Constitutional follies


Rude questions about Panamanian law…

by Eric Jackson


“ARTICULO 19. No habrá fueros o privilegios ni discriminación por razón de raza, nacimiento, discapacidad, clase social, sexo, religión o ideas políticas.”

[There will be no immunities or privileges nor discrimination on account of race, birth, disability, social class, sex, religion or political ideas.]

So, if a member of the political caste or a family member of one of these beats the rap for, say, running down and killing a little girl on a road in Colon province, or, say, misrepresenting the value of a beach mansion for tax purposes, or, say, conducting a vast and warrantless electronic espionage campaign against the Panamanian people, or, say, stealing vast sums of money from government coffers by way of overpriced public works contracts from which a skim is kicked back to members of the political caste – IF THERE ARE NO IMMUNITIES OR PRIVILEGES NOR DISCRIMINATION ON ACCOUNT OF SOCIAL CLASS, doesn’t everyone else have the same right to engage in legal fictions like the ones upholding such practices?

Or for that matter, doesn’t society have an equal right to indulge in legal fictions? As in, perhaps, ‘You say you were born in Panama to human parents and have this piece of paper that says so, but we are adopting the legal fiction that you were not, and thus that you don’t properly exist on this planet’?

Oh, I am told that there is a fix in the works, wherein “civil society” groups that represent the interests of and are largely composed of the most pompous and inbred of Panama’s wealthiest families get to determine whom elected presidents might appoint to the Supreme Court.

Sometime next year I get to vote “NO” on this proposed change? Will do, even if who gets heard in the referendum campaign will be rigged by the political caste and the elite families and there won’t be anyone whom ordinary people can trust counting the votes.

Oh, LOOK! Dr. Jekyll has slugged down a test tube of the formula and – it’s Mr. Rogers! And…

“…Can you say “constitutional crisis?”


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