There have been many struggles that we as Panamanian people had to go through to assert their right to total sovereignty of their territory and the non-interference of another State in their internal affairs.
There were numerous confrontations and frictions between Panamanians and North Americans, we only have to remember the painful incident of “La Tajada de Sandía” (Sandia slice event) , on April 15, 1856.
During the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, the most important popular mobilizations took place in defense of the sovereignty of the Republic of Panama over the Canal Zone.
Proof of the above were the heroic days of 1947 (rejection of the Filos Hines agreement), 1958 (planting of flags), 1959 (November 3 and the patriotic day of the 28th of the same month) and the Caravan from Chiriqui to the Canal Zone on November 28, 1959.” Without a doubt, these historical events are previews to the bloody events of January 9, 1964.
In the old Balboa High School, today the Ascanio Arosemena Training Center, it was one of the places where the events of January 9 took place when hundreds of Panamanian students arrived at what was then the Balboa High School of the Canal Zone, to demand the raising of the national flag.
The incidents caused clashes between Panamanians and Americans with a tragic death toll of 21 Panamanians.
As a result of what happened on January 9 and in the following days, Panama broke diplomatic relations with the United States, which were resumed when Washington agreed to review its relations around the Panama Canal, which allowed it to manage the waterway in perpetuity, as well as exercise government over the surrounding areas.
As part of that process, Panama and the United States agreed on the Torrijos-Carter Treaties on September 7, 1977, which established for noon on December 31, 1999 the total transfer of the Canal to the jurisdiction of Panama, in addition to all contiguous areas.
January 9 is not a day off, it is the date on which all Panamanians must remember and ponder an episode in our history, full of value and national dignity when youth united the entire Panamanian to fight for their right of self determination.