Human Rights Watch demands investigation into Bocas abuses

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One of the many victims of police crimes in Bocas, shot in the face.

by Human Rights Watch

(Washington, DC) - The Government of Panama should ensure that a thorough and impartial investigation is conducted into possible abuses during violent confrontations between police and strikers from July 8 to 11, 2010, in Bocas del Toro province, Human Rights Watch said today. At least two people died and hundreds were injured.

In a report released on July 16, Panama's human rights ombudsman cited credible evidence that the police used excessive force against protesters. Local media reported that more than 100 protesters were injured and that at least 2, and perhaps as many as 10, died.

On July 21, President Ricardo Martinelli established an eight-member special commission to investigate. Yet government officials issued a "preliminary report" and made public statements the same day blaming the protesters for the clashes.

"Rather than trying to shift the blame, Panamanian authorities should ensure that those responsible for the abuses are brought to justice," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. "The special commission could help clarify what happened, but it is no substitute for criminal prosecutions."

On July 2, the Banana and Associated Industries Workers' Union called a national strike to protest a new law that would restrict trade union activities. On July 8, violence erupted in the Changuinola district of Bocas del Toro after police confronted protesters who were blocking roads. One protester died and others were injured in the resulting clashes, with more deaths and injuries on subsequent days. The violence ended on July 11, when representatives of the government, the union, and the Catholic Church signed an agreement to temporarily suspend controversial aspects of the new law. Continue reading at the HRW website, here.

TeleSur has more:

6 thoughts on “Human Rights Watch demands investigation into Bocas abuses

  1. As I stated before, this will not end here…
    RM activated a device which effects he has no idea of.-
    While “panameños” gently sleep…

  2. Okke,

    Keep showing this picture. No amount of whitewashing, PR or media manipulation can blunt the horror and cruelty shown in this picture. Is this only site or publication that has the guts and veracity to show this photo? I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

  3. I think it was in La Critica, the print edition. And you’re right, it’s difficult to ignore it, no matter what they say.

  4. This is becoming an old story as Maritnelli’s Government blames out side influences!

    A worthless stack deck commission, of pro Maritnelli’s Government Policies?

    Or a bunch who can be quickly bought off?

    Better yet be criticized and be discredited because of the bias they might harbor as the friends or fellow workers of the working poor here in Panama?

    Reporters there on the ground in Changuinola for the world Press Paint a very different story of an adversarial role of Police in planning and orchestrating the violence towards and against unarmed citizens of Changuinola.

    There was no Looting of houses, businesses, or stores by these demonstrators .

    The only Building attacked was the one the National police used to fire live ammunition down upon and into these demonstrators below!

    That was the only building attacked and subsequently destroyed buy fire(Ministry of Housing and Banco National).

    Just how did all these National Police arrive to Changuinola?

    Where supposedly all the roads where blocked miles from the town and imp***able by any type of vehicle, even the Airport was supposedly shut down (over 500 police in all where involved?)

    Who fire the first shots?

    Now apparently the head(Chief) of the National Police Gustavo Perez an EX PDF Officer who Held and Kidnapped US Citizens in 1989, a Neo-Nazi sympathizer with very Right wing Anti Proletarian Origination’s and Anti union views with death squad type views!

    Has now fully admitted that he ordered the use of Live Ammunition against the Panamanian peoples of Changuinola!

    Why did the Police shoot people in the faces with bird shot?

    Who or what group of the Government ordered the police to use lethal force?

    The head(Chief) of the National Police Gustavo Perez did, but he answers to Panama’s security minister, Jose Raul Mulino!

    Panama’s security minister, Jose Raul Mulino answers to Martinelli directly and is a member of the Martinelli Cabinet!

    So, who really ordered and was complacent with the use of deadly force against an unarmed populace?

    Why in Panama City when this same type of strike happen a few months ago on Ave. Balboa they did not use live ammunition against those strikers who use the same type of attack tactics, only they did used real lethal force(rocks, heavy steel plate, sharpen rebar spears, sacks of concrete, cement building blocks, fire bombs hurled from a multi story building under construction) against the police?

    As ever thing else here in Panama it will be covered up and over, then and swept so far away no one will know who did what until it is politically correct for them to assault their real or imaged adversaries and enemies!

    This is the First time since the PDF and the Dignity Battalions were disbanded that LIVE ammunition has been used against the people of Panama in a protest or strike.

    Too Many Panamanians remember the Dignity Battalions and the PDF atrocities.

    What a surprise when it was not the cake walk they the Government of Panama hoped for to destroy Unions or peoples of Changuinola!

    Now the Government of Panama has discovered this is not the Banana wars of 1901 t0 1911 in Central America(No US Marines to back them up this time)!

    The Government of Panama is about to use up it Political Capital it thinks it earn by being elected!

    Civil war is an easy thing to have happen, It is a harder thing to bring to a peaceful ending!

    Now with no movement for change in the National assembly over Law 30!

    What going to Happen when the 90 day crease fire is over?

    Do we really need this type of extreme government in Panama?

    That bends only wishes and desires of the the Corrupted, the Banks, the Drug Traffickers, the Money launderers, and the Multi-National corporations!

    When their sole(soul) purpose and need is rape and pillage the people and resources of Panama out of nothing more than pure GREED!

    “Panama where the numbers never add up”

  5. UPDATE: 01 Aug 2101

    Last night on Panamanian National TV, Security minister, Jose Raul Mulino admitted he authorized the used of lethal force and how it was used against the peoples of Panama.

    Security minister, Jose Raul Mulino stated the following:

    “If I have to suffer for my decision to use live ammunition, I do so with Personal Satisfaction”

    This is not the comments of a sane and rational leader?

    That is in charge of the Security of Panama?

    Panama is now headed to a point of no return!

    Maybe we should all consider a plan “B” and “C”?

    “Panama where the numbers never add up”

  6. Pingback: HREV presents report on Bocas, "We all voted for Martinelli for a better future, but we got a free ride to death" | Bananama Republic

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