When the military took power in Honduras and installed a bloodthirsty regime, they were being cheered on by a number of North American expatriates in the country, led by an anonymous woman on her gardening blog. At one point, this character even called for the assassination of the US ambassador in Honduras - a threat that was only removed when others called for the US Secret Service to investigate. The threat, however, was only an illustration of the ultra right-wing and even fascist mindset of the crowd she was representing.
These expats will normally lecture anyone whom they feel gets too involved with the political affairs of their host country, explaining that, "we're only guests here". However, when events fit their agenda, this radically changes, and they start calling for assassinations, repression, implementation of a garrison state and always the persecution of workers, campesinos and authentic journalists.
In Panama these days it is no different. The lunatic fringe of the Republicans Abroad crowd and its sympathizers see the electoral victory of Ricardo Martinelli as the continuation of the Honduran Micheletti project; an ultra right-wing government, funded by its narco-interests, that pimps the country to corporate predators without any respect for human rights, freedom or democracy.
Cheerleader of this group is obviously Don Winner, who runs the Panama Guide website. Yesterday, he wrote about the police killing protesters:
And, at least one of the protesters has been killed - shot to death by the police - and there might be as many as four. Now of course everyone will blame the police officers, and not the union leaders who incited these people to violence in the first place. And that is exactly why the "line of duty" element was included in Law 30 as well. These guys are trying to do their jobs and follow orders in a chaotic riotous situation, outnumbered and fighting for their lives. They responded in kind to the use of deadly force with deadly force.
Winner then goes on to smear the indigenous people in Bocas as well as union leaders. Later, he falsely reported that two policemen who had been captured by activists had been shot - a blatant lie he only published to incite further hatred against protesters. His "analysis" also includes this gem:
Finally, there are other political elements at play with allegations that all of this is being backed, fomented, and incited by both domestic actors such as the PRD and international actors such as Hugo Chavez.
Of course, no right-wing diatribe would be complete without dragging Hugo Chavez onto the scene. The Chavez theme is also extremely popular on Sam Taliaferro's blog, which used to contain thoughtful posts about Panama but has recently deteriorated into Obama-birth-certificate craziness, racism, union bashing and other such goodies, and all the regular followers have run away as fast as they could while nutcases like one Harry Kirmon and a certain "Mike" have hijacked the comment section.
On Panama Forum, a Yahoo group for English speaking expatriates, an individual posting under the pseudonym "Greywolf" had the following to say about protesters being assassinated by the police:
And as I've said before, "A rock is a projectile that can kill or maim. You throw a rock at me and I have a gun, You Just Lost" PERIOD! It's your own damn fault!
Canadian serial fraud artist Monte Friesner - who doesn't read or speak Spanish and has trouble spelling English - joined the fray and had the following to say:
Majority of them were drunk and thought it was a party and yes they were throwing "sticks & stone" but some of the professional hecklers did have firearms loaded with bird shot.
However, all of this is having an affect on Panama business, especially tourism but we should not blame the government. The Unions want the Government to collect the union dues for them and the government should not be a "collection agency".
This is not for equality of the workers but rather for collection of money or the Unions. Read carefully on the bona fide news media.
And he added:
The striker that was killed was shot in the back with bird shot by one of the strikers themselves.
How do some of these bloggers sleep at night dreaming up all of these fabricated hog wash?
And so on.
Obviously, the demagoguery, spreading of demonstrable falsehoods and fascist propaganda doesn't go unnoticed in Panama, and those foreigners living here who do not adore the swastika become the victims of it. Susan Guberman Garcia, a retired American lawyer in Bocas, described how friends of her - foreigners - were stopped on the road by a machete waving crowd that didn't want to let them go.
Anti-foreigner violence is a logical consequence of those loud-mouthed lunatics disparaging the genuine struggles of the Panamanian people for a dignified existence, for freedom, justice and the environment. Because of the irresponsible bile these people post and publish, every foreigner runs a higher risk of becoming a victim of the hatred they spew. Just so you know who to blame, next time someone's waving a machete at you.