Eugenics in Panama

It’s a fact demonstrated by the census that the population of the isthmus [of Panama] has increased very little, as it is also a fact that since 1903 until now, the little immigration we have had has been almost totally constituted by races considered undesirable, which has obligated our National Assemblies to sanction laws like Law 13 of 1926, Law 16 of 1827 and Law 6a of 1928, which prohibit immigration by “Chinese, Japanese, Syrians, Turks, Orientals, Indians, Dravidians and blacks of the West Indies and Guyana, whose original language is not Spanish, to the Republic’s territory.”

This indicates that a large percentage of our public feels the urge to take measures against the degeneration of the race, or at least to prevent where it is possible the entrance into the country of parasitic races like those named above, that generally dedicate themselves to business and that have a life standard inferior to Panamanians, making it impossible for [Panamanians] to compete with [the immigrants].

– excerpt from “Eugenics: The Improvement of the Race,” written by then University of Panama professor Arnulfo Arias in 1934

(translated from Spanish)

3 thoughts on “Eugenics in Panama

  1. I knew this!! Can you please tell me where to get the book? Eugenics: The Improvement of the Race
    hablo español!!

  2. Do you remember the picture in the museum at Mira Flores of the canal builders? Every nationality mentioned in the quoted laws were represented in that picture! The Panamanians we met expressed pride in having those nationalities in their blood lines, and I wonder if those attitudes were popular or fringe, then and now.

  3. Aliyya, We are so proud of the work you are doing!!! Strong points!!! Keep up the good work. Your readers should also know that Arnulfo Arias Madrid served as President of Panama.as did his brother Harmodio. There is a museum in El Interior housing their personal effects and some historical documents.

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