The Laundry Man by Kenneth Rijock ( Penguin/Random House UK)

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The Shape of Things to Come ?

One of Panama's major newspapers is warning foreign nationals and visitors to be on the alert for violent protest actions, by the political opposition, who are seeking the immediate resignation of President Martinelli. Whilst US and UK authorities may eventually issues similar warnings, it is prudent to expect that one or more of the following will occur this coming week:

(1) Blocking of major roadways in Panama City, which happened this week.
(2) Violent demonstrations, of the sort that occurred this week.
(3) Labor strikes.
(4) Food shortages in stores. This has been seen in several neighborhoods, as residents stockpile food, fearing a breakdown in normal supply channels.
(5) Electric and other utility outages; Expect blackouts to occur.
(6) Widespread police arrest and detention of Opposition members, demonstrators, student protestors, and bystanders as organised protests. You are advised to immediately leave the scene of any demonstration, lest you be tear gassed, injured, or even arrested.
(7) A coup d'etat. This could involve extensive loss of life.

Will Panama return to this ?

This is NOT a good week to travel to Panama, even if your business requires it. Financial institutions, law firms, major companies, government offices, and administrative offices may be closed, damaged by demonstrators, by fire, or ordered shut by government. If the airport is later closed, or major airlines temporarily terminate service, you may not be able to leave, other than by surface transport to another capital in Central America, which involve an arduous journey.

Is Panama burning ?

Please take this warning seriously. If the language looks similar to that used by the US State Department, it is because much of it was  taken from a confidential memorandum sent to US nationals from the American Embassy.


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