Whose parade will the rain fall on?
Who would have thought that after over a year of listening to the talking heads mulling over Obama vs Clinton, and then Obama vs McCain,...
Who would have thought that after over a year of listening to the talking heads mulling over Obama vs Clinton, and then Obama vs McCain, with a side helping of Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, that Panama’s election campaign would become equally fascinating.
Our circus will be over a shorter time span and the economic crisis, which hit the American campaign in its final months is already at high tide and according to some forecasters, moving towards a tsunami.
One thing is certain, our election takes place at the start of the wet season and, for sure it will rain on their parade.
Although there are those who think that Panama will weather the storm better than most other countries, that’s a poor consolation if you are without a job or your business is on the rocks. It’s like saying our streets are safe, with the obvious riposte, “compared to where?”
Whoever takes over the reins of government will find that there are a lot of unhappy people on the isthmus, and street protests and demonstrations will be increasing. If the construction industry slows down, the SUNTRAC flags will be unfurled, and the strikes bedeviling the medical services will spread to other sectors.
With canal revenues and tax income down, the new government will have to make some tough decisions, and tough decisions often bring tough responses.
Those, on both sides of the political fence, claiming to love the people, may find it hard to get that love reciprocated.
FREE FALL. Is the governing party in free fall? Nothing seems to be going their way, from strikes in the health sector where masses of the workers are card carrying PRD members, to ongoing protests from pensioners and retirees. Construction projects are running behind schedule, the Canal is suffering from falling traffic, and shipping companies asking for a roll back in tolls that are supposed to pay for the expansion. There have been scandals galore from the deaths of citizens taking medicine provided by Social Security, to badly injured passengers in a bus inferno who have received no compensation.
The former Justice Minister has been investigated for a shooting death when he served under the dictatorship, and people whose claims against the government have been supported by international courts, are still waiting. And then there is the talk of a president who seems forever traveling, while things unravel at home. The party’s current presidential candidate, Balbina Herrera who has been a lifetime PRD politician, recently moved to the head of the line in getting compensation of over half a million dollars, over a land acquisition deal, not quite the news you want spread around among “the people” whose heart you claim to be. And then there is the Transmovil mess, the concrete Cinta Costera and the escalating crime rate. Not good stuff for a party elected on a zero corruption, transparency and security ticket.
To cap it all, there is infighting in the party, the most notable being between Panama City Mayor and Vice-Presidential Candidate, Juan Luis Navarro and President Martin Torrijos
The mood in the country at the moment, and reflected in the polls seems to be “Throw the bums out”. If they have made any progress, it is hidden in the fog and they will do well to note: ”The evil that men do lives after them.”
BOOMERANG. One effective ad in the Martinelli campaign talks about those who enter office with empty pockets, leaving as millionaires. We all know examples of that.
But gossips are now asking, “What about millionaires who get into office and come out billionaires?”