It is impossible to get the exact numbers of deaths from Bocas after the clashes between protesters with the police in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro. Eyewitnesses talk about 3 children and one 25 year old man, others have numbers as high as 6 or 7.
Minister of the presidency Papadimitriu and minister of labor Cortés hurriedly traveled to Bocas in an attempt to reach an agreement with labor leaders, but that effort seems to have gone nowhere. Just minutes after Cortés declared that the situation had been calmed, new riots broke out. The Global Bank building (which houses the ministry of health as well) was set on fire.
Meanwhile, the various ministers, true to form, showed their bottomless groceria again by saying that one child "just died of dehydration" (Papademente) and even that the one death was "caused by a case of PRD flu" instead of being killed by the police (Franklin Vergara, minister of health).
Meanwhile, president Martinelli had to cancel his date with Silvio Berlusconi to visit the final of the World Cup soccer, and gave a rambling statement that was posted on YouTube:
Blaming the riots on "misinformation" is a weak defense because he implicitly admits that he hasn't been able to communicate his policies, but the things he says that are not in the law are much easier to accomplish for corporations because of this law - which Martinelli of course ignores. Furthermore, the protests are against the "chorizo law" specifically but against this government's authoritarian right-wing rule and ongoing attacks on civil rights in general as well. For example, the teachers unions have now joined the protests and even the Catholic church is worried about social upheaval.
Meanwhile, the government has imposed a curfew, and the University of Panama has been closed all over the country.
Activists are extremely worried about more police forces being brought to the area, while at the same time the indigenous Ngöbe Bugle and the Naso tribe are moving to the area to join the protests against the government. "They [the government] are preparing for a massacre", said one observer, and indeed that's what this "the police will take control" appears to be heading towards.
We predict however that the protests will not be contained, but spread over the country, because Martinelli has been majestically overplaying his hand and he and his people don't seem to be handicapped by such things as "common sense". Yesterday, between 41 and 70 workers were fired from the Canal expansion project where there has been a strike as well, and this will certainly spark more demonstrations. It's no longer if, but when the first Super99 will go up in flames.
And the urban middle class totally disconnected from reality and manipulated by mainstream media…
They have the gov´t they deserve…
It’s been apparent for almost a year now that this is the direction that this was taking. This man has the intention of setting himself up as the next tin-horn dictator in the Bananama Republic. As the police move in “to restore order”, you can bet that there will be an accompanying declaration of martial law. It is so out of control there now that it seems almost inevitable that this is the destination of these lunatic actions. Why else would you kill one of your own people in Bocas who had helped carry the province for you? I weep for my country.
god, as it gets closer and closer to my wife’s retirement date, it is looking less and less inviting to come home.