Panama: trade pact signed amid protests

On June 28, the US and Panamanian governments signed a free trade treaty (TLC) at the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington. The treaty must still be ratified by the legislatures of the two countries. Panamanian grassroots organizations staged protests around the country on June 28 to protest the signing of the trade pact. The demonstrators are demanding that the complete text of the treaty be published, broadly debated and subjected to a popular referendum where the people can decide on it.

In a June 27 communique, the National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights warned that the TLC “represents a mortal blow to the agricultural sector, the total loss of our food sovereignty, the handover of our economy to the big transnational corporations, the creation of new taxes that the people must pay because trade tariffs are eliminated, the free entry of transgenics into the country, the growing costliness of medicines, actions against the environment, new privatizations, the flight of capital and the entry of products without necessary controls, which is a threat to the health of the people.” The Front is preparing a large national mobilization against the TLC in conjunction with other social forces. (Adital, June 28)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 1

See our last posts on Central America and Panama.