Temas Especiales

23 de Oct de 2020


Military bases good for some

Opinions are strongly divided on what sort of welcome US military or naval bases would receive in Panama as part of the “war” on drugs. ...

Opinions are strongly divided on what sort of welcome US military or naval bases would receive in Panama as part of the “war” on drugs. Many with strong memories of the US invasion in 1989 are strongly opposed, but the business community seems to be largely in favor. Stores would benefit from an influx of well-paid military personnel, and their families, and realtors might get a boost in rentals.

For the general public it could lead to a rise in the price of the food basket.


After-dinner discussions among the expat population is increasingly focussed on the security problem. While some say the wave of killings is largely confined to areas where they rarely tread, there was an apprehensive shudder that ran through the community in Panama City when they heard about the shooting of a French tourist outside a trendy coffee bar in Casco Antiguo on the weekend.

He was doing nothing more than enjoying an evening meal when a drive-by shooting took place. He wasn’t the target, but wildly aimed guns don’t discriminate, as the bullets stuck in the restaurant door confirm.

An employee of the restaurant was also shot, and all was witnessed by the owner of the building, relaxing on a balcony above.

While the kidnap express surge doesn’t make the headlines, it still goes on, terrifying those who have had their vehicle jacked, and been taken the rounds of bank machines to extract money from the victim’s bank accounts and credit cards.

The experience is frightening, and those I have talked to who have suffered the assault have often been traumatized for weeks after.

Saying you can’t remember the access code is likely to lead to violence.

All of which must be worrying to those trying to sell or rent their apartments to foreigners. They just hope the sale can be clinched on a quiet crime day.

From the local populace, the failure of political promises to improve security has raised calls for the ousting of newly-appointed police chief Gustavo Perez who could become the fall guy.

It seems we are changing police chiefs more often than some politicos express shame.


And is seems that shame is missing in the treatment of victims of some of our worst disasters, the families of those who died of diethyline glycol poisoning, the burn victims of the bus fire that killed 18 and left others scarred for life, and those who died as the result of the helicopter crash in Calidonia. In comparison, the awards to Chilean nationals who died was high speed.


My brief reference in yesterday’s column to the upcoming on line and print news magazine in English, in Panama produced a quick flurry of requests for more information.

The publication will also be offering a service of daily e-mails with the latest Panamanian news.

Watch tomorrow for more details, but in the meantime. email news@newsroompanama.com to get connected.