ACAN-EFE, a news agency created by Spain's Agencia EFE in partnership with Central American news outlets, inaugurated a photo exhibit in Panama City as part of the celebrations of its 40th anniversary.
The inauguration of "40 Years Sharing Our History" took place at the Banco Nacional de Panama with around 100 diplomats, business leaders, media executives and figures from the world of art and culture in attendance.
EFE President Jose Antonio Vera reflected on the contributions of ACAN-EFE, which is Central America's foremost news agency in terms of both subscribers and presence.
ACAN-EFE "made Central America known to the world" and kept the residents of the individual Central American nations informed about events in the other countries of the region, Vera said.
"All this," he said, is done by native journalists in the respective countries with a "style of their own, much effort and independence."
The photo exhibit and a discussion on journalism set for Thursday at Santa Maria La Antigua Catholic University are the last of the observances of the passage of 40 years since ACAN-EFE's first story went out on June 23, 1973, from its Panama City headquarters.
The exhibit, which debuted in June in Costa Rica before moving on to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, comprises 40 emblematic photographs from the history of the region's countries, with an emphasis on Panama.
Besides images of armed conflict and natural disasters, the collection depicts Central America's achievements and successes over the last four decades.
The Panama photos include epochal developments such as the death of Gen. Omar Torrijos, the rise of strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega and the civic struggle against his military regime, and the 1989 U.S. invasion.
Among those taking part in Thursday's forum will be ACAN-EFE editor emeritus Roberto Saavedra, who was part of the agency even before its official launch, and ACAN-EFE alumnus Rolando Rodriguez, now deputy editor of La Prensa newspaper.
Rafael Candanedo, an academic and journalist who worked for EFE in Panama and Brazil and is head of Panama's Conape journalist guild, is also scheduled to speak.
The discussion will be moderated by Agencia EFE's director-general for the Americas, Alfredo Aycart.
The celebration of ACAN-EFE's 40th anniversary has been made possible by assistance from a number of prominent companies and institutions, including BBVA bank, Copa Airlines, Gas Natural Fenosa, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas and Grupo Pellas.
Regional entities such as the Central American Bank of Economic Integration and the System of Central American Integration also contributed, as did the European Union's diplomatic mission in Guatemala.
Global NGO Plan International and several academic institutions, among them Santa Maria La Antigua, Costa Rica's Latina University and Jose Simeon Cañas Central American University in El Salvador, have likewise played a part.
In the media sector, El Salvador's Grupo Dutriz, Nicaragua's La Prensa, Grupo Extra and Radio Monumental of Costa Rica have been partners in the initiative.
ACAN-EFE has also benefited from the collaboration of Banco Nacional de Panama, Fundacion Paiz de Guatemala, consultants Llorente y Cuenca, Spain's embassies and cultural centers in Central America and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development.