Bernal, Enough of this complicit silence

In Santiago #PanamaValeMasSinMineria. This is no mere academic debate, nor some business dispute playing out through partisan politics. As broad as the movement against the Mining colony is, it’s also so deep that neutrality gets taken as complicity on campus. Photo from Raisa Banfield’s Twitter feed.

Open letter to the rector

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

Citizen Eduardo Flores
Rector of the University of Panama
ESD [a Spanish abbreviation that means “left in your office”]

Mr. Rector,

The deafening silence that you maintain, as rector of our main house of higher education, in the face of the leonine contract signed by the government (behind the population’s back) with Minera and First Quantum, is clearly unacceptable.

Your silence and that of the organizations, institutes and university authorities is also worrying given that it is the institution that you direct, towards which not only its students, but also the youth of other academic institutions look, waiting for the information, instruction and education on the subject that the government and its vegueres today deny.

At such a crucial moment for the country, not assuming the principles and teachings of Octavio Mendez Pereira tarnishes him before the face of the country and does not make him worthy of the position, as he betrays the country.

I allow myself to parody the note that, in 1921, the distinguished Foreign Minister Narciso Garay Sr. addressed to the US Secretary of State, to tell you, your vice-rectors, deans, directors of regional centers, directors of institutes and others, that they accompany by their complicit silence the government and its disgraceful concessions to the mining company that:

Faced with the unpatriotic standss assumed by the national government and sponsored by the complicit silence of you, citizen rector of the University of Panama and your spoliques, perhaps the Panamanian people will be forced to submit to their harsh destiny, but in their very weakness they will know how to find sufficient energy to cry out to heaven against the injustice and violence to which he is subjected, and to declare that as long as the hearts of Panamanians beat with dignity and love for the country, he will keep alive the deep wound that is being attempted to be inflicted on his dignity and haughtiness and will look, with growing anxiety, towards the immediate future as they await that redemptive justice that is being denied today, but that will come one day by the inexorable design of God.

by a leading citizen,

Miguel Antonio Bernal Villalaz
cedula 8-153-2773
full professor of the Faculty of Law at the University of Panama

Editor’s note: Shortly after this was written the rector announced that there will be a teach-in of sorts about the subject of the proposed mine contract with the aim of formulating an institutional position, but he has not stated a personal opinion about this matter.


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