PANAMA CITY, Panama – Sean Connery (search) says Panama's decision to revoke his diplomatic passport has unleashed a wave of unfair criticism on the Internet and in newspapers around the world.
In a letter to Foreign Secretary Samuel Lewis Navarro (search), published in the newspaper La Estrella de Panama on Monday, Connery said reports about his canceled passport appeared worldwide and "have been hurtful and vigorous."
"There was no one more surprised than me when they honored me with a diplomatic passport," he said.
On Oct. 1, Panama's government canceled diplomatic passports issued by then-President Mireya Moscoso to the Scottish actor, who gained fame as agent 007 in James Bond (search) films, and 120 other "artists, businessmen, politicians and other people on account of them being international promoters of culture, health, business, tourism or athletics."
The cancellations came as part of an effort to clean up and update the Foreign Relation Department's files ordered by President Martin Torrijos, who took office Sept. 1. The government requested that all the canceled passports be returned to Foreign Secretary offices in Panama City.
Connery, 74, said that although he had never used the special passport, having the document made him feel "a certain loyalty toward Panama."
In March 2003, Connery traveled to Panama, visited a coffee plantation belonging to Moscoso and received a Manuel Amador Guerrero award from the then-president, who considered the actor a friend.