Maybe you missed it, dear reader, but with the new government in place, Panama is finally making the giant leap forward that we've all been waiting for. A cultural revolution is on its way.
First, the National Institute for Culture and the municipality took determined action against the unregulated and dangerous murals that adorn certain buildings in Casco Viejo. That is, one building in particular - the popular restaurant Manolo Caracol - which featured two mermaids by Panamanian painter Rolo de Sedas.
The official reason was that under the code that regulates the special status of Casco Viejo, you can not paint signs or stuff on walls. We suspected that it had something to do with the barely covered breasts of the mermaids. But then, on Facebook, a fresh culture apparatchik from the municipality, Alexandra Schjelderup, explained that it's all part of José Blandón's grand plan to establish ORDER in our capital. And the UNESCO list.
El alcalde ya ha dicho que se va a poner orden en ese tema de toma de aceras y espacios publicos... INAC no puede responer por los atropellos pasados pero si por los que ocurren de ahora en adelante. El tema es no perder la declaratoria de patrimonio en este preciso momento que es cuando se esta negociando con UNESCO.
(....) creo que debes entender las ventajas y restricciones de una declaratoria de Patrimonio, mas estando al lado del Teatro Nacional... que se haya vulnerado esa regulatoria de Patrimonio en el gobierno de los locos/ladrones no significa que el INAC lo siga haciendo, mas cuando en estos momentos se decide si seguimos en el listado de patrimonio o no.
Of course nobody from UNESCO ever complained about the mermaids, and other painted things on walls in the ever more gentrified neighborhood were left alone by the new Panamanian art police. UNESCO, as our readers will remember, complained about a highway around Casco Viejo, not about murals. Murals are very much part of Latin American culture, but the Panamanian barbarians would be capable of removing Diego Rivera's work if they had the chance.
Anyway, to our great relief we have now learned that the municipality is about to make up for its retarded actions. We're getting Disney!
Our favorite advertising rag, el Visitante, informed us that Christmas, the parade, and everything around it will be Disney-themed. To further push Panamanian culture forward, we also learned that December 8th, on the Day of the Immaculate Conception, which is in Panama better known as Mothers' Day, the Panamanian National Symphony Orchestra will give a free concert on the Cinta Costera, playing popular Disney tunes. This only costs Panamanian tax payers $250,000 - a bargain considering that someone, somewhere is getting a kickback from all this Disney business.
No doubt one or two songs from the Disney classic The Little Mermaid will be performed as well by the Panamanian Philharmonic. And so our beloved Panamanian authorities guide us and teach us, dear reader, so that we learn: Mermaids on walls are bad. Mermaids from Disney are proper Panamanian culture. And if you listen carefully, you may hear the mermaids from Rolo de Sedas singing from the neighboring sea where they returned after INAC painted them over:
What would I give
To live where you are?
What would I pay
To stay here beside you?
What would I do to see you
Smiling at me?