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Volume 14, Number 13
July 7, 2008

opinion

Also in this section:
Editorial:  No tax hike for the Cinta Costera
Bernal, A just and democratic city
Leis, On the Petaquilla Minerals blacklist
Libertarian Party, Iran shouldn't be the new Iraq
Nader, Response to Obama
Sweeney, Why the AFL-CIO endorses Obama
McCain, Address to the National Sheriffs' Association
Jackson, An opportunity to turn the page on a failed War on Drugs
Avnery, Satan's counsel
Sakr, A message to American Arabs and Muslims
Pilgrim, Caribbean agriculture
Greenpeace, Celebrating Chile's new whale sanctuary
Bushby, MERCOSUR divided
Reavey, Double standards in US policy toward Latin America
Partido Alternativa Popular, Extradite Posada Carriles to Panama
Letters to the editor


A just and democratic city
by Miguel Antonio Bernal

That the quality of life for the majority of residents in the Capital District is in free fall is a notorious public fact.

Two Panamas cohabit in this would-be metropolis: the Panama that concentrates profits and power and the Panama where poverty and misery confirm the growing inequality. The Panama in which some, wrapped up in ostentatious privileges that come with certain positions or the monopolies they have over the greatest and most valuable sectors, and the other Panama in which raw sewage flows through the yards of the squatters' shacks and drinking water comes every now and then, which are without sanitary or health services, where schools are far away and transportation is inadequate.

And thus the proposition that our team in the mayoral campaign for the capital is oriented to creating the bases for sustainable human development in Panama City. We start from the fact that fundamental rights revolve around the lives, dignity and security of human beings.

For a quick elevation in the quality of life of a truly healthy and equitable city, it becomes urgent and obligatory to have a policy focused on the community and its authentic needs, much more important than having some imperious figure in charge. In other words, we need more citizen participation --- it's a job to be done for and with the community.

This necessarily implies the implementation of a just and balanced municipal tax system, that allows the equitable distribution of its proceeds; as well as the implementation of services for those sectors most deprived of education, health care, transportation, public safety, and housing in the Capital District. It is necessary, for example, to have a participatory strategy to improve preventive health measures and to guarantee universal access to medical attention, with a commitment to make citizens' health and safety a priority in all of the city's actions and initiatives.

We need public participation in the elaboration and execution of a community education project that begins in civic campaigns to eradicate illiteracy throughout the district, based on our common responsibility for our environment and our fellow human beings. This should be accompanied by public participation in the design and execution of educational programs by public and private entities that carry out applied research, science and technology in the capital city.

In a future column I'll get into the development of policies that allow the establishment of a system of public spaces and urban green areas, and city rules to control noise and pollution.


Miguel Antonio Bernal, a law professor at the University of Panama, the host of the Alternativa radio show and many other things, is a candidate for mayor of Panama City


Also in this section:
Editorial:  No tax hike for the Cinta Costera
Bernal, A just and democratic city
Leis, On the Petaquilla Minerals blacklist
Libertarian Party, Iran shouldn't be the new Iraq
Nader, Response to Obama
Sweeney, Why the AFL-CIO endorses Obama
McCain, Address to the National Sheriffs' Association
Jackson, An opportunity to turn the page on a failed War on Drugs
Avnery, Satan's counsel
Sakr, A message to American Arabs and Muslims
Pilgrim, Caribbean agriculture
Greenpeace, Celebrating Chile's new whale sanctuary
Bushby, MERCOSUR divided
Reavey, Double standards in US policy toward Latin America
Partido Alternativa Popular, Extradite Posada Carriles to Panama
Letters to the editor


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