PANAMA CITY – About 7,000 military personnel from 20 countries began taking part this week in the Panamax 2007 training exercise, which is being coordinated by the Panamanian government and the U.S. military’s Southern Command (Southcom), with a cost of roughly $18 million.
The fourth edition of the event will run through Sept. 7 in the waters off the coasts of Panama and in Honduras.
The multinational forces will be commanded by the U.S. Navy.
Gen.Manuel Ortiz, head of Southcom, said the exercise was designed by a team of joint and multinational sea, air and ground planners from the participating nations.
During the 2005 exercises, three Panamanian soldiers drowned during an amphibious assault exercise.
This year’s participating nations are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, the United States and Uruguay. El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay and Britain are scheduled to participate as observers.