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Sunday, August 31 2014 @ 06:32 AM EDT

Crazy Political Shenanigans And "Just Make Stuff Up" Stats and Numbers On Poverty in Panama

PoliticsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Let me start by saying I really don't care which political party is running this country. As a foreigner without a vote who has been living here for more than 25 years, I've seen everything from a military dictator (Manuel Antonio Noriega, until 1989), then an Arnuflista-led coalition (1989 - 1994), the PRD with Ernesto Perez Balladares (1994 - 1999), the Panameñistas again with Mireya Moscoso (1999 - 2004), the PRD again with Martin Torrijos (2004 - 2009), and now the CD with Ricardo Martinelli (2009 - 2014). My job is to observe these guys, watch what they do, and let you know what's going on. When the people in power do good things I applaud their efforts. When they screw up, I report on that as well. But I try to stay as neutral and middle of the road as possible. It's their fight for power, not mine.

There Are Radicals Out There: Every once in awhile I see something that's so "over the top wrong" it makes me cringe. This morning Ursula Kiener Ford posted on her Facebook page: "Sabías que la situación es tan delicada que en Panamá hay más de 400 mil panameños que se acuestan con hambre y que sobreviven con $1 al día, y de ese dólar utilizan 80 centésimos para su alimentación. (Did you know the situation is so delicate that in Panama there are more than 400,000 Panamanians who go to bed hungry and who survive on $1 a day, and of that 80 cents is used for food.) First of all, the statement is simply flat-out false. Of course there is poverty in Panama, however levels of poverty have been dropping steadily in recent years, starting under the administration of Martin Torrijos, and the trend has continued under the administration of Ricardo Martinelli, as Panama's economy continues to grow. But there's no way in hell there are 400,000 Panamanians out there who are living on just $1 dollar per day - or a grand total of just $365 dollars per year. I suspect the author simply made those numbers up - pulled them out of thin air - because she's trying to cause political harm to the CD and Martinelli. Or maybe she's quoting from some other source she saw somewhere else, and if that's the case I would love to know what it is. Maybe she's right and I'm just uninformed - wouldn't be the first time. But whatever, it is what it is, and only she knows why she would say something like this. My observation is it would be foolish to try to attack Martinelli and the CD on the economics - because the math and numbers are generally great - so that would be a losing strategy. I'm just pointing out some serious bias, likely to become even more prevalent as the election cycle gets under way in Panama.

Update: Ursula Responds: I received the following this afternoon: "Seriously what is your problem with me. You have hated me since I met you and because I was (your friend's) competition. I don't even sell insurance very often and (your friend) likes me. I don't make up numbers and la Prensa does not publish stuff without verifying if you want to keep on kissing Martinellis ass go ahead. What I am promoting is a stronger agro system and to protect our own farmers and for people to start growing their own food. You with your gringo salary can afford to live in Panama but Panamanians can't anymore. Read the newspapers and see that stats about poverty and people not being able to afford food they come out every day."

To Which I Responded: "First of all, I don't "hate" you. I really don't care one way or the other. If you didn't make up the numbers, what was your source? Where did you get the "400,000 people on a dollar a day" number from? Please, enlighten me. I'm not kissing anyone's ass, I'm just checking facts. Pretty simple, really." Let's see if she gets back to be with a source. In fact, she might have quoted something or someone else. I'm simply trying to fact check the "400,000 people on $1 a day" number, which simply sounds ludicrous to me on the surface. But like I said, I'm keeping an open mind, and maybe I'm wrong. Let's see...

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Crazy Political Shenanigans And "Just Make Stuff Up" Stats and Numbers On Poverty in Panama | 5 comments | Create New Account
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Crazy Political Shenanigans And \"Just Make Stuff Up\" Stats and Numbers On Poverty in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 02 2012 @ 07:12 AM EDT

Even if what she says is true, whoever is going to bed hungry in Panama is a lazy bum expecting free money from the government.

Crazy Political Shenanigans And \"Just Make Stuff Up\" Stats and Numbers On Poverty in Panama
Authored by: Bucky on Saturday, June 02 2012 @ 08:44 AM EDT

I'm a gringo too. I have invested hard earned dollars in Panama, and have worked with Panamanians in am effort to make it better for all. The root of the problem is fiat currency that is being printed by the trainload. American's, as well of everyone on planet earth are now beginning to feel the effects. One of my attractions to Panama was the resourcefulness of the locals, and the fact that dollars were a small part of their life. Presently we all face an extreme danger of a global financial collapse. Planning for this requires gardening skills, and for this I applaud Ms Ford. American's lack survival skills, this will be problematic. This may be a lifeboat situation, and we should all work together and prepare. I do resent the perception that "gringo's" are well healed, the truth is, America is bankrupt. If government spending is not controlled this election, America will join the third world economy. If we could all join together to make the earth a better place ----

Crazy Political Shenanigans And \"Just Make Stuff Up\" Stats and Numbers On Poverty in Panama
Authored by: Gregvx on Saturday, June 02 2012 @ 09:10 AM EDT

Don,

You are right to question the numbers, the problem is, in this day and age, if those numbers get repeated enough times then they become fact. If they are correct, something needs to be done, if not it would be nice to know where she gets her mis-information.

Great work!!

Crazy Political Shenanigans And \"Just Make Stuff Up\" Stats and Numbers On Poverty in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 02 2012 @ 08:21 PM EDT

I almost cried out of laughing!!!!
Seriously, she must have fucked up with her numbers. It is true that most still work for 365 dollars a months, depending on where their live.
I personnally pay my employee 2 dollars an hour (declared with seguro so he has to pay for it) and he is worth it.
Rising price is a problem though.
But today in Portugal some agree to work for 300 euros a month in a country where the cost of living is twice as high...
Most of the people here in Chiriqui don't seem to be aware of the world crisis and they do grow their food and most have chicken and eggs,,,

Crazy Political Shenanigans And \"Just Make Stuff Up\" Stats and Numbers On Poverty in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 04 2012 @ 04:00 PM EDT

Don
Let me first thank you for being the link between Panama and Canada. Thanks to you i get all the details about what's happening in the country where I'm going to retire along with my husband hopefully very soon.We bought beautiful casa in Las Palmas ,Nueva Gorgona four years ago, visiting at least 3 times a year.
I don't agree also with the statement a lot of Panamanian leave on $1 dollar a day.
We have a gardner who gets paid $50/ month just for watching our property and periodicaly cutting grass. We bought brand new mover, he doesn't use it, he pays people to do it!!! He watches 2 other properties around ,so it's another $100/month. every time we come he gets a "bonus" plus gifts for him and his wife.
Lady who cleans our house gets $40 for doing it one time before we come.She works for our friend, who has a house right next to us, making good money.
But there is another side of the story. We know a neighbour across the street, who preffers to sit at home and complain and borrow money all the time versus working! So i guess if you willing to work you can leave pretty comfortable, not for $1 dollar a day, that for sure.
If you are lazy and don't want to work then you are living on $1 /day, that's your choice.But i do not believe there are 40000 people not working!!!!!
Cant't wait for the real numbers!!!!!
Thanks again Don for your exellent job!!!!!
Agata and Zyggi