The Republic of Panama connects Central and South America. Within its boundaries is the area's only navigable waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, the Panama Canal. The canal, which was under U.S. jurisdiction for nearly a century, became one of the most strategic waterways in the world. By January 2000, Panama assumed total control of the canal, following the U.S. withdrawal under a 1977 treaty negotiated by then-President Jimmy Carter.
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