Bernal: Philosopher, political prisoner and patriot Roberto Arosemena

I bow in respect on the occasion of the death of Roberto Arosemena Jaén, a combative and consistent patriot. Civilismo has lost a valuable activist. Rest in peace!

Prism of a republic

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

A man’s life is measured by its results. The human product is the result that determines the final value of a lifetime.


Almost 40 years ago, Roberto Arosemena wrote in his work about Octavio Mendez Pereira: “some days men disappear just like the others, however, there is a general commotion indicative of suppressed national values.”

On this past February 9 the death of Roberto Arosemena Jaén deprived Panama of a selfless and committed patriot and citizen, one in favor of freedom and justice. The University and academia lost a distinguished and dedicated teacher who, for several decades, radiated light and knowledge from his chair. Penonome lost an illustrious and meritorious son. We, the men and women who love Panama, lost a combative champion who was faithful to his principles.

Throughout his existence, Roberto sowed principles and values, commitments, knowledge, examples, all palpable testimonies of a quest. A search with stumbles, but always looking for the best orientations, for the best situations. Roberto never limited himself to simply preaching. He always practiced what he preached and he was not just another philosopher or spectator.

For those who knew him and shared ideals, struggles, kilometers of antimilitarist street demonstrations, debates, discussions, concurrences and dissents, joys and frustrations, dreams and hope, his is an irreparable loss because he was, above all, a good man.

In a very concise synthesis, Roberto said that during the 1980s he was a passionate civilista activist. He faced the military who ruled the country between 1968 and 1989 without reservations. Arosema Jaén was a believer of peaceful resistance and did not hesitate to join political movements such as the Popular Nationalist Party (PNP) in the late 1970s and also noted his participation in the Popular Action Party (PAPO). In 1987, when the last great wave of protests against the military broke out with the Crusada Civilista, he was arrested and sent to the penal colony that then existed on Isla Coiba.

“Prism of a Republic” and “Witness of Freedom,” along with various essays and hundreds of articles, are parts of the legacy of this citizen, whose departure leaves a void.

So long, my friend!


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