In case you missed it: Lybian dictator Gaddafi just today blamed "outside agitators" for feeding the youth of Libya drugs and setting them up against his dictatorship. Also guilty of the - for him - unfortunate turn of events in Libya are the media. Egyptian ruler Mubarak just weeks ago made similar comments, and before him Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and before him - it is, in short, what dictators and rogue political figures always say when the people protest.
Here in Panama things are no different. Our minister of the presidency, former Karl Rove employee Jimmy Papadimitriu (who himself holds dual nationality and is thus in a way a foreigner) complained on RPC radio that the protests against the recently adopted mining law are due to outsiders telling lies to those ignorant indians. Subsequently, Minister Roxana Mendez ordered all foreigners out of the Ngöbe Bugle comarca (reservation), supposedly to maintain peace and tranquility.
Such paranoia and xenophobia is common in Panama, and in the case of our government it includes racism and discrimination against our indigenous peoples.
As Eric Jackson reported, Martinelli and his band of thugs had a bit of trouble getting Ngöbe leaders in place that would blindly facilitate their plans to sell part of the comarca to South Korean mining giants. But if you are a corrupt supermarket tycoon-turned-president, the solution is simple: You just buy an indian chieftain. And so it came to be that we saw this picture published by the Presidencia of ministers Roxana Mendez and Roberto Henriquez committing fraud.
Fraud? Yes. Martinelli's appointing of some bribed Ngöbe - Rogelio Moreno - is against the law, the guy isn't even of the legal age to be a Ngöbe chief, it's a violation of every election law on the book and thus, logically, the government can't legally enter into any kind of agreement - supposedly to end the protests against the mining sell-out - with this character without committing fraud.
Needless to say, the people of the Ngöbe Buglé tribe have given this fake agreement a status somewhere below that of toilet paper and continue to protest.