Threats of the contractor shutting down are overblown in my opinion. Just some horse trading going on.
U.S. went into Panama and took out Noriega because he denied giving the U.S. a lease extension.
The oil co.'s and defense contractors who run the world made a call to the White House when their shipping was threatened and a few months later the Marines landed in Panama. (Bush then used the invasion as a dress rehearsal for Iraq a year later)
Panama will pay the contractor with money borrowed from the World Bank or IMF that are run by the world's elite countries. In return Panama will mortgage more of it's major resources ie: the Canal to the banks.
1. Contractor get his dough
2. Co's get a wider canal to send larger energy ships thru.
3. Panama goes further into debt to the world's elites
4. Panama's ruling class receives more graft but appeases it's US rulers.
Everyone wins but the consumer who will be stuck with higher prices.