Torrijos Espino, Martín Erasto

Torrijos Espino, Martín Erasto,

1963–, Panamanian political leader, president of Panama (2004–), b. Panama City. The son of Gen. Omar Torrijos HerreraTorrijos Herrera, Omar
, 1929–81, military leader, dictator of Panama (1968–78). As a lieutenant colonel, he led, together with Col. Boris Martínez, the coup (1968) that ousted President Arnulfo Arias.
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, he studied economics and political science at Texas A&M Univ and embarked on a business career. In 1999 he assumed leadership of the Democratic Revolutionary party (DRP). Torrijos served in the government of President Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994–99) and ran unsuccessfully for president in 1999. In 2004, however, Torrijos defeated former president Guillermo Endara in a landslide to win the post. In 2007 Torrijos initiated the modernization and expansion of the Panama CanalPanama Canal,
waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic (by way of the Caribbean Sea) and Pacific oceans, built by the United States (1904–14, on territory leased from the republic of Panama) and expanded by Pamana (2007–16).
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