Now YOU can be a Panama expert on crime too!

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You too can be a celebrated speaker at crime seminars!

So, how do you become an expert on crime in Panama for fun and profit? Easy. First, you buy yourself a klepto-suit. If you don't know what that is you haven't been here long enough but don't worry, just look at what our government people wear and you'll get the idea.

Then, you become a member of some professional branch organization. Any organization, as long as it has something to do with business. Amcham works, or APEDE, or whatever real estate hustlers council have you.

Then, you will get invited to seminars, conferences, forums and other such gatherings, usually in an upscale hotel conference room. Many of these events will be about "investment climate" and "opportunities" and so forth. The best ones are those that have been sponsored by the US embassy or USAID. Some of these will be about crime, and some of the (business)people participating will actually be crime bosses - but they're the good crime bosses (meaning that they're too big to fail) or they just steal from the crime bosses, like Rosendo Miranda on the right in the photo (former drug czar, kicked out when he became a cattle rustler after arresting owner of said cattle, now a regular guest and speaker at forums and here seated behind the same desk as the US ambassador to Panama).

Your participation in these events consists in solely and exclusively stating the obvious. Avoid at all cost saying something new or original, but stick with what everybody has been saying for decades. For example, you may want to note that "organized crime and corruption hamper foreign investment". Or you explain that "rising corruption, terrorism and organized crime contaminate the institutions of the state". You might elaborate a bit on how crime is "out of control" and how it "affects tourism". If you want to come across like a true visionary, you add that "this is not just a problem of the government, but of all sectors of society", and then you call for unity in fighting this evil.

This is more than enough to make you an expert on crime here in Panama, and you will be featured in la Prensa!

And then what happens? Well, after years of these seminars, usually some sort of Comprehensive Plan is agreed upon. These plans always cost tons of money and never work. See Mexico for a good example of this. So then there are more conferences and after a decade or two you'll arrive at the next comprehensive plan. By that time you'll be a regular guest at the debating shows on TV. And then they say Panama lacks opportunity!

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