Nationwide protests have occurred in Panama since October 23rd because of a mining contract. Protesters want the mining contract, signed on October 20th, repealed.
The large open pit mine on the Caribbean side of Panama covers a vast area in the middle of a rainforest. Protesters claim the mine is destroying the environment. They are also upset that the new contract gives the mine the ability to mine in other areas in Panama, too. Protesters also claim that government corruption (kickbacks) was involved in rushing the mining contract through without transparency.
This is only the second time in 14 years that I have lived in Panama that there has been a nationwide protest. It is not something that happens regularly.
There is a lot of exaggerated and fake news circulating, mostly from drama queens in Panama and news sources outside of Panama.
One person commented, “My husband and I just watched your recording of yesterday’s video providing “boots-on-the-ground” coverage of the protests in the country. I wanted to thank you for taking such a calm and measured approach to the subject and allowing your audience to hear from residents first-hand. It was far and away more informative than the shrill and alarmist videos posted on…..” I won’t name the website, but it’s a lady who thrives on drama.
For accurate news about what’s happening in Panama, follow these Panama news sources on facebook, Instagram, or X:
Trafico Panama (live video of where the roadblocks are)
So, the video below will give you a “boots on the ground” account of what it’s like to live in Panama while these protests go on.
Protests are mostly peaceful, with large groups of people blocking roads and waving the Panama flag throughout Panama. Protests make it very difficult to travel around Panama. Protests have also caused people to miss doctor appointments or cancel trips to the beach or mountains because it was not possible to drive around Panama.
The most affected by the protests were tourists hoping to travel around Panama. And businesses that offer tourist services have