Expanding on our previous post, (see also: "Who are the real maleantes de mierda?") it seems that the coherence of the government is rapidly deteriorating under ongoing pressure from SUNTRACS protests in the streets against Martinelli's pandilla stealing from the poor and the middle class to aid the rich in Panama. Several factors are contributing to this:
1. The legitimacy of the police as a force to maintain law and order - already questionable because of widespread corruption - is further undermined by the fact that this police is headed by a war criminal and Martinelli refuses to do anything about it. What's more, the file about the disciplinary action previously taken against Gustavo Perez has supposedly "disappeared" (and everyone who knew about it transferred to Colón), even though former police chief Ebrahim Asvat assured us that it does exist. As a result, the police can only win by applying brute force, which results in violence of today and will only gain them a temporary victory at best. Nobody will be impressed by Perez denouncing violence and damages, because as a former Noriega thug he doesn't have the moral standing to complain, the police started the violence and these battles are fought in the moral sphere. Expect SUNTRACS to come back better equipped and loose groups of protesters/gangs to join in more clashes:
2. More or less the same applies to the judiciary. Martinelli's interventions in the Supreme Court and the Public Ministry have further eroded already minimal respect among Panamanians for these institutions. Minister Raul Mulino is totally unfit for the job, blurting out one stupid statement after the other, and his advisor appears to be soliciting bribes for early releases of prisoners, La Prensa reported today (does anyone actually still believe this whole "cambio" thing?).
3. Overall lack of clear strategy. There is no comprehensive policy on crime, nor on rampant corruption, nor on the economy other than to raise taxes. While Martinelli buys helicopters and builds naval bases, the crime-ridden neighborhoods of the capital are further deteriorating right under his nose, unrelated to the much hyped threat of drug trafficking, and he doesn't seem to care - other than seeing it as an opportunity to start a debate about the death penalty. His recent call for "unity" is another sign of weakness: Apparently his government coalition isn't strong enough to actually govern in any meaningful way.
So, with Martinelli & Co undermining their own legitimacy as a government, how can civil society exploit this to attain its goals?