Dr. Miguel Antonio Bernal, the university professor and human rights activist who was a candidate for mayor of Panama City, said yesterday on TVN (video) that he fears for his own safety and that of his family and that he has reliable information that he is a target in the campaign of harassment and persecution the Martinelli government is running against civil society.
Bernal is not known for making unfounded allegations and is kept well-informed by a vast network of informants at all levels of government and the private sector.
Indeed the campaign by Martinelli et al to shut down any and all dissent appears to be steaming ahead at full force. Just days ago the Gestapo police raided the residence of union leader Dimitri Gutiérrez and took his computer. Gutiérrez stands accused by Mussolini the authorities of voicing "insulting and tendentious messages against the regime". Similarly, prosecutors adopted a bizarre defamation complaint against a critical foreign journalist as their own. Then, Minister of Labor Alma Cortés filed a criminal complaint for mismanagement of subsidies by various unions. And last but not least, Eisenmann alleged in his weekly column that the government is harassing businesses that are critical of its policies.
At the current rate, Panama will soon find itself on par with the deplorable human rights situation in Colombia.