Panama City, July 16 (EFE).- The Panamanian government’s efforts Saturday failed to negotiate with protesters an end to two weeks of stir against the rising cost of living and alleged public corruption.
Protest organizers said the strike would continue along with the negotiations with the government.
Tens of thousands of workers, teachers, students, physicians, and members of social organizations have been rallying across Panama since July 1 to protest President Laurentino Cortizo’s conservative government.
The protesters marched in the capital and blockaded inland roads for two weeks.
The National Alliance for the Rights of the Organized People (Anadepo), a platform that brings together various social movements and trade unions from across diverse sectors, has given the government a list of 32 demands to address the economic, political, and social crises facing the country.
The protests have disrupted food and gasoline supplies, further destabilizing the country.
Vice-President José Gabriel Carrizo met with Anadepo representatives for the second day in the central Veraguas province.
Carrizo also met with other leaders in Chiriqu’s western area to secure an agreement to cease strikes and public protests.
President Cortizo has also initiated talks, which will be mediated by the Catholic Church.
In a statement on Saturday, the church agreed to mediate to end the difficult situation and begin a process to bring “structural change that really makes Panama a fairer and more equitable country.”
Anadepo has stated that it is dissatisfied with the government’s decision to freeze fuel prices at $3.95 per gallon (3.78 liters), which went into effect on Friday.
Protesters want petrol costs capped at $3, the basic food basket reduced and frozen, and general salaries raised.
Since the 1980s, the government has not raised general salaries. EFE