Bernal, Panama’s public debt



The public debt

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

Amidst the daily whirlpool of corruption scandals that characterize our governing ineptocracy, and while the local bribe givers and takers of Odebrecht go unpunished, the public debt grows merrily and unabashedly.

The cosmetic government information nevertheless leaves it known that “the public debt grew $4.296 billion in 33 months.” That is, “during the Juan Carlos Varela administration the foreign debt grew $3.872 billion (29.3 percent) while the internal debt went up $452.3 million (10.3 percent).”

Recall that the public debt is divided into internal and external. The internal debt is the one that the state owes to creditors within the country and the external public debt is the one that must be paid abroad. Running up the public debt has been a permanent practice of the governments that we have had since 1968.

“The public debt is the obligation generated against the state by reason of the acquisition by it of goods or services on credit or of the pre-payments it has received from individuals, foreign governments, suppliers, international banks and multilateral entities: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), the Eximbank and others. “

Panama is, day by day, an ultra-indebted country. In June of 2014 Panama’s foreign debt was $17.668 billion. In March of this year it went up to $21.964 billion. Meanwhile the internal public debt is $4.856 billion. That adds up to a net public debt of $26.820 billion, without counting other financial liabilities.

The Panamanian people shoulder this serious burden as the result of the political irresponsibility of successive governments, which are also responsible for the immense social debt of which we know.

If we do not quickly find mechanisms of citizen control over these debt policies of the political party system and its agents, we will not escape unstoppable social violence.


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