Panama rentals
   
News | Economy | Culture | Opinion | Lifestyle | Nature
Noticias | Opiniones | Alternativa con Miguel Antonio Bernal
Archive | Unclassified Ads | Front Page and Update Links
Volume 18, Number 1
January 9, 2012
Learn Spanish Online with Habla Ya's Skype Spanish Lessons

opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Wiese, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor


A beet-red Martinelli throws a manic fit in his speech to the nation.
Photo by the Presidencia

Power alternatives?

Martinelli and his "empresaurios"

by Marco A. Gandásegui, hijo

President Ricardo Martinelli's speech on January 2, with his accounting ot the National Assembly of Deputies, caused a commotion within the Panamanian political class. The president's words were carefully chosen and had as their objective the creation of a climate propitious to begin a campaign that will culminate in the May 2014 general elections.

The list of his government's works that he pointed out in his presentation was overshadowed by his attacks on a fraction of the business class that has distanced itself from his administration in recent years. Instead of attacking the opposition parties as has been done in traditional politics, on this occasion Martinelli pointed his artillery at the big businessmen who criticize his style of government. We must make the caveat that the portion of the entrepreneurial class that harasses Martinelli does it for political rather than economic reasons.

In his attacks, Martinelli privilege the large employers who "stoop" to evading their taxes. He pointed out the banking sector, the Colon Free Zone merchants and Panama's only airline. At the same time, he railed against the communications media that openly criticize alleged corruption, in arms purchases, free transfers of government land, sale of immigration visas and so on.

In blunt language, Martinelli accused these sectors of being thieves and crooks. He insisted that the government needs money to develop its works. "In order to achieve these changes we need cash, silver, bills, money, fluss, chen-chen. These resources have to be found somehow. We put our hand in the pocket of the empresaurios. And for that they don't forgive us."

The confrontation that Martinelli provoked has half-truths as its foundation. In reality, it isn't the large Panamanian business owners who pay an important part of the resources that the state collects for its functions. During almost a century of its domination, they have known how to evade paying their obligations to society. The government's revenues are, in their great majority, fees that derive from the management of the Panama Canal and sales taxes.

In his speech, President Martinelli also mentioned the popular sectors, especially the poorest of the poor. As is customary, just like previous governments, he misrepresented data about unemployment and poverty. He said that "poverty has diminished ... [thanks to] the universal scholarship, the increase in the minimum wage, creating good jobs, Jumbo Fairs, massive land titling...."

He also recognized that the "bonanza imposes the responsibility to be closing the economic and social gap between the rich and poor." He added that the country "can not continue being a country of great wealth, with people who created it but don't enjoy it." He recognized that the government can't continue to be an administrator of national poverty and unfulfilled collective aspirations, "because of the egotism of a few." He concluded by emphasizing that "we took an historic and costly decision: to change the unjust order of things, to put the public interest first."

Martinelli's policies, however, have been in the opposite direction from his speech. The breach between rich and poor has continued to widen. He may recognize that working people create all wealth, but he doesn't allow them to enjoy it. In his speech Martinelli contradicted himself and as much as said that he will continue "administering the national poverty." He listed all the programs focused on deceiving the people, especially the poorest. In one part of his presentation, he specified how he will try to "change the unjust order of things."

The political tactic of this speech consisted in distancing himself from a group that the president called "empresaurios," putting them in the vanguard of the traditional opposition parties. On the other hand, he assured that his political campaign will be "with the people," who will receive the fruits of their labor through the expansion and extension of targeted official programs such as universal scholarships and the $100 monthly stipend for those 70 and over with no pensions or other means of support. That is to say, he will continue with his political patronage policy until the elections of 2014.

Martinelli pulled his "enemies" from his own class, from his own social bastion, and openly declared war on them, diminishing the role of the parties. With this tactic he hopes to neutralize his political mistakes --- which have lowered his popularity --- by provoking constant skirmishes with his opponents. Everything indicates that in 2012 he will direct his efforts toward establishing hegemony over the Panameñista Party by using the Trojan Horse tactic: undermining from within. In the case of the PRD, he will seek a way to to tear off pieces of the now divided old Torrijista structure.

With this panorama to be expected from President Martinelli, the popular sectors will be left to resist the growing repression of the new "security" apparatus, and to confront a dismantling of the country's productive sector that will create more informal and precarious employment. At the same time, we must recognize the rupture within the traditional elite that was announced by the president and find new tactics that include electoral options, the formation of alliances and the consolidation of unity in order to establish an alternative power.






    

Also in this section:
Editorials: Volume 18; Thug rant; and Arnulfo's bones and Floyd's
Harrington, Annus Horribilis
Waters, Occupy
Thurston, Comparing two Panama Cities
Wiese, The sensei
Inter-American Press Association, Freedom of the press in 2011
Bloice, Obama's ominous arming of despots in the Gulf
Lara, Martinelli lashes out at media owners for reporting about corruption
Frente Amplio por la Democracia, About the election laws
Keller, Antisemites and kindergartens
Shah, Put Baby Doc on trial
Gandásegui, Martinelli and the business dinosaurs
Baker, Budget balancers and global warmers
Valencia, Chávez's illness: is the left all right in Venezuela?
Human Rights Foundation, Three years in jail and $40 million fine for journalist
Bruce, First in the Nation
Payne, Panama president tries to silence the press
Beale, Peace Corps safety measures
Perkins, Policy to kill emerging countries' economies
Jackson, An astounding environmental mockery
Zamora, Military maneuvers in the country without an army
Mast, Amanda
April 10th Movement, Barro Blanco promoters' bid to dispossess a community
Sirias, A hero from the Golden Era
Letters to the editor


Left Wing PublicationsRight Wing Publications

Find the boat of your dreams through Evermarine



© 2012 by Eric Jackson
All Rights Reserved - Todos Derechos Reservados
Individual contributors retain the rights to their articles or photos

email: editor@thepanamanews.com or

e_l_jackson_malo@yahoo.com or

thepanamanews@gmail.com

phone: (507) 6-632-6343

Mailing address:

Eric Jackson
att'n The Panama News
Apartado 0831-00927 Estafeta Paitilla
Panamá, República de Panamá

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/thepanamanews