José Antonio Remón Cantera

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José Antonio Remón Cantera
Estatua de José Antonio Remón Cantera - Sede de la Policía Nacional de Panamá (2012).jpg
Statue of José Antonio Remón Cantera outside of HQ of the National Police of Panama
16th President of Panama
In office
1 October 1952 – 2 January 1955
Vice PresidentJosé Ramón Guizado
Ricardo Arias
Preceded byAlcibíades Arosemena
Succeeded byJosé Ramón Guizado
Personal details
José Antonio Remón Cantera

(1908-04-11)11 April 1908
Panama City, Panama
Died2 January 1955(1955-01-02) (aged 46)
Panama City, Panama
Political partyNational Patriotic Coalition
Spouse(s)Cecilia Pinel
ProfessionMilitary, Politician

Colonel José Antonio Remón Cantera (11 April 1908 – 2 January 1955) was the 29th President of Panama, holding office from 1 October 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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 2 January 1955, Remón was ambushed at a race track and fired upon by three assailants armed with sub-machine guns. 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[edit]

The circumstances concerning Remón's death were mysterious. During the initial investigation, an American, Martin Irving Lipstein, was arrested,[3] but later released when Rubén O. Miró, an attorney, confessed to the crime on 12 January 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.[citation needed]

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 15 January,[4] and convicted of complicity on 29 March.[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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Shultz, Richard H. (2000) [1993]. In the Aftermath of War. DIANE Publishing. pp. 5–6. ISBN 9781428992719.
  2. ^ "Assassins Fire From Ambush At Race Track". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 3 January 1955. pp. 1, 4.
  3. ^ "Yank Denies Panama Crime". Toledo Blade. 7 January 1955. p. 2.
  4. ^ "Playboy Lawyer Admits He Was Triggerman In Remon Slaying". St. Petersburg Times. 16 January 1955. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Ex-President of Panama Is Convicted". St. Joseph News-Press. 29 March 1955. p. 2.
  6. ^ "Seven Acquitted In Murder Of Panama President". 7 December 1957. p. 8.
  7. ^ "Guizado Out Of Jail In Panama". The Miami News. 11 December 1957. p. 10B.

Viewing the seating area from the track side, President Remon and his party were seated at two of three occupied tables at the top of the center shaded seating stand. President Remon was seated at the 11:00 O'clock position, center table. The assassins approached the area from three angles. One came straight from the President's left side. A second gunman approached straight up through the seating stand. The third came from below and to the right of the President. When they all opened fire the people at the three tables were all hit and either were killed outright or wounded. Remon and his bodyguards were all killed though Remon died later at the hospital. Also among those casualties that Sunday evening was the young senior lifeguard for the Albrook AFB swimming pool. (GPHolk. 2 Jan 1955, I was there. Only eight years old but a day I wouldn't ever forget. My mother happened to love horse racing her whole life. I knew our life guard personally. The other sad note was that the occupants of the third table were not part of the President's retinue at all.)

Political offices
Preceded by
Alcibíades Arosemena
President of Panama
Succeeded by
José Ramón Guizado