Panamanian people temporarily defeat sale of Colon Free Zone land


Not even the heavy hand with which President Ricardo Martinelli governs Panama was able to stop The People there from protesting the sale of publicly owned lands. The strength of a movement supported by social and trade unions last week twisted the arm of the government and obligated Martinelli to reverse a law that sought to sell the lands over which Panama host its Colon Free Zone.

Panamanian authorities no longer promote the privatization of land in the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), which has offered trade tax exemption — the highest in America — for the past 43 years. The Colon Free Zone is  located in the strategic Caribbean end of the Panama Canal.

Despite the assurance from President Martinelli, who stated that Panama will not sell the lands, protesters decided to keep on watching any move that may hint the opposite situation from the part of the government. The protesters remain on the streets of the city of Colon, which is located 80 kilometers north of Martinelli’s offices. The strength of the opposition to the sale of public lands has already left three people dead.

A message sent through Twitter directly President Martinelli, attempted to ensure that the movement does not grow any larger, after protesters paralyzed the Free Zone in recent days. “If the people do not want the lands sold, the sale will be repealed,” wrote Martinelli on Tuesday night, after checking the ineffectiveness of the efforts of his ministers.

On Monday, part of the Panamanian cabinet failed in their attempt to negotiate with the protesters to stop violent clashes between activists and police. “Some people have died,” he said José Ricardo Fabrega, a Panamanian Minister when commenting on the impact of the conflict generated around the so-called Law 72.

Not even the curfew decreed by President Martinelli was enough to stop the people from showing their opposition to the sale in this port city, which is famous for its Free Zone, a market for foreigners in the middle of an environment of poverty that affects most of the the Panamanian citizens. As much as a third of the people in Panama are considered as living in poverty today.

Workers and residents shut down the dollars factory this week, which is a platform of foreign traders (Arabs, Lebanese, Indians and Venezuelans) who perform services for Colombia, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean. The population of the Colon Free Zone knows of the coexistence with smuggling and that the biggest gains stay in private hands despite the fact that the economic activity in the region accounts for 7% of GDP.

Most of the 31,000 workers who run the Colon Free Zone come from the capital, but still defended it with ‘teeth and nails’. It was a chance to win a pulse against Martinelli and for that the people counted with the support from trade associations from all around the country. That support helped Panamanians succeed in the effort to avoid the acquisition of these public lands by foreign interests.

The 87 characters written by Martinelli, who was visiting Japan on the other side of the world, represent the surrender. This time it was not enough to have 42 congressional allies. Additionally, police repression and the use of military tactics did not work out either. In fact they only served to raise the anger of the protesters

The power of the business class became too small when compared to the popular response, which is driven by anger against the president. Some of the last polls show that as much as 75% of Panamanians believe that Martinelli is governing only for the rich classes and favoring foreign investors.

The damage done on Martinelli’s image is clear. The President is about a year and a half from leaving office, since the Panamanian constitution does not allow reelection. But despite the constitutional ban, builders’ unions and transporters, who are key parts of the Panamanian economy, remain alert.

College students went to the streets on Wednesday and blocked some major roads of the capital. Meanwhile, a new government delegation prepares to return to Columbus and negotiate with local protesters following the path laid out by Martinelli on his tweet.

The Free Zone was established in 1948 to commercially exploit the site of the Panama Canal. Since then, thousands of companies around the world have a base of operations there. The area receives over 250,000 visitors a year and has 1,751 companies.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

About Editor
The Real Agenda is an independent publication. It does not take money from Corporations, Foundations or Non-Governmental Organizations. It provides news reports in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese to reach a larger group of readers. Our news are not guided by any ideological, political or religious interest, which allows us to keep our integrity towards the readers.

We encourage readers to keep their comments civil and to use their freedom of speech to help the debate by providing their take on the issues or challenging anything they do not agree with by presenting alternative views and information.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Togel Togel Togel Online Toto Slot Togel Online Togel178 Pedetogel Pedetogel Situs Togel Terpercaya Togel178 Togel279 Toto Macau Situs Togel Bandar Togel Agen Togel Bo Togel Daftar Togel Togel279 Toto Macau Bo Togel Terpercaya Toto Togel Sabatoto Slot Server Luar Negeri rote4d rote4d rote4d togel158 togel158 togel279 togel279 pedetogel togel178 rote4d sabatoto Togel279 Rote4d Togel Online togel sabatoto pedetogel Slot88 Situs Togel Prize 123 Bo Togel Terpercaya Togel Online Daftar Akun Togel Resmi Toto Macau Toto Togel Situs Togel Terpercaya Situs Togel Via Pulsa Tanpa Potongan Daftar Togel Via Pulsa Tanpa Potongan Daftar Togel Via Dana Togel Via Dana Toto Slot Bandar Togel Hadiah 4D 10 Juta Terpercaya Bandar Togel Hadiah 4D Bo Togel Hadiah 2D bo togel terpercaya pedetogel Pedetogel togel158 pedetogel togel178 togel178 togel158 PEDETOGEL PEDETOGEL PEDETOGEL pedetogel pedetogel Togel Via Dana Togel Situs Toto dana toto toto togel togel via pulsa bandar togel togel178 pedetogel sabatoto togel158 togel279 pragmatic178 novaslot88 result macau bo togel hadiah 2d 200rb daftar akun togel resmi dana toto togel158 pedetogel togel279 togel158 pedetogel rote4d rote4d sabatoto toto macau toto macau togel158 pedetogel sabatoto togel178 togel279 togel158 togel158 togel178 togel279 pedetogel togel158 sabatoto togel178 pedetogel