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Panama Rises Up: Massive protests against fuel and food crisis underway

Thomas Lambert

July 19, 2022

People in Panama are rising up, blockading highways over a fuel and food crisis many believe was caused by the government.

Panama Rises Up
Panama Rises Up

On Sunday, talks broke down between protesters and the Panama government, which had offered to give some financial aid to lower gas prices for Panamanians if they agreed to stop blockading roads.

According to Luis Sanchez, a leader of the Anadepo civic grouping, though an agreement was signed, he didn’t feel it was binding as he still needed to “consult the rank and file” amid the grassroots protesters and union heads. 

He added that the agreement “was signed under pressure.”

Those protesting appear to have taken inspiration from the Dutch, as the government hadn’t been willing to come to the table until protesters began setting fires on roads that led to government offices, which caused major delays and inconvenienced officials.

According to protester and farmer Juan Morales, protesters have no intention of slowing down until the government proposes a more comprehensive solution.

“We will stay on in the street,” Morales said. “We will not weaken. We need strong and positive answers.”

Protests in the country have been ongoing for two weeks now, and residents say that the price of food has risen to the point that many can’t afford to feed their families.

“We are in a bad way,” resident Angelica Ruiz said. “No food, no buses. I wanted to buy rice and… what little can be found is very expensive. The vegetables are bad.”

Panamanians now join those around the world who are protesting everything related to the fuel and food crisis, as well as climate policies which are destroying blue-collar jobs. These countries include the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Poland, Argentina, Sri Lanka, and many others.

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