Temas Especiales

14 de May de 2021


Waking up to post election reality

Whew, it’s over. As the shouting dies, and the victors and their cronies drive around town with flags still waving, and the losers lick ...

Whew, it’s over. As the shouting dies, and the victors and their cronies drive around town with flags still waving, and the losers lick their wounds and check their bank balances, we can lean back and start to smell the roses again, after months of mud slinging that, according to most observers, has not been matched in anyone’s lifetime.

It certainly hasn’t been seen by one veteran voter, 91 year-old Julia Vega who first voted in 1941 when Domingo Diaz was elected president. That was also the first time that Panamanian women went to the polls. Late starters but they were out in strength on Sunday.

When the euphoria wears off, the winners, led by president elect Ricardo Martinelli will be faced with challenges larger than those presented to any president since the end of the dictatorship,

THE CANAL.The effects of the world wide recession are starting to be felt in many areas. Canal revenues are unlikely to meet predictions, as tolls rise and shipping lines start to send their ships around the capes, Only rising oil prices could reverse that trend, and prices are still falling.

REAL ESTATE. The real estate industry is in a downward spiral, particularly at the high end where speculators drove prices to an unsustainable level, Now the bubble has burst, leaving many speculators ready to walk away from their deposits as buildings get near completion and they are asked to ante up. Others who have paid inflated prices, for homes they actually want to live in, see their investment declining, but the debt staying the same, with mortgage interest rates rising.

SECURITY. The security issue gets more pressing by the day, and Panamanians , while not using a 100-day measuring stick like the US media, expect to see improvements, rather than failed promises as under the previous administration.

TRANSPORTATION. The failure of the Martin Torrijos Transmovil plan and the promises of a three year solution by Martinelli is another challenge, especially with falling revenues.

HEALTH CARE. The quality of government health care continues to decline with the amalgamation of health services up in the air. That will be a challenge for the man who has Director of Social Security once turned up at hospitals to check medical staff working hours. That produced a strong reaction from doctors.

Retirees have been promised bigger pensions, and that will be a tough one to avoid.

CORRUPTION. And then there’s that hardy annual of corruption.

To eliminate it or even reduce it would be the biggest contribution to democracy achieved by any government. Will botellas disappear? Will those who have been elected with empty pockets, find themselves enriched when they leave? Will any any high profile sinners ever go to jail? Only time will tell, and by then we will be into another election. Meanwhile get out and smell the roses.

LOOKING AHEAD. Among the fallen in the eection was former mayor J uan Carlos Navarro , from whom we heard remarkably little during the closing days of the campaign. Keeping his powder dry and his presidential hopes alive?