Panama's new President Martin Torrijos has been sworn in for a five-year term in the capital, Panama City.
Martin Torrijos promised to investigate his father's legacy
Representatives from several countries attended the inauguration, including US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In a speech after the ceremony, Mr Torrijos called for a referendum on projects to modernise the Panama Canal.
He also promised to investigate alleged human rights violations under the rule of his father, Omar Torrijos, and of Gen Manuel Noriega.
Mr Torrijos said a decision on the Panama Canal projects, which include widening the canal, was so important that only the Panamanian people could take it.
The new president is also committed to repairing relations with Cuba.
He takes office days after Cuba broke diplomatic relations because outgoing President Mireya Moscoso pardoned four Cuban exiles accused of trying to assassinate President Castro.
Venezuela recalled its ambassador in protest over the pardons.
Panama's new Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis told the BBC the government would work to re-establish ties with both countries.