45 thoughts on “Bocas next to fall in gringo militia craze

  1. Americans haven’t woken up to the fact that they are living in a theme park not a country. Everyone wants to be action hero. The trouble is that people get hurt when the kids have real guns…I hope these red neck toy soldiers don’t think they’ll get George Zimmerman forgiveness when they shoot their Panamanian Travon Martins.

    • Let’s get this right . NOT americans but Canadians are the ones that have been robbed, beaten and have been fighting back. We Americans can take care of ourselves.. I am female and would have noi problem using a gun on these scumbags either here, USa or anywhere else. Americans do not bitch and complain .. we take action.

      • “Americans do not bitch and complain…”

        Yeah you do.

        You’re doing it right now, complaining that your countrymen have been cast in an inaccurate light. Americans are very good at asserting themselves, not so good at self-awareness. Always got to be the loudest and most self-important presence in the room.

        “We take action…”

        Yeah, you invade small countries and kill people. Is that because the USA is so big and strong and fearless?

        How long are going to dine out on this outdated and rather obnoxious idea of American Exceptionalism? You have the second highest rate of obesity and the highest rate of pain killer addiction in the world. You may be descended from a race of rugged pioneers but you’re hardly cut from the same cloth.

        No self-awareness whatsoever, just blind allegiance to flag and nation. How very quaint in this age of international corporatism.

        • B.S.moan,

          How right you are. Only the American’s believe that they are free, brave and just. The rest of us know that they are poor souls living in their giant corporate sponsored theme park.

          FreedomlandiaTM…Our Amazing Park Features…. and please follow Rules and Regulations

          The freedom to eat whatever you want as long as it is made by Kraft, General Foods or one of our other sponsors and based on one of the approved Monsanto Frankencrops. No food from outside is permitted in the park. Possession of fruit and vegetables not under patent by Monsanto will result in automatic expulsion from park.

          The freedom of the press as long as it doesn’t breach the theme park manifesto and American Pioneer and Self Sufficiency Myth ©. Other heroic myths and chants by or corporate sponsors also copyright protected. (The We Won World War Two Myth under licence from General Dynamic Corp.)

          Freedom to defend the Freedomlandia but only against Park approved enemies, including but not limited to bearded Arabs (Saudi affiliates exempted), skinny black kids with bad grades, villagers who sit on buses next to insurgents, all clients and management of our competition: Northkorealandia.

          Freedom of Education.(Only guests with super deluxe all inclusive tickets)

          Freedom to access Health Care. Please bring old box tops and original food packaging from our sponsor companies to prove source of illness. Park customers can sign up to our Tyson Foods Eli Lily Lifecycle Plan:
          (patent pending). Enjoy or cradle to grave season tickets
          and our Klog and Klear arterial package(includes a lifetime of Krazy Kolesterol Hog Meat © and unlimited supplies of your choice of two of Eli Lily’s Cholesterol Busting Statins!!

      • How ignorant this lady really is. I can perceive, you are coming from a privileged position of ignorance. You can afford being ignorant, but not us, the local people, even the American sociologist and criminologist Elliot Currie points out that “Neoliberal societies have become Criminogenic” in that they destroy people’s livelihoods.”

        You, Expats, are destroying local people’s livelihoods by taking their beaches, and their land, with this land speculation. You are the agents of this Neoliberal agenda, so are helping to create a criminogenic society.

  2. Excelente articulo, lastima que quien mas lo necesita menos entiende, un muy buen espejo que pocos llegaran a ver la imagen reflejada.
    Y si vuelven a casa y le dejan de romper las pelotas al mundo???

    • Estoy de acuerdo con su posición, quienes más necesitan este información no entienden nada porque no saben inglés para nada. A pesar de que la constitución dice que inglés un nuestra segunda lengua, para aquellos como yo que nos hemos tomado el “tiempo y el esfuerzo personal de aprender la lengua, nos parece increíble que más panameños no tengan acceso a esta información tan relevante.

      La ignorancia ha sido el arma histórica utilizada por aquellos que pretenden perpetuarse en el poder…

  3. The article is slanted bunk and is not a true reading of the majority of Bocas expats. Too bad the author has the barrel of ink to spread his opinions. I bet you can find a small expatriated group from every country who doesn’t like where they have landed. Some people will never be happy. As for defense of ones self and family…prepare yourself until you are comfortable in your surroundings no matter the location.

    • The issue is that the Panamanian people, the run of the mill Panamanian, are just sick and ti8red of these so called ex-pats. The old but still alive chant of “Yankee go Home” is still valid. Go home and stay home. An empire that is already on its way down is dangerous because and ties with it, directly or indirectly, will bring everything down with it.

