Like Noriega but Fresher Smelling!
February 7, 2012 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Indigenous groups in Panama have shut down parts of the Pan American Highway in an increasingly violent protest. The root of the conflict is the Martinelli government’s refusal to enact environmental protection that was promised for the Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca from both Hydro-Electric and mining exploitation. Outside press is being denied entry to cover the conflict. This is not the first time this has happened. Ongoing updates in English can be found here.
posted by white_devil (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. I'm used to seeing that highway blocked as a protest — it's practically a standard political tactic up in Guatemala: block off a major junction for a day or so, force people to go around you on the surface roads and snarl everything up, get some media attention for whatever situation you're protesting, and go home. But this is way beyond what I'd think of as a "normal" roadblock — both in terms of the commitment of the protesters and in terms of the level of violence in response.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:06 AM on February 7, 2012

Yeah just got back from there on Saturday. Our luggage is still on vacation at the beach in Las Lajas. Went up for zip lining last Monday and road was closed that night. Had to fly from David to Tocumen to get out on Sat. Was surprised no real coverage outside of Panama. Customs agent looked at us like we were crazy when we went through with only 2 small bags after 8 days out of country.
posted by white_devil at 10:15 AM on February 7, 2012

Sigh - no more delicious sparkling juice in apple shaped bottles for me then.
posted by zeoslap at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2012

Anyone know what is meant by "call center propagandists" mentioned in the second link? I am imagining someone calling me during dinner to tell me how great the government is.
posted by Joe Chip at 12:20 PM on February 7, 2012

From the last link;
"Time for a word about another typical Panamanian term: The “callcenters”. This refers to a group of individuals who, paid by the government, set out to attack, criticize, harass and slander opposition figures, journalists and anyone else who disagrees with Martinelli’s policies on FaceBook, Twitter and elsewhere. While Martinelli himself has stayed invisible during the crisis, these “callcenters” are working on overtime. A favorite target is Telemetro journalist and talkshow host Alvaro Alvarado, who isn’t extreme at all but asks more questions than most others. He just let me know that los callcenter are still vehemently at it, now demanding that he asks for their permission first before sending out a tweet."
posted by white_devil at 5:43 AM on February 8, 2012

An agreement has been reached. Here is the agreement in Spanish.

Here is the Google translation;
San Lorenzo 1 Agreement
After 200 hours have passed with very tragic event for the people Ngäbes, the Chief General acting as the highest authority and the Coordinator for the Natural Resources Defense and Law of the People's Peasant Ngäbes Bugle and agree to accept the resumption of dialogue based on the following points:
First: Order the immediate release of all prisoners and detainees Ngäbes different solidarity groups in different parts of the country without charge and are returned to their base points.
Second, the urgent attention of those affected and permanent compensation to the families of Geronimo Rodriguez Tugrí and other deaths. The cessation of repression and persecution of non-protesters, members of the coordinator, chief general, regional, local and supportive members participating in this struggle. The guarantee of security for the leadership and to order the withdrawal of all records being conducted by the Attorney General, regarding the subject matter and it is decreed the dismissal.
Third: Reset the communication system mobile.
Fourth, the immediate withdrawal of crowd control units in the area of ​​conflict and an end to flights by reconnaissance helicopters.
Fifth: We maintain as a mediator and guarantor of the dialogue process to the Catholic Church, and participate as observers in the same evangelical church of Panama, the UN Rapporteur of Panama, and the rector of the University of Panama.
Sixth: The dialogue was held with the participation of the Chief General of the Region with technical working team and members of the Coalition for the Defense of Rights
Natural Bugle Ngäbe the people and peasants, with their team.
Seventh: To ask the Chairman of the Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs and other members reconsider the first reading of Bill 415 for the introduction and discussion of Article 5 of the draft declaration and marked urgent treatment from 8 February 2012.
Eighth: To ask the human rights organizations a thorough investigation of the events of the wounded, arrested and killed during the demonstrations.
Ninth: That both parties agree to the proper disclosure and explanation of the agreement in the face of the Panamanian people and the media.
Tenth: After signing this agreement we pledge to pull our colleagues associated with our movement of the different base points. Designating a committee of indigenous doctors to monitor our wounded and affected are in different hospitals in the country,
Given in San Lorenzo, province of Chiriqui, on the 7 th day of February 2012.
posted by white_devil at 5:49 AM on February 8, 2012

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