Bernal, What we have is authoritarian and personalist government

What would the Belushis say about this?
What?!? Bernal denigrates the legacy of Comrade Enver Hoxha, the genius architect of the mighty Albanian-Chinese Alliance? An old Chinese poster, from when the Albanian-Chinese Alliance was “one billion strong.”


by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

“Institutionalized power,” Rodrigo Borja teaches us in his Encyclopedia of Politics, “is that which has been stripped of the personal, capricious, uncertain and accidental that it had since the dawn of human society. One of the great values of peoples’ political development is the predictability of power, that is, the possibility of knowing how far its effects can reach and what the limitations of public authority are. Herein lies the legal certainty of the governed, that is, their certainty and sense that they will not be bothered without committing acts contrary to the law.”

The degenerate democracy that we have to live under day by day nin Panama has zero institutionality. Hence, the legal security of the inhabitants within the national territory, is every day more precarious and dangerous.

The militaristic constitution, imposed in 1972, established the cult of personality by which tribute had to be paid to the dictator, who by its provision (Art. 277) was a military chief, legislator, judge, attorney, magistrate, comptroller and a long etcetera. Nowadays his political heir has spent 34 months reveling in self-absorption and imitating the father of the military regime in walking, speaking and acting.

Proof of the above is the style of authoritarian and personalist government, with its concentration of political power. Then there is the semi-divine cult professed by his ministers and officials, who do not miss an opportunity to deify him with the usual paraphernalia.

The cult of personality is the clumsiest denial of institutionality, in addition to being one of the engines of corruption and impunity. The world’s bestiary of rulers who hated institutionality due to the cult of their personality is extensive: Stalin, Franco, Hitler, Mussolini, Trujillo, Mao, Idi Amin, Kim Il-sung, Enver Hoxha, Bokassa, Mobutu, Hussein, Papa Doc, Marcos and many other operetta tyrants, who today serve as inspiration for authoritarian presidentialism.

Old wisdom has it that “the powerful always know how to set the stage for deception” and bring down the institutional framework. Having seen it, civic activism through a constituent process is urgent, in order to secure power and spaces for citizens to act.



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

we endureFB_2