Posts tagged panama
Posts tagged panama
The controversial laws sponsored by the National Assembly and signed by President Ricardo Martinelli once again are bringing instability and anguish to Panamá. This time it is Colón Province that finds itself immersed in protests, vandalism and even gunfire.
The reason for this is Law 72, which permits the sale of land located in the tax free zone of Colón, the largest and oldest of Latin America.
Panama’s village leader Silvia Carrera defies a president
After anti-mining protests in Panama left three dead and brought the Pan-American highway to a standstill, the elected chief of the Ngäbe-Buglé people says the fight for justice must continue
As she stands among villagers in the highlands of western Panama, their chosen leader, Silvia Carrera, is an image of bucolic harmony. Then Carrera, elected chief or general cacique of the Ngäbe-Buglé community, gestures to a woman who hands her a bag of spent US riot-control equipment – rubber bullet casings, shotgun shells, sting-ball grenades, teargas canisters.
Panama national police, she explains, used these against her people only days earlier to break up a protest against government plans for a vast copper mine and hydroelectric schemes on their territory. Three young Ngäbe-Buglé men were killed, dozens were wounded and more than 100 detained.
What began with villagers at Ojo de Agua in Chiriquí province using trees and rocks to block the Pan-American highway earlier this month – trapping hundreds of lorries and busloads of tourists coming over the border from Costa Rica for six days – has now placed Panama at the forefront of the enduring and often violent clash between indigenous peoples and global demand for land, minerals and energy. Carrera is emerging as a pivotal figure in the conflict.
Pictured: Silvia Carerra has emerged as a pivotal figure in the clash between Panama’s indigenous people and the government over the proposed mining of native land. Photograph: Ed Helmore for the Observer