      Yes, Panama could use more dollars, but at what price? The money all goes to the rich and corrupt and the people do not benefit at all from these biped implume who bring their arrogance and stupidity everywhere they go. The statistics are generally clear. The more “stupid gringos” coming to Panama to establish themselves as Lords of the jungle or better, Lords of the concrete jungle are exactly as syphilis: you have fun, but you never know that that you have been exposed to the agent. Finally, you start loosing your mind and end your days on this Earth crazier than the man who shot Liberty Valance.

      Again, Yankee go Home.

  4. Where is Don the wanker and his shag buddy clyde who will surely be there to stir up, fan the fire of discontent & hate by encouraging supporting these ill-informed, culturally illiterate groups who see a Panamanian lowlife around and behind every tree, every bush, looking into their unsecured houses, and apartment! Lying in wait to robe steal, rape, and pillaged these poor Gringo’s and Expats who view Panama as their personal paradise for exploitation of the cheap labor and lifestyle they could only dream about in their own countries!!

  5. I think you are having way too much fun! Isn’t the Earth the biggest amusement park in the world? WOW! What a game we’re all playing… Just lighten up — don’t get too serious about your game of life!

  6. Well written and entertaining as usual, but these people are definitely not representative of the majority of expats in Bocas. They are new, and probably wont last long anyway. There are a few that talk a lot of shit, like to rile up the rest of us, but they are a bunch of inoffensive drunks that could not find their way out of a paper bag. Then there are the idiots who are too happy to hang out with other drunks and druggies, only to gasp later when their principal form of entertainment (with photos of all of them having a grand old time to prove it) turns out to be Wild Bill. Somewhat pathetic. But no, Bocas has not turned into a militia zone.
    Having said that, there would be nothing wrong with self defense courses. Some nice and normal people have been attacked. Example, two on a sail boat, while minding their own business. Wife brutally beaten and raped. Just recently this young woman barely escaped a rape attack in her own home. So some sort of self defense training can be justified. This is not all about stolen lawnmowers and lawn ornaments….or about neo nazis.

  7. I found the expats in Bocas to be rather insular and self-congratulatory. Most of them are harmless, but they also seem to be in denial of the dismal realities of life, as much as they are about the impacts of land speculation, or the effects of uncontrolled residential tourism. I was shocked and disgusted by the living conditions of the thousand or so economic migrants struggling to survive in the precarious shanties out by the airport, all safely tucked away from view of the tourists – out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. Now as the bearers of economic power, the expats in Bocas should decide whether they want to live in an inclusive and up-lifting community, or some sort of colonial-style enclave. If it’s the latter, they shouldn’t be surprised to find their ‘slice of paradise’ riven by resentments.

    As it was, given everything that has gone to pass in Bocas since the 90s, I found the locals to be extremely tolerant and hospitable. I met one family living in a half-built shack in La Solucion, their structure open to the elements because they couldn’t afford four walls. He worked as a night guard in a hotel, she as a receptionist. They had nothing bad whatsoever to say about tourism, rather accepted their lot as poor Indian folk. I thought this was extremely gracious on their part, and I was humbled.

    Undoubtedly, there are some gringos and other expats doing excellent work in Bocas: the Beso foundation and floating doctors spring to mind. On the whole, however, I was disappointed with the scene, and frankly infuriated by what appeared to be the self-serving complacency of the majority. In my experience, Bocas is a selfish, self-indulgent place that is fast giving way to deep divisions. The expat community might want to ask itself why its most decent members are now taking leave.

    I should add that Bocas’s reputation as an enclave for fugitives and unsavory types is entirely founded, and that a small minority are indeed quite dangerous. Others are just sleazy. Others yet are given to quite open and revolting bouts of racism (which aren’t challenged nearly enough). I will never forget the gringo who lectured me about Indian affairs, his comments are too vile to repeat here.

    I am not being critical for its own sake, rather I feel Bocas is rather special, culturally and ecologically, and it deserves a lot better. That goes for the mayor, as much as it does the gringos. I also feel placed to make these comments because I have contributed a good deal to the promotion of tourism on the islands, (in the case of some businesses, a lot more than I should have). I also spent three months living in Changuinola, for the express purposes of understanding the province as a whole. I found it rather grungy and unattractive, but basically friendly and decent, and rather refreshing in a lot of ways.

    • “self-serving complacency” is an ill of any developed country and I might add an even bigger problem with the Panamanian Elite. If anyone truly cares about Bocas being special, culturally and ecologically, then they should stay….

