The big disadvantage of Americans moving to Panama is that they, more than any other people, somehow can't resist bringing all their crazy politics and wacky cultural traits with them and expect everybody to care about those. If American corporations, in conjunction with their government, are out to turn the world into one globalized uniform marketplace, the American expat is their willing agent, their useful idiot who will happily pave the American way in foreign lands.
Broad brush? Sure. And rightfully so. It's about time we cracked some hard nuts on these pages.
To those from other countries, including the host countries, having to deal with the fall-out of this ruthless American expansionism is a nauseating experience at best. Last year, your author was asked, for example, by some American expatriates what he thought of their elections. Obama, the drone-war criminal who has journalists locked up, had just won a second term. While asking me the question, their faces turned into expectation, hoping for an enthusiastic response, as if they were sharing a happy event. I suppose they counted on me saying something like, "awesome!" (when gringos like something they always say it's awesome). Instead, I asked them what they thought of our elections in the Netherlands. Their faces turned to puzzled. They had no idea. But of course they assumed that everybody would know and admire the US electoral process. See my point?
Last time we checked, Americans, believe it or not, were not at all the biggest group of expats in Panama. Colombians are. But I have yet to see Colombians moving into gated beach communities to have a raging abortion debate and organize militias to protect the garden ornaments. No Colombian has ever asked me what I thought about "his" or "her" elections as if discussing some sort of sports event. They also generally know how to dress instead of moving around in these appalling Hawaiian shirts. On the other hand, Americans are the only people I know of who are constantly worried about others being anti-them. Ever heard a Colombian complain about "anti-Colombianism", or a Norwegian about "anti-Norwegianism"? No, me neither.
By far the worst political issue to be brought down to Panamanian latitudes by the gringo community is the gun issue and all the folkloric debate, paranoia, racism, gung-ho violence talk and bottomless ignorance that comes with it. Many, if not most, gringos coming to Panama behave as if they've been outplaced or offshored to hostile territory and now work for Blackwater. They act as if surrounded by enemies and al Qaeda terrorists all the time, and Panamanians as well as expats from other more level-headed cultures can only shake their heads in disbelief watching pot-bellied gringos in Hawaiian battle dress organize militias to prevent the savages from stealing their lawn mowers or garden furniture.
We had these examples in the so-called "Playa Community" on the Pacific coast; we saw gun runners give shooting lessons in the Chiriqui highlands of Volcan, we had an American cop with anger management issues kill someone he thought was a burglar in someone else's house, and among these insufferable people we regularly find individuals who adhere to that special kind of American freedom thinking where "freedom" is generally interpreted as the liberty to just take somebody else's money.
So far, the problem had been contained, more or less, to the Pacific beach area and the Chiriqui highlands. However, we just learned that the province of Bocas del Toro has now fallen as well to the relentless pursuit of the American gun jihad.
A US company called "Z7 Tactical" has apparently set up shop in Bocas. The logo vaguely hints at that of Hitler's SS. On their Facebook page, they describe their home defense business in true "war on terrorism" lingo:
Z7 Tactical's Bocas del Toro branch trains individuals to secure themselves, their loved ones and their property. Z7 utilizes both armed and unarmed tactics as well as home security assessments to equip clients for Bocas specific safety concerns.
Z7's base of operations in Bocas del Toro Panama hosts a variety of trainings [sic] (both armed and unarmed), seminars and home security assessments. Private as well as public courses are offered in a variety of locations including your own home.
The subject of Z7 offering these "trainings", which they appear to have borrowed from the NRA (American club that promotes gun nuttery among the population for its arms manufacturing sponsors) in Bocas then came up in a discussion on the page of another one of those folkloric gringo institutions, the Democrats Abroad (Democrats are people who believe that the US two party system was installed by God and is untouchable, and who therefore tolerate the war crimes of their political leaders without demanding impeachment or prosecutions. They have cells abroad to keep that great dream alive among American expatriates. They'll have heated debates about the question if people should have to register guns, but will never touch the subject of Obama having drones. They'll get very angry when one Zimmerman executes a black teenager without any due process, but support a black president who acts as prosecutor, judge and executioner in secret on a weekly basis, killing scores of people all over the world. That's what Democrats are).
And, surprise surprise, who turns out to be behind this Z7 outfit? Right. American militia types. Armed nuts who play vigilante police at the border in Arizona to catch Mexicans trying to move north. More specifically, we are talking about one Amelia Foxwell, who is of the somewhat infamous Florida Charter Oaks Militia. The wonderful world of US militias is, of course, prone to wacky conflicts and infighting, and there are, not surprisingly, reports out there that accuse Mrs. Foxwell of "ties" with neo-Nazis.
Needless to say that the loudest mouthed Democrat Abroad, Don Winner groupie Susan Guberman, immediately signed up for one of the militia "trainings" offered by Amelia Foxwell's Z7 outfit.
So, unfortunately your Bananama Republic, after ample consideration, sees itself now forced to issue a travel warning for the Bocas del Toro province. American militias have taken over there. Nobody is safe. The launch of the first expat militia drone is now only a matter of time.