José Antonio Remón Cantera

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Statue of José Antonio Remón Cantera outside of HQ of the National Police of Panama

Colonel José Antonio Remón Cantera (April 11, 1908 – January 2, 1955), was president of Panama from October 1, 1952, until his death in 1955. He belonged to the National Patriotic Coalition (CNP).

He joined the National Police in 1931, becoming its chief in 1947.[1] In this position, he was responsible for the coup against acting president Daniel Chanis Pinzón.

Beginning in 1953, his administration began to negotiate amendments to the Panama Canal treaty with the U.S. administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. These negotiations led to an agreement, ratified in 1955, that substantially raised the annual annuity paid to Panama (from $430,000 to $1.9 million) and resulted in the handover of approximately $20 million in property from the Panama Canal Company to Panama.

General José Remón was the man behind the scenes of several coups that ousted Dr. Arnulfo Arias from power, and arguably the true founder of the social reforming militarism that was later dubbed "Torrijismo" after General Omar Torrijos. "Neither millions nor alms – we want justice" was Remón's most memorable statement of principles. Remón went on to be elected President of Panama in 1952.[1]

On January 2, 1955, Remón was ambushed at a race track and fired upon by an unknown number of assailants with sub-machineguns. The incident took place at 7:30 pm; Remón died in hospital two hours later. Two other men were killed in the attack, including one of Remón's bodyguards.[2]

Murder investigation

The circumstances concerning Remón's death were mysterious. During the initial investigation, an American, Martin Irving Lipstein, was arrested,[3] but later released when lawyer Rubén O. Miró confessed to the crime on January 12, 1955. Lipstein also had an alibi, with several witnesses having seen him in places far away from the racetrack at which Remón was killed (the Hipódromo Juan Franco), at about the same time.

In his confession, Miró claimed that he had been acting on orders from José Ramón Guizado, who had succeeded Remón as president. Guizado was removed from his post and arrested on January 15,[4] and convicted of complicity on March 29.[5] He was sentenced to six years and eight months in jail, but was released in December 1957, after Miró and six other suspected perpetrators were acquitted.[6][7]

Although the crime has never been formally solved, the opinion in Panama that the material killer was Miró remains.[citation needed]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Shultz, Richard H. (2000) [1993]. In the Aftermath of War. DIANE Publishing. pp. 5–6. ISBN 9781428992719.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Assassins Fire From Ambush At Race Track". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 3, 1955. pp. 1, 4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Yank Denies Panama Crime". Toledo Blade. January 7, 1955. p. 2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Playboy Lawyer Admits He Was Triggerman In Remon Slaying". St. Petersburg Times. January 16, 1955. p. 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Ex-President of Panama Is Convicted". St. Joseph News-Press. March 29, 1955. p. 2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Seven Acquitted In Murder Of Panama President". December 7, 1957. p. 8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Guizado Out Of Jail In Panama". The Miami News. December 11, 1957. p. 10B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Political offices
Preceded by
Alcibíades Arosemena
President of Panama
Succeeded by
José Ramón Guizado