      • Agreed, complacency is the norm in most places, and the Panamanian elite are certainly despicable. I don’t blame anyone for leaving Bocas. Staying to watch its transformation is a heart-breaking proposition.

    • As a Panamanian woman, I truly appreciate your compassion understanding when addressing this Panamanian reality. The lack of social awareness of those poor local people is depressing, due to their low level of literacy attainment, as a result, they are totally unaware of the outside world and don’t understand the depredatory nature of this Capitalist System.

      I have never ever been to Bocas del Toro in my life, and will certainly never ever go, moreover, after having read that you have said here.

      The incredible thing here is that professional people have likewise become callous, and don’t speak openly about all these situation of this invasion of English speaking expats, and all this land speculation…

      • You should go and see Bocas before they ruin it. It is still a very beautiful place. As a Panamanian, it belongs to you more than the foreigners. And if you don’t want to be near the tourists, there are lots of wild, natural places – rainforests, beaches, coral reefs etc.

        The town is lame, not so interesting.

        Regarding the economy, there are lots of Panamanian-owned businesses that will appreciate your custom – local guides, restaurants, hotels. There are also community-run projects where the money goes straight to the community – Ngabe chocolate farms, turtle conservation groups etc. And there are even some gringo places that have the right idea – google Bocas Sustainable Tourism Alliance.

        It’s not all bad in Bocas, but it’s changing.

        • Dear Exiled Brit:
          I personally have a very dissident position regarding the “tourist industry” http://www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/overcoming.htm .

          I have had the opportunity to be in other Latin American countries and have witnessed, first hand, what “tourism is all about” in an underdeveloped and colonized country. I have never ever seen local people really benefited from the tourist industry that operates in those countries. The local are excluded from the expensive hotels, restaurants and shops built around them, if you read the link I attacked here, you will understand my position. The local rich get richer by promoting tourism, and those agents of this evil empire laugh at the abject poverty around. I forever appose tourism developed in places like Bocas…I just don’t trust those good intentions of those “Expats” or gringos at all. Many of them are even racist, and don’t like their own people, I mean, their own local poor, that is why many of them hate the tax system of their countries, and come to tax havens, where they can get something for nothing, benefiting from this land speculation while decrying the local bronzed people for their lack of work ethic.

          Thanks for your suggestion, but as a Panamanian woman, I feel demoted visiting those Expat’s enclaves that pretend to perpetrate a chimerical paradise while impoverishing people around…
          I just don’t digest that “Expat Term” at all, to me they are all escapees and immigrants http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/09/british-abroad-expats-immigrants-indians

          As far as I understand, the Spanish Empire collapsed more the 300 hundred years ago, and the British Empire collapsed after the Second World War.

          I cannot stand all this hypocrisy, in reality these people called “Expats” are taking advantage of the Panamanian economy which is based on exploitation and racism. So they don’t want people around to be informed and well educated because as Upton Sinclair put it succinctly:

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”.

          No, I will never ever go to this “colonial style enclave.”

  8. Pingback: Z7 militia type advises torture of Bocas theft suspects | Bananama Republic

  9. They are violating the local laws. They are using war weapons, they are just arrogant thugs whose only destination is jail or death if they resist abide our laws. Their customs are not welcome here and we are not going to tolerate it. For your sake you better deliver those weapons or will be in our country.

  10. “communities to have a raging abortion debate and organize militias to protect the garden ornaments”

    You truly exposed your satanic genocidal mind in that comment filled with your frothing hate of people who want to protect their lives from violent criminals. You also expose your murderous wishes upon preborn babies which now everyone reading your filthy mind’s ramblings should now fully understand.

    The Americans who believe in self defence who are moving to Panama are the types who do NOT believe in drones and all your Marxist Obama police state bullshit. You are such a shameless liar on top of being a genocidal mind.

  11. Can’t believe what I am reading….you know the saying by everyone else in the world except Americans…”.Leave it to the Americans to do the right thing….after they have tried everything else “.

      • More accurately, your filthy and satanic and genocidal mind. Jajajaja.

