The story of Panama is an admirable one.DSC03525-B

A visitor to Panama is quite impressed with the visible signs of prosperity. Panama City boasts sky-scrapers, luxury condos, seventy banks, malls peddling designer clothes and accessories, and new construction everywhere.

AgreementIn 1999 the Americans returned the Panama Canal to Panama and the Canal brings in an annual income of at least 4 billion dollar which is great for the local economy.

Like any other country in the world (including the US) the leaders and politicians in Panama are crooks, thieves and corrupt. They steal as much as they can and then face prison or exile.

On the other hand, a visitor driving around Panama is quite shocked, when without warning, she stumbles into Colon. Colon is the slum of all slums.help

At ten o’clock on a Monday morning children in need or a bath and clean clothes are playing in the streets instead of being in school. Men are sitting on the side-walks and in the parks playing cards or entertaining themselves instead of being at work.

They live in shacks boarded up with bits and pieces of cardboard, zinc sheets or plywood. IMG_2682They have no money for water and electricity, so the government allows them to “steal” these necessities. The illegal water pipes and electric wires are visible from the streets for anyone to see. How and where they get food is anyone’s guess? Clothes? Health care?

These are the two Panamas. Visitors are usually driven around Colon, not through Colon.IMG_0318 For example, on the Atlantic side of Panama, steamship passengers are driven around Colon but not through the slums of Colon.

The residents of this slum in Panama are BLACK.

Next – the reason this slum exist!

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When one arrives in Panama City – the capital – one sees a progressive “country” with a well-to-do middle class. They shop in malls with all designer brand names. The restaurants are mouth-watering.

 After a few days of sky-scrapers, modern condos and high-end life styles one drives out to the darker side of Panama. It is called Colon.

The population of Colon is mostly Black. These Black people are the remnants of the Panama Canal and cheap labour. The Americans brought about 23,000 of them from Barbados to build the Canal. That was in 1903-1904. (To be continued.)

 Today the descendants of those Barbadians (cheap labour) live without water or electricity. They are allowed to steal electricity and water. The electric wires and water pipes running into their apartments are visible from the streets. The Panamanian government allows them to steal water and electricity.

 How could this be? Black lives matter is the new slogan in America. Perhaps it has not reached Panama yet. Next – the reason this slum exist!

 

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