Heads we win, tails you lose! ICMA photo.
Reforms that are less than meet the eye
by Miguel Antonio Bernal
Constitutional Law teaches us that “reforming” the Constitution means altering something in its articles without changing its essence or substance. The militarist constitution in force since 1972 has been reformed four times, but its reforms have not been able to strip it of its authoritarian barracks origins, nor of its essential oppostion to citizen participation.
This time the so-called “Concertación” concurs to claim, again, based on a text proposed by a good number of those who participated in the imposition of ‘72 and several who have been present, by action or omission, in the previous reforms behind the citizens’ back, to reform so as not to change.
The main feature of what has been presented so far? They’ll dress up the monkey in silk. There are no real proposals, no constitutional innovations, no updates, nothing corrected, nothing explained.
This is extremely worrying given that they confirm for us that in Panama what they call democracy has degenerated into an oligocracy dominated by kleptomaniacs. These people haven’t the least disposition to give up the control they have over political power. It matters even less to them whether we have a democratic constitutional government in which it is understood and perceived that power is based in the people, that there is what they say.
The methodology used for these deceptive reforms sets aside human dignity, whose respect and protection is supposed to be a fundamental obligation of the state. That’s enshrined in the basic principles of treaties to which Panama is a party but ignored by the scriveners of this new deception.
One of the main teachings of the glorious French Revolution of 1789, which the deceivers would have us forget, establishes that “The constituent power can do everything and is not subject to any prior constitution.” That is why they resort to all the tricks, sophisms, fallacies and deceptions in their uncompromising desire to prevent the empowerment of citizens to fully exercise their rights, to deny citizens the protection of all the guarantees.
That is why we must bear in mind how urgent it is to demand a participatory constituent process, so that we can have the true rebirth that the country requires.
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