28 de Nov de 2022


Panama soap operas abound

Residents overlooking or near to the Cinta Costera (Coastal Strip) development are missing out on the summer breezes. Day and night home...

Residents overlooking or near to the Cinta Costera (Coastal Strip) development are missing out on the summer breezes. Day and night homes and businesses are getting the residue of dust clouds from hundreds of trucks dumping their loads, plus white gritty powder from the cement producing unit. A friend who operates a business producing cement blocks reminded me that his workers have to wear protective masks.

In the Avenida Balboa region, the toxic mix is blended with fumes from the black clouds pumped out by the trucks and diablos rojos, whose life seems eternal as the authorities dither about our future transportation system.

So keep the windows shut, forget the summer breezes, and put dust covers over your furniture. As the project is running two months behind it will last at least two months into the rainy season so we can look forward to a damping down of the dust clouds and to paying extra taxes for having endured the noise and dust and for the pleasure of being near a new super highway.

PANAMA’S FINEST. Passing the National Hospital yesterday I saw one of Panama’s finest (The National Police) stepping forward as a motorist attempted to park his car illegally. Enforcement at last? Alas no. The cop was playing bien cuidado (good citizen) and helping the driver park safely alongside the yellow line. Welcome to Panama. Where else in the world would you find such solicitude?

IN PASSING. Back on parade in a popular eatery where past and present political movers and shakers stoke up the calories, former Justice Minister DDD ( Daniel Diamante Delgado). He still maintains his military bearing, in spite of the weight on his shoulders of unresolved allegations of killing a soldier during his time in the Noriega military. But he was breakfasting a couple of hours later than his former early bird appearances, and no longer wearing a tie or jacket.

On his way out he was warmly greeted by “Fulele” Calvo, a former journalist, in the pay of Noriega who was jailed after the US invasion, and was alleged to have had ties to the notorious G2 intelligence gathering operation.

Calvo was soon joined by another restaurant regular, a former officer in the Noriega opposition group, who had served as a bodyguard to President Arnulfo Arias. Old opponents, current confreres, both living in comparative hard times.

THE EXODUS. As the residents of Bethania prepare to face the sights and sounds of Carnival on Transistmica, hundreds of others are preparing to leave town to escape the annual gyrations. The government manages to find $4 million dollars for the event which, judging by the amount of beer and liquor consumed and the number of free condoms that are distributed, is in some quarters closer to the orgy style celebration of the early carnivals of Europe. Meanwhile the purse holding money to refurbish collapsing schools in the city is nearly empty. Marie Antoinette might have had a phrase for the lack of educational funds: “Let them party.”

LIFE AND ART. The planning and organizing of the Carnival has also taken on the aura of a soap opera. Last year Bethania residents missed getting their permits allowing access to their homes, because the copy machine broke down. Complaints poured in, but when the former carnival president Minghtoy Giro, (involved in another soap opera about disappearing statues) was let go, the new one said there were no complaints. The office shredder was working fine. This year residents went to court to get the carnival moved to another location. The application was thrown out because the lawyer screwed up his presentation.

And what does 18-year-old Carnival Queen Viviana Atencio want to be when she grows up? A soap opera actress, She says: “I believe this is my chance to fulfill it.”