Bernal, Rice and ground sardines

Legislators get drunk and rowdy on expensive whiskey. From a widely disseminated video.

Rice with tuna

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

                   Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.

La Rochefoucauld                   

It is still too early to draw the lessons that the protests and popular social mobilizations are leaving, throughout the country. What we cannot deny is that -in two weeks-, the different sectors of our population have had the participation, with actions that have even led to resignations, which they have not known since the 1989 invasion.

There will be no shortage of those who want to deny that a resounding and massive rejection has been given, not only to a negligent, incompetent and indolent government, but also to the sick structures that support so-called state organs, which are good for nothing. This is just the beginning of an accumulated discontent that has been expressed — without direction or organization, it is true — but with a lot of indignation.

Social protests have never been viewed favorably by those who hold power, here, there or everywhere. The history of humanity from all times bears a silent witness. In our case, we must not lose sight of the fact that the crisis is political, the crisis is of the system imposed half a century ago, with a militaristic constitution that has dragged us into a market society, where everything has its price rather than any consideration of value.

Generalized corruption dominates the scene even in the midst of the protests and their different expressions. From the president on down, many of those responsible for public administration have been offering themselves for sale to others willing to buy them. Those below, also permeated and suffocated by corruption, are wildly attempting a dress rehearsal to push the limits of what’s possible.

Those who insist on not wanting to understand or accept that the time has come for all the people for which our country is home, those who reject what is happening as a sign that we can no longer continue as we are — the only thing they can offer is more sweat and pain to hundreds of thousands of Panamanian men, women and families. They have shown time and again (as if it were necessary) that they do not have solutions to the demands of the mobilizations.

The egotistical and cynical lack of culture shown by rejecting the rice with “tuna” – tuna seca in local parlance, actually ground sardines — exposes the raw sensation of decline and barbarism, among the components of which is this crisis. Long live rice with tuna! Make them eat tuna seca with rice!

An elementary school lunch where government ministers and business executives don’t go.
This is the “economic model” that big business and its backers are defending.



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