The American-controlled Panama Canal Zone is "another Alabama where white Americans discriminate against everyone but white Americans," charged Jose Figueres; visiting professor of Government, last night.
This "colonial mentality" is not shared by the American Canal Zone authorities, However, added the former president of Costa Rica. That country borders Panama on the north.
Figueres declared that a drastic move would eventually be necessary to solve the Canal conflict. He listed as the only visble alternatives nationalization or internationalization of the canal, and the building of a second canal.
Crisis Not Castro's Work
Figueres dismissed the claim that the current agitation was due to the influence of Fidel Castro and said that there had been anti-American feeling in Panama fifty years before Castro. Such friction resulted from the identification of American interests with the Panamaian ruling class, he said, but the situation had been improved under the Alliance for Progress.
Praising President Johnson's action in the crisis, Figueres said that the situation was in the "good hands" of assistant secretary of state Thomas Mann and Panamanian president Roberto Chiari. Whom he called a "serene and responsible man."