Bernal, The national malaise

Police in Bogota, Colombia killing attorney Javier Ordóñez, whom they had caught on a curfew violation, with repeated taser shocks. Colombia’s cities erupted in rioting in which seven more people were killed and 56 police stations were attacked. Such furious outbursts are happening across much of Latin America as smug political castes guard their own privileges and ordinary people suffer disease, deprivation and abuses of power.

A growing malaise

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

The fits and starts and breakdowns of the constitutional crisis that we have experienced since 1968 – more than half a century ago – do not cease to worsen the social and economic situation of the Panamanian people. The growing discomfort that you and almost everybody feel takes ever less time to erupt.

Consider the teachings of Ferdinand La Salle, when he affirms that “the problems of Constitutional Law are not problems of the legal order, they are problems of power.” We immediately realize that the entire constitutional structure of the legal entity called Panama since the coup d’état has been crumbling, degenerating and deforming. It’s to such a degree that the attributes, functions and operating procedures of its branches and institutions show an unequaled inefficiency and inefficiency. The cowardice of its leaders stands out in the sea of despair and discontent of the disappointed human conglomerate of society at large.

Day by day the malaise grows in all corners. The daily trampling of human dignity is increasingly resented. Inequality and injustice are serious threats to peace, the rule of law and citizens’ safety. Due process, respect for fundamental guarantees and human rights have been excluded from national life. The political country lives in a permanent carnival from farce to farce. All the while the stage is being set for a tragedy to serve as a pretext to remain in power, monopolize everything, destroy any vestige of institutionality and reinforce the straitjacket that allows the political caste to maintain absolute power.

Those in control of political power have not wanted, nor do they want, to understand the urgent need to lay the foundations, as soon as possible, of a democratic constitutional rule of .law. That can only be achieved if the public power to constitute government is understood and brought to life.

The permanent refusal of the new kleptomaniacs to democratize power, and their stubborn sectarianism in favor of the plutocratic oligocracy, lead them more and more to surrender their functions to the most diverse criminal organizations. The hundreds of homicides reported under this government show us the high degree of penetration of organized crime among the operatives of the highest spheres of power.

The scenes we see today in Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico, part of the backdrop to our daily lives, show us that, under this CoCa administration we’re getting into a future identical to the immediate past. Without governance, without credibility, without trust, nothing they do will bring positive results to the public.

The electoral siren songs that come from the caves of political parties and their leadership cliques have already begun to poison the rising new political upstarts, who, without knowing or wanting civic freedoms, only aspire to enjoy the privileges that emanate from the administration of the treasury. But s constituent assembly is the path the nation must follow, no matter how much they seek to divert that destiny.


Contact us by email at


To fend off hackers, organized trolls and other online vandalism, our website comments feature is switched off. Instead, come to our Facebook page to join in the discussion.


These links are interactive — click on the boxes