La Prensa reports one, but sources close to the events say four five protesters have been killed and tens wounded by the police in Bocas del Toro. The protests, by banana plantation workers and other labor organizations, have been going on for days and are held against the infamous "chorizo law". Minister of the presidency Papademente is said to travel to Bocas, and the cabinet is currently holding an emergency session.
The exact law that the protests are held against gives the police immunity in case they commit crimes.
According to La Estrella, the police is trying to capture the entire leadership of labor union SUNTRACS, for "attacking the honor of president Martinelli".
Yesterday, a photographer for El Panama America was detained for 6 hours because he took pictures of policemen guarding the Canal expansion project. He was stripped naked, handcuffed, and locked up for hours with various people being held at the police station in Veracruz.
The strike at the Canal expansion project reveals that the law 30, better known as the "chorizo law", is being used by the labor unions to break open existing contracts and agreements. They argue that, if one contractual point is no longer valid, the whole contract needs to be renegotiated. This is a smart and effective tactic, because at projects like the Canal expansion the corporations can't change the protesting workforce overnight - not enough qualified workers are available.
Meanwhile, the authorities are distributing version three or four of an "explanation" for detaining La Prensa columnist and Spanish journalist Paco Gomez Nadal at the airport and prohibiting him from leaving the country. After first pointing at imaginary tax problems the scribent would have, then changing the narrative about him being able to leave or return, they now maintain that the journalist doesn't have a valid work permit.
Another journalist illegally detained by Martinelli's mafia, the 70 year old Carlos Nuñez, will reportedly be transferred to the Tinajitas prison. Sources close to the case told Bananama Republic that Nuñez needs heart surgery and should not be held at all.
Calls for our madman president Martinelli to resign are mounting, and we think it's only a matter of time before the word "overthrow" enters the vocabulary.
And thus he wants to travel to the World Cup Finals…
Flirting with Chavez and Correa on one hand, and brutally repressing organized pressure groups, seems a secure and effectuve recipe for a Disaster…
The climate is polarized, on one extreme, people claiming for a New Pinochet in Panama, on the other hand, a mini Caesar …
Woe to you Bananama Landos!
I wonder when the first Super99 goes up in flames. I believe people are really that angry.
This is the worst I have seen in 15 years, and usually Bocas people have been very docile. Thanks for the coverage and the links.
Panamanians are generally tolerant people. They have a certain adaptive resignation in the face of their ongoing government circus. To take government too seriously in Panama is to put one’s mental health at risk.
However, they have their limits. Martinelli is taking the madness far further than the usual government payasada. I think someone will torch a Super99, and it would be a very effective strategy. But I would fear Martinelli’s reaction to something like this. It could also accelerate the repression. After all, he has just killed 5 people because SUNTRACS has “disrespected” him. Wait until they attack his pride and joy!
This whole excuse of a violent reprisal to a “lack of respect “comes right out of a bad Hollywood mafia movie. Martinelli is a true thug or perhaps just a dangerous manic.
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If you kill one of my fellows I will go mad.
The police officers kill civilians – children included – however they don´t expect people to become angry????
It will be interesting, in a morbid sort of a way, to see if all the people who have been blocking the roads lately (PC, Sanitiago, Changuinola. Chiriqui Grande) will go to jail. First big test for Martinelli’s new policies.
I wish we would get more background – the national prensa is too diluted and simplified. The ultra right wing “background” from panama guide…well….that’s not cutting it for me.
Faustino, i dont know if I would say tolerant, I think I would say uninvolved/even uninterested. Maybe you need such extreme weirdness to wake up people and make them participate in THEIR democracy. Any news to what is happening to the 4 cops that have been taken hostage? I certainly would not want to be in their shoes
bad times for panama
I was in bocas till 3 weeks ago and at that time all seemed ok. I lived there for a year. I learned that the bocatorenos are calm people, for me sometimes, too calm. so its says a lot, that such things happen there.
Martinelli does what he want and the times of Noriega are not forgotten yet.
all that is a barrel of gunpowder
I hope there will be something done on international level but not like in 89.
People do something!
It’s a similar situation that’s going on in the States. The people are in denial of the actual present situation. I’m just here for a few weeks working on the oil spill in the gulf, and I am completely disgusted. The people here get their news from 2 different news agencies and both are owned by the biggest corporations in the world. They get completely falsified news and they believe it as if it were fact. Not all Americans are retarded their just lied to. The facts of what are actually happening in the gulf will make your head spin. But everybody is worried about lining their pockets with the BP payoffs and don’t give a shit about the environment. It sounds morbid, but I hope a class 6 hurricane wipes this place off the map, so the people wake the f*** up and realize what their “standard of living” costs the world around them. But for right now they’re either oblivious or just don’t care. It’s not all of us, there are people who care deeply about others and the world around them, we’re just the minority. I’m heading back to Panama soon, I can’t stand this place anymore.