        This is the best description I’ve ever read on the hypocrisy of democrats:

        “Democrats are people who believe that the US two party system was installed by God and is untouchable, and who therefore tolerate the war crimes of their political leaders without demanding impeachment or prosecutions. They have cells abroad to keep that great dream alive among American expatriates. They’ll have heated debates about the question if people should have to register guns, but will never touch the subject of Obama having drones. They’ll get very angry when one Zimmerman executes a black teenager without any due process, but support a black president who acts as prosecutor, judge and executioner in secret on a weekly basis, killing scores of people all over the world. That’s what Democrats are”

        They’re all for gun control but they don’t mind their leader executing people on his secret kill list, and whoever else happens to be in the vicinity, with his robot planes from the sky while they sleep.
        They’re all for civil rights, yet keep prisoners in Guantanamo locked up for years with no charges.
        They’ve turned the so called freest country in the world into an Orwellian police state that reads everyone’s emails and records their phone calls, executes people without due process with robots, jails people without charges, tortures people on rendition flights. Their beloved civil rights and constituion has been shat all over. And they love it!
        Now they want to bring their “culture” here? I have to agree with Chifundo, Yanqui go home!

        • @Police State

          Genocidal Mind of Okke. Are you referring to the Clog Massacre of 1983 when hordes of Dutch citizens riding there bikes stormed into Belgium and beat thousands of Belgians to death with their ceremonial clogs? I was there but I didn´t see Okke.

          • Well, you KNOW there are squads of Dutch canal vaulters hiding in the woods by the banks of the Panama Canal as you read these words….

          • If the dirty Dutch canal vaulters try to mess with the canal, the Z7 team will surely swoop in and shoot them then torture the survivors to obtain the secret cheese recipes.

  12. An Empire in decline is forever worrying, especially for those Satellite States like Panama. Of course, American Corporations and the US government want both to transform the whole world into a big market place, and a good example if these evil intentions, one has to only see at those MCschools that have been opening and operating in the country during the last years, promoting ideologies and not research with their imperialistic ideas like “the sooner the better” when learning a second language, or the “native like accent” when hiring native teachers of the English language, excluding Panamanian teachers even though they may be qualified. All this linguistic imperialism is outrageous http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_imperialism , and puts in evidence the low level of intellectual debate that we have in the country regarding all these important issues. The market based approach that is prevalent in the private sector is offensive, in view of the fact that teachers have been stripped from job`s protections, protections they have barely had in the private sector, not to mention collective bargain, a right teachers have never really enjoyed here. This invasion of right wing racist English speaking expats is bringing much more inequalities, inequalities we have never been able to overcome in the country, after all, Panamanian economy is simply based on exploitation and racism, and this situation of this new comers is just bringing much more into life what we already have had to endure for living in a place like this, an American satellite state…

  13. ‘I personally have a very dissident position regarding the “tourist industry”’

    Jehovanna Arcia,

    I agree with you to an extent, but not entirely. There are far greater than evils than tourism.

    I have travelled all over Mexico and Central America and seen tourism in all its forms, from Acapulco to Cancun. I have visited hundreds of villages, towns, cities, and so-called ‘hot spots’. I’ve spoken with literally thousands of hoteliers, restauranteurs, and tourist operators. I’ve seen the whole spectrum of outfits.

    Mass tourism, in my experience, is a destructive and unwelcome influence. It’s ugly, charmless, and idiotic. But there are also useful and highly beneficial forms of tourism, if only you keep an open mind about it. It really depends on:

    a) What kind of tourism
    b) Who is in control of it.

    Consider the visitors who come to Panama with an open mind and a curiosity about your country, its history, culture, and wildlife. Is it really in your interests to dismiss them as ‘vulgar tourists’?

    Bird-watchers, for example, are an excellent type of tourist. They tend to be educated, sensible, environmentally-aware, usually middle aged or older (so partying isn’t the priority), and professional. They have lots of money and they’re happy to spend it as long as they get a glimpse of the bird-life. I don’t see any negative impacts in this. In fact, a lot of the eco-lodges / wilderness hotels that serve their needs are extremely ethical and make real contributions to environmental protection. I can give you many examples of this, Los Quetzales in Cerro Punta is one.

    Elsewhere, one of the most interesting developments in Central America is community tourism. This does NOT mean going to a community with a tour guide and snapping photos of the indigenous people. On the contrary, the entire project is managed by the community as a co-operative, with all profits and proceeds going straight to the people who need it. Visitors go to these projects with an interest in the culture, stay with a host family, enjoy some cultural interchange, visit a few natural attractions, have a unique and interesting experience, and go home with some memories and artesanias. These kinds of projects are everywhere in Panama, including the Comarca, and whilst they’re not suitable for every community, many are deriving real benefits from them. Again, the point is control and autonomy.

    For example, in Bocas:


    Anyway, I hear your point about expats, of course the word is racially loaded, and British expats in Spain are ridiculous and embarrassing. The British are a very pompous people, you understand.

