We always thought the Noriegistas of the PRD would bring back the military to Panama. Wrong! Martinelli and his gang are the ones to do it. Panama goes to war. One shoot-out after the other in the Darien province.
First we had this "armed confrontation" between border patrols and FARC guerrillas. Three insurgents were killed near Boca de Cupe while traveling on the river in a launch. The police says they refused to stop. The FARC says that the Panamanians are doing joint operations with the Colombians, and even under their command. Apparently the Panamanians have also been distributing leaflets putting prices on the heads of guerrilla leaders. Eric Jackson says that US mercenaries are operating in the border area.
Today, pro-Martinelli newspaper La Estrella lifts another tip of the veil. There has been, they report, another armed confrontation near Monkey Island (close to the border), when the Panama Navy tried to intercept three lanchas. The version presented is that the people on the lanchas opened fire, wounding one policeman and damaging the police boat. Then they escaped. And that's where it gets interesting: La Estrella then claims that the Panama Air Force started a search with one helicopter and the flying shoe box they own, aided by an American P3 Orion which is assisting Panama in the border area. Are US Air Force planes operating in Panama? Under what treaty?
But that's not all. La Estrella, in the same story, also tells us that 93 agents of the AeroNaval service just returned from a training course in Colombia by the army there. The paper runs a picture of the returning men with the caption "Soldados panameños recibieron entrenamiento en Colombia".
Wait a minute. Panama's constitution forbids the country to have an army. So how can we have soldiers?
And, did these soldiers indeed get training from the Colombian army which, as we speak, is in a lot of hot water (getting hotter by the day) over massive murders of innocents who were subsequently dressed up as FARC guerrillas so that they could claim successes in the war against the insurgents - the so-called False Positives scandal?
Is this the way our country is heading? Were the three victims, who have still not been identified, of the earlier shoot-out in the Darien maybe false positives too?
(See also: Panama enters Colombian war)