Erased: The Untold Story of the Panama Canal

Marixa Lasso

When the Spanish Empire opened the Panama trade route, it created a high population density that now seems to run roughshod over the vast, rich, sparsely populated jungle that surrounds the Panama Canal, which is expanding through much of the inter-oceanic region. The apparent incongruity is explained in Erased, by Panamanian historian Marixa Lasso. The United States received permission to build and administer the sea passage and, starting in 1912, the U.S. forcibly depopulated local towns and farms because the inhabitants had no place in the symbolic space that an emerging power was carving out in the heart of the Americas. Lasso’s book reviews the process and the consequences of these policies, some of which still affect the Central American country.