    Meanwhile, I really don’t understand your unwillingness to visit a certain part of your own country due to the presence of foreigners. Panama has a long and historic relationship with foreign-run enterprises – the Canal Zone, the city of Colon (built by a US railroad company), coffee plantations in Boquete, oil ports like Armuelles and Chiriqui Grande, and banana towns like Changuinola, Sixaola, and Almirante. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but wealthy foreign immigrants are hardly anything new in Panama. If you don’t want to see Bocas as a tourist, go as an investigator, talk to your fellow people – Panamanians still make up three quarters of the population there.

    • In Response to Exiled Brit:
      Mass tourism is atrocious and corrupt in underdeveloped and colonized countries, where local people are out priced from many of the business establishments, not only as costumers, but also as entrepreneurs, firstly given the fact that many outfits that were usually catering native costumers are suddenly gentrified, and then increasing not only the products offered but also the rents, making difficult for local people to even consider opening a business, given the high prices in rent that have to be paid monthly in any descent building. On the other hand, one has to look at the environmental destruction and the temporary “jobs” the tourist industry creates, leading to a deskilling of many jobs, favoring corporations and big companies, as it is the case of the food industry. I have never seen a Jamie Oliver here, sharing his time, knowledge, and enterprise to young people who would one day like to be “chefs” and run their own restaurants, but instead I see foreign chefs hired to work in the industry creating resentment into the community.

      Yes, the kind of tourism, and who is in control of it is the key to consider the possibility to lead an area like “Bocas” toward the tourist industry. The sole introduction of the concept of “Residential Tourism” is hypocritical, considering the abject poverty of the area, and the absence of social mobility people living in the area has, due to the lack of public libraries, good public transportation, and a national agenda to promote mobility.
      Without background knowledge, some real respect, and compassionate understanding of the places to be visited, tourism simply cheapens the places by providing vulgar entertainment to the putative wealthy people arriving.

      I know the case of a lady from an European country who went to one of those community projects run by Indigenous people in San Blas, and she complained about the “quality of the services offered,” , she lacks any compassionate understanding and does not respect the poverty and deprivation historically suffered by those people in the hands of these colonized country.

      And again, when dealing with any tourist industry the real issue, as you have mentioned, is control and autonomy, but I was unaware of those initiatives you have now brought to my attention. I will try to make my own research in the near future.

      The word “Expat” is not only racially loaded, but it is historically outmoded. We don’t want to be colonized again, we don’t want masters anymore, we don’t want to be cheap labor either, even though it is all but inevitable to escape history, at least, I think some Panamanians like myself, who are aware of these terminologies and have knowledge of the historical implications of using these kind of “words” racially loaded, would like to see more honesty and respect when addressing topics like “security and safety issues” in Bocas and the beach areas.

      Panama has a long historic relationship with foreign run enterprises, where local people are absolutely squeezed out of the economy, this is the humiliating reality Panamanian people have endured for years, and those, who have managed to escape Panama and its economic system of exploitation and racism, are invariably faring much better.

      Yes,, I have noticed how pompous British people are, but this trait of the Brit does not bother me at all. I must not be easy to be coming from such a country with that impressive history of invasions and conquers, maybe because of that it is not easy for many of them to learn Spanish. What can Spanish teach them that they already don’t know?

      I will definitely contemplate the possibility to go to Bocas Del Toro in the future, not as a tourist, but as an investigator, in spite of my complete opposition to this “Colonial- Style- Enclave you have previously described…

    • Without having gone to Bocas never ever in my life, I still oppose tourism altogether. I feel that Residential Tourism is a kind of a Neo Colonialism, and it can possibly have oxymoronic effects, due to the type of undesirable individuals that Panama has always attracted, of course, there may be well meaning individuals, but that self service attitude is just possible in homo economic individuals who are just looking at their own interest, and self complacency…


      It would be depressing for me to go to Bocas…I have decided to never make the trip…

      • Most people are self-interested these days, that’s capitalism. Panama City is the worst in that respect.

        ‘Too depressing’ is a lame excuse I hear from people all the time, especially with regards to the collective mess we’re in. They don’t want to look at it, don’t want to think about it. Anything to make them feel better.

        Who cares if it’s depressing? Either you want the reality or you want the illusion. Avoidance is just another form of self-interest.

        • Yes, Panama City is a horrible place to be, it is designed to produce self-serving and self centered individuals with the assistance of the private schools sector and universities. Private educational enterprises are spheres that create individuals who are depoliticized, so the system is in reality creating people with civil illiteracy. Even in places where social consciousness must be promoted, I could witness how students at university level learn to cheat and backstab, so they can, one day, climb the ladder…

          In Panama City everything is just about money…Of course, I doubt that Bocas could ever be worse than what the City of Panama is…

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