Wednesday, May 05 2010 @ 01:55 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Editor's Comment: The bad news is that there is now one murder being committed every ten hours in Panama. The good news, relatively speaking of course for our community of English speaking expatriates in Panama, is that the violence very rarely splashes over. The vast majority of these killings are in some way related to drug trafficking, money laundering, or weapons smuggling. Every now and then foreigners are targeted for assaults and home invasion robberies, but in fact it seems like those kinds of crimes have diminished somewhat as of late. Security elements in Panama have a big task and they face a huge challenge - how to curb both drug trafficking and violent crime, simultaneously. And here's the kicker - if Panama stopped busting large shipments of cocaine with regularity, there would probably be a sharp drop in the murder rate. In any case the administration of Ricardo Martinelli is doing everything they can think of to stop the killing, and none of it is working very well. They need to spend more money and most importantly improve the legal justice system so that the criminals face swift trials, speedy sentencing, and long prison sentences. They are also building more prisons, for example. The problem is that the drug traffickers don't care and they are willing to risk long prison sentences for the millions of dollars they can make by moving cocaine.