAMA ITSELF
Senator PERCY. How many Americans actually live in Panama, itself? Is it about 6,000?
Mrs. KENNEDY. That is the figure we are told.
Senator PERCY. You hear about 6,000. They don't have the same protection as those living in the Zone of course. How do they seem to get along in Panama itself?
Mrs. FULTON. A number of them are business men who are paid extra bonuses for being there. You have to play ball, you have to keep your mouth shut and have no open opinion. As long as you do that, all is fine. There have been Americans who have been harassed and others who haven't. Our argument from the Canal Zone side is that you are taking a group of American employees who thought they were under American protection, and you are now telling them "You belong to Omar Torrijos.” They are saying, "We do not find this acceptable and we will leave. Find somebody else to operate the canal.”
“CANAL ZONE” PROGRAM ON PBS Senator Percy. I did not see the television program last Friday night on public television. Are you familiar with the "Canal Zone” program on PBS that was shown on October 27?
Mrs. Fulton. Yes. I know somebody who saw it. It was a distortion.
Senator PERCY. This program, according to Time Magazine of October 10, was produced by Frederick Wiseman. “Wiseman concluded he found a nightmare vision of America itself in this program." Frank Rich, the reviewer of the program for Time Magazine, said this:
By the time "Canal” reaches its Memorial Day climax, however, it becomes as bitter as Sinclair Lewis' "Main Street." Wiseman reveals that the Zonians, for all their patriotic ardor, are a ruthless and unhappy lot. Their crime and child abuse figures are well above the mainland rates. "Canal Zone” becomes a study in how Americanism, when isolated and left to feed on itself, can become a desperate form of mass escapism and, as such, it is an ingenious cautionary tale.
Mrs. Fulton. I would like to comment immediately.
Mrs. Fulton. Particularly the child abuse. I know this womanMs. Ray Dymond—who is a social worker. She read that and was appalled. She made a statement in the meeting about child abuse but she stated—and she works with these cases—90 percent of them are among the enlisted military personnel who are transient in the Canal Zone. There are a lot of alcoholic problems and child abuse problems. This is not the Canal Zone family that lives there year after year. The man's film, I understand, was abominably duli. He took long stretches of film and just put it together with no interpretation, no organization, no art.
I don't think you can sum up the Canal Zone people. They have been unhappy recently because they are living in a state of limbo, a state of flux. They have been told nothing about their future except that there is going to be a treaty. This is rather hard on a man 45 years old with three children wondering, "Do I lose my job, can I retire or transfer?
In that sense, they are unhappy. I do not believe that was an accurate presentation of life in the Canal Zone.
Senator PERCY. Would the others care to comment on whether it is an accurate portrayal?
Mrs. KENNEDY. It is most inaccurate. On the child abuse figures, they are primarily among the military. It does not reflect the Zonians. The military personnel are there for a very short time. They have a lot of difficulties. They are uprooted. They are transient and they have difficulties. As far as the crime rate is concerned, the Canal Zone itself is beautifully free from crime except from infiltration by the Panamanians. I would say 99 percent of the cases that come before the court are Panamanians that come there for stealing, robbing—if the man does not have enough money when they rob him, they beat him.
Those are the crimes. They are not crimes committed by “nasty." Zonians.
Mr. FATTOROSI. The Canal Zonians have operated the canal efficiently over the
years. We were one of the few agencies of the U.S. Government that has consistently returned a profit to the Treasury. It has been convenient for some of the more superficial newsmen to pull out of their obsolete files accounts of living conditions in the Canal Zone that are 15 and 20 years old. We no longer have the maid service that we did once have years ago. The minimum wage applies.
Senator Percy. I am sorry, I asked my colleagues to yield and I just wanted to get from you a picture as to whether, in your judgment, the PBS program was accurate or whether you felt it was unrepresentative of the Zonians.
Mr. FATTOROSI. I think it is a verifiable fact that the crime rate in the Canal Zone among resident Canal Zonians must be the lowest in the country. If you compare it with any city in the United States of comparable size, I feel absolutely confident that it would be lower, considerably lower.
Senator CLARK. I think we should ask the staff to prepare those for us, don't you?
Senator PERCY. Fine.
CANAL ZONE CRIME INFORMATION
[Supplied by Department of State) The resident population of the Canal Zone is 38,000, of which 23,500 are transient military and 14,500 are Canal Zone employees and their dependents. The Canal Zone resident is economically stable because he must be employed in the Canal Zone or be a dependent of an employee. This must be compared with the combined populations of over 500,000 of Colon and Panama City which border the Canal Zone. These two cities have extensive slum areas with abject poverty, caused by Panama's economic conditions. This situation leads to extensive criminal activity on the part of the poor. There are no check points along the Canal Zone/Republic of Panama boundary. thus there is a continual flow of people from Panama into the Canal Zone at all hours of the day and night. These people create the major portion of the Canal Zone crime problem.
Crime in the Canal Zone has been declining for several years as opposed to the C.S. National Average. Table A shows the number of Part One Offenses for fiscal years 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976. The 1977 Annual Report has not been completed as yet; however, indications are that an increase in crime of about 10 percent was suffered during the past year. This is directly attributable to the economic conditions in the Republic of Panama as the crimes that increased were those traditionally committed by Panamanian nationals, i.e., robbery, burglary, etc.
Table B shows that 71 percent of all arrests in the Canal Zone, including traffic offenses, are committed by non-U.S. citizens. Over 90 percent of this number are residents of Panama.
Table C is a breakdown of Part One Offenses for Fiscal Years 1975, 1976 and preliminary figures for Fiscal Year 1977. Table D shows suburban areas of like populations in the United States.
Table E shows the breakdown of citizenship of the 164 felons serving sentences either in the Gamboa (Canal Zone) Penitentiary or Penitentiaries in the United States. Note: U.S. Citizens convicted of felonies under Canal Zone or U.S. law are sent to the U.S. Federal Penitentiary nearest their home of record in the United States. As can be seen, only 12 of the felons serving sentence are U.S. citizens. Of that number, only 1 is a dependent of a Zonian, while 11 are U.S. military personnel.
Regarding the child abuse statistics, of the 23 child abuse cases reported to the Canal Zone Police during the last two years (Fiscal Years 1976 and 1977), 21 cases involved U.S. military families stationed in the Canal Zone on a temporary basis and two cases involved Zone employee families (1 in 1976 and 1 in 1977).
TABLE C.-PART I OFFENSES AS DEFINED IN FBI UNIFORM CRIME REPORT
15 96 29 638
3 18 153
24 624 346 987 68
555 353 907 66
1 Auto theft and grand larceny were combined during fiscal year 1975.