BY SOCIALIST PROPOSAL, THE PANAMA SECTION OF THE IWU-FI
Panamanian popular, trade unions and student organisations marched yesterday against the brutal austerity measures that the government of Laurentino Cortizo and the PRD Torrijista have been applying in the Central American country, in the economic crisis affecting the country, aggravated by the effects of the pandemic.
One consequence of the government’s austerity plans was the substantial increase in the price of gasoline, which has affected the cost of necessities. Unemployment in Panama stands at 11% of the economically active population, meaning that some 200,000 Panamanians are out of work.
All this led to the mobilisation of the people of the City of Colon, where there is currently a strike against the government’s policies. Colón is the vanguard of the struggle against governmental austerity.
Propuesta Socialista, the Panamanian section of the International Workers’ Unity, took part in the march that took place yesterday in the capital of Panama, distributing a communique. The following is the content of the communique.
Let’s stop the policies of the Cortizo-PRD-Torrijista government that is imposing austerity measures against the working class and the people.
The PRD-Torrijista government is taking advantage of the pandemic crisis and the current Putin-Russia invasion of Ukraine, to impose the policy of capitalism in crisis, and make us pay for the crisis to the working class and the people.
The Socialist Proposal/IWU-FI, puts forward that this is their crisis. And it must be paid for by the multinational and national companies that have made huge profits amid the pandemic.
In Panama, the multinational companies in Howard, City of Knowledge, the ports, and the nature-destroying mine, have made huge profits, as seen in the official figures of the Comptroller General of the Republic. In the national case, the banking and commerce, and manufacturing industries have made profits, reducing personnel, and making adjustments in their companies, which allows them to increase their profits, even though they say they have produced less, as consumption has gone down.
All this is accompanied by an anti-national policy and the surrender of the country. The almost one billion investment in state security, with the National Border Service (Senafront) and the Naval Air Service (Senan), are at the disposal of the security of American imperialism, disguised as anti-drug trafficking and immigration, (including agreements with Colombia). The trade agreements are also against Panama, opening the economy to multinationals with tax exemptions that create few jobs, and exploit our geographical situation for free, with a canal and ports on the two largest oceans in the world, only 80 miles from each other.
Part of the surrender is also the debt of corruption, which the media, false independents like Vasquez, Silva, Lombana and now Ruben Blades, and bourgeois opposition parties or MOVIN, do not talk about in their supposed criticisms of the government. And the fact is that they are part of the regime that was born with the invasion, whose corruption was stressed after the murder of hundreds of people, with supposed transparency and openness to multinationals, inaugurating the most corrupt period in Panamanian history, since their companies arrived with bribes to win tenders that were previously won by national companies. Odebretch is an emblem, because of its confession and spill over to governments from Martín Torrijos, Martinelli-Panameñista and Varela’s government, which, despite scandals, maintained contracts at the airport and others, and in the mayor’s office, but it is not only that company.
The working class and the people should not pay for the crisis: For an Alternative Plan to the criminal austerity of Cortizo PRD Torrijista at the service of imperialism and the business class.
We have to stop the prices hikes, demanding a freeze and a general wage rise to compensate for the price increases of the last year.
Not only transporters use gasoline. We demand a reduction of 3 dollars a gallon for gasoline and a freeze at the national level.
No increase in fares nationwide
That the 4 billion dollars of the debt be used, together with an emergency wealth tax of 10%, the 2 billion dollars of the canal contribution and the 500 million reduction in the budget for Yankee security, be used for a public works plan for the construction or repair of hospitals, schools, housing, roads, bridges, aqueducts and drinking water production, a plan for the maintenance of the forests, beaches, credit and technical aid for poor people involved in agricultural production, livestock, poultry, aquaculture, beekeeping.
This plan must be a state plan, with direct investment in districts and townships, as with Colon, in order to generate jobs, decent jobs, with all their benefits and social security, especially for young people, and within this, for women who are the sector with the highest unemployment in the country, close to 30%, not counting informality.
Enough of femicide. Ni Una menos, Vivas nos queremos (Not One Less. We Want Us Alive). Further proof that the Ministry of Security is looking the other way is the increase in crime and delinquency in the country. Crimes against women for being women (femicides), and now the disappearances of men and women, the latter growing in much greater proportions.
For unity with a programme and plan of struggle, including the preparation of a general strike.
The government and the military of the National Border Service (Senafront) and the National Air and Naval Service (Senan) are trying to impose the ongoing hunger plan on us. The people are impoverished and the anti-people measures of the government lead us to situations of misery. It is necessary that the workers and people’s movement unite with a single programme and plan of struggle that includes the preparation of the general strike. Separated from each other, the government sends the military to repress every protest. It is more necessary than ever to realise the slogan: This struggle is not a struggle of one, this struggle is a struggle of all!
We, the working class, must not pay for the capitalist crisis.