Groups demand Panama govt to comply with dialog pacts
Panama City, Aug 18 (EFE).- The United People for Life Alliance demonstrated Thursday in Panama to denounce the government’s alleged dialog breach to solve a standard of living crisis.
Hundreds of trade unionists, indigenous people and students marched peacefully from the center of the capital to the government house and held a rally to demand that President Laurentino Cortizo complies with the agreed agreements.
Banners reading “dialog is to serve the people or we will be in the streets,” and “If there is corruption, there is no democracy” were held during the march led by the powerful Construction Union and the Confederation of Union.
The dialog “has served to definitively convince the population that those who govern are declared enemies of the population because they defend the interests of the oligopolies, the businessmen, the mafiosi who have taken over the food trade and medicines,” Jorge Guzman, from the National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights, told EFE.
“If there is one thing that has become clear to the people this time, it is that the profound changes we need will not come from the will of businessmen and much less from their governing employees: it will only come from a people tired of putting up with injustices, as happened with their protests and ‘struggles’ last July,” Guzman said.
The high cost of medicine, fuel and food last month caused the biggest protests in decades in Panama, which led the government to install a questionable single dialog table with unions to agree on price reduction measures.
At the roundtable, which began on Jul. 21, parties agreed on the freezing and price control of 72 foods in the basic basket, as well as the official commitment to raise the education budget to 6 percent of the gross domestic product.
The government lowered and froze the price of fuel at $ 3.25 per gallon (3.78 liters), triggered by the international crisis and which reached more than $ 6, in a failed attempt to appease the protests, which ceased at the end of July after the installation of the dialog.
In addition, the government endorsed the recommendation of a technical table and authorized the temporary reduction of 30 percent in the price of 170 medicines for regular use in Panama, one of the countries with the highest costs in medicines in the region. EFE