Bernal, Letting off steam at the Presidencia

Nito & team
President Cortizo and his team. Photo by the Presidencia.

Cortizo’s rant

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

In his capacity as head of Panama’s executive branch, President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen has been accumulating throughout his short term a series of statements that produce more disapproval than applause.

The arrival of COVID-19, far from giving the members of his admionistration the diligence, good sense, humility, tolerance, will, prudence and responsibility befitting their functions, seems to have opened the doors of political power for a Dionysian marathon drinking binge, as if they owned the rod of Moses.

Throughout all this time, Cortizo and what he calls his “good team” have amply demonstrated to us how much they are seduced by the exercise, without citizen control, of political power, as well as the enjoyment of advantages, glorification, privileges and perks that give them access to the immense resources of the treasury.

The wear and tear of state structures and institutions, which have been dragging our country, have accelerated enormously in this year of government. Ultra-presidentialism has sought to establish itself by relying on rhetoric, nationalist and populist symbolism, charismatic techniques and media, authoritarianism and political patronage manipulation.

The speeches, press conferences, declarations, decrees and resolutions are living witnesses to the incoherence, inconsistency, intolerance and inconsistency that predominate in the mind of the tenant at the Palacio de las Garzas. Let us remember that he promised – before the entire country – that in his administration it would be “forbidden to lie, forbidden to steal, forbidden to betray the Panamanian people” and, in the same way, he assured us all that “there will be no untouchables” and that “no one would be above of the law”

The entire population is witness. What we have become and how we continue to live is the opposite. The daily efforts of citizens to achieve better days collide more than ever, with the rapacity, greed, greed and usury of the “good team” — untouchables who practice, and simultaneously protect, unstoppable corruption with impunity.

In an open threat, the President said in his July 31 speech that those who criticize his government “have hidden agendas.” It’s a confession, a lumpen-presidential rant.

But it also obliges those of us citizens who fight for democratic freedoms and human, economic and social rights, to bear in mind that the difference between a simply authoritarian and a totalitarian regime is that the former wants to not be attacked and the latter considers everything that is not a compliment an attack. To the first it is enough that he is not disadvantaged. The second tries to ensure that nothing is done that does not favor him.


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