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14 July 1789, Paris… 14 July 2010, Panama

14 July 2010

I’ve been following, with growing alarm, the deteriorating situation in Panama — another Latin American nation that attracts more than its share of riff-raff scattered through the expat community.   Alas, the riff-raff seem to dominate the on-line information coming out of that country, with the exception of Okke Ornstein’s “Bananama Republic”.

What Okke is calling the “sausage law” is basically a combination of a Panamanian version of the U.S. PATRIOT Act (basically criminalizing whatever the state decides is criminal) with anti-labor provisions designed to attract the riffier and raffier of foreign investors (we don’t need no stinkin’ unions).  Heavy-handed enforcement by the riff-raff that run the country is being strongly resisted and violence has already broken out.

It’s  much harder to whisk away dissidents to the Bastille in the dead of night in the days of video cameras and the Internet than it was in 1789, but the Panamanians may be having their own Bastille Day… today, or very, very soon.

I’ve been wondering if Panama (a U.S. ally and arguably a legitimate strategic interest of the United States) isn’t the real target of the “humanitarian” concern of the U.S. Marines being sent to Costa Rica.  It wouldn’t be “humane” for the Panamanians to throw out their government “of the gangsters, by the gangsters, for the gangsters” and practice a little “liberty, equality, fraternity”.

What’s going to make this interesting is that the best-case scenario is going to be a “constitutional coup” (President Martinelli will be forced to resign, by any means necessary and someone  possibly the slightly less crooked who will be sold as a plausible replacement).  The U.S. government (and their right-wing cheerleaders at home and abroad) are going to have a hard time changing the twisted logic they used to defend the Honduran coup to fit what’s going to happen in Panama.  Today, or…?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Eugenia permalink
    14 July 2010 2:31 pm

    From Panama:
    The current administration has shown a complete lack of respect for institutions or democratic forms and ways.
    They manage themselves in a populist – demagogical way, and are strengthening the Armed Forces.
    They are demonizing and prosecuting their rivals and using propaganda massively.
    The recipe for disaster.

Trackbacks

  1. 14 July 1789, Paris… 14 July 2010, Panama « The Mex Files | Breaking News 24/7
  2. The day after the week before | Bananama Republic

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