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Friday, August 22 2014 @ 11:42 AM EDT

Expect A Tense Week in Panama

Panama NewsBy DON WINNER for - Every conceivable group or organization that considers themselves to be in "opposition" to the current administration of Ricardo Martinelli is going to be doing some sort of march, demonstration, or protest today. The "opposition" is so rattled by Martinelli's appointment of the three new Supreme Court justices to sit on the Fifth Chamber that some strange alliances are forming. For me, to see the Panameņistas led by Vice President Juan Carlos Varela together with the leadership of the PRD is like watching holocaust survivors hanging out with Hitler and sharing a cup of tea. It simply doesn't make any sense, and in fact it should be offensive to the sensibilities of many Panameņistas - especially those who don't share Varela's political ambitions for 2014.

Today sessions started in the National Assembly to start discussions on the sale of the state owned shares in the Cable & Wireless telecommunication company. The stands are packed with those who are protesting against the sale, and the opposition lawmakers from the PRD and Panameņistas are shouting insults at those who are on the CD's "team". In short, it's flat out confrontation. All of the third party noisemakers - the same ones as always, like the environmentalists, union leaders (construction, teachers, CSS employees), radical students at the university, talking heads from the "civil society" - are going to be holding marches and protests or what have you.

It's going to be a strange week here in Panama, full of conflict and politically motivated headlines. I just got back to the office after some important appointments this morning, and I'm going to try to hit the highlights. Stay tuned.

Safety and Security: It might be a good idea to keep a lower profile this week. Stock up on essentials, food, water, medicines, etc. There's a possibility that some areas of the country might be cut off due to street protests or demonstrations. Take advantage of the calm before the potential storm. Tank up your car, stuff like that. So, if chaos starts you can sit in your living room and read about it on Panama Guide, safe and sound.

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

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