Panama Policies Oppress Black Citizens

May 22, 2015


(Sorry it took so long to complete this story.)

abingon-thames-side-2 In order to understand how Panamanian policies oppress its black citizens one must go back in history.

In 1903 when the Americans began building the Panama Canal they needed cheap, strong labourers who could endure long hours and produce upon demand. The Americans went to Barbados and recruited 23,000 black men. These “slaves” were paid 10 cents per hour for a 10 hour day. A day’s wages were $1.00 per day and $6.00 per week for a six-day week.

When the Canal was completed in 1914 some of these workers stayed in Panama, some died, and some returned to Barbados.DSC03525-B

Those that remained in Panama settled in Colon.

Fast forward to 2015. Today, descendants of those black people who built the Panama Canal live in a slum called Colon. The Panama Canal brings in an annual income of $4 billion per year. The money is used to build a wealthy, healthy Panama for its chosen citizens. The black men who built the Panama Canal with blood, sweat, tears, and death, are forgotten.DSC02822

The reason this Colon Slum exists is because this is prime real estate on the Atlantic coast and developers want this land for more sky-scrapers, shopping malls, luxury condos, and tourist money.

The government policy is to slowly push the black people out. If nothing is done to improve their quality of life they might just leave. Except they have nowhere to go. No water, electric, health care, education for the kids, no jobs for the adults and they die or leave.IMG_2682

The government placates them with free water and electric because the government does not want an uprising or a riot on its hand.

These black souls built the Panama Canal that brings in $4 billion annually but they are not allowed to enjoy the wealth.

How about the Americans who enslaved them and made money on the Panama Canal for 100 years? Don’t they have a responsibility to them? We Americans spread oppression and exploitation and shun our responsibilities. We love to use and abuse.2013-01-28_09-16-34_256

Somebody, Americans and Panamanians, owes the black people of Panama a lot of respect, and especially a lot of money. It’s time to pay up. Black lives matter – in Panama too.

Incidentally, the Barbadian Prime Minister –Mr. Freundel Stuart – was in Panama on May 5, 2015 to “strengthen cultural ties” with Panama. The slums of Colon and the dilemma of the Barbadian slaves who built the Canal were not discussed.

 

 

 

 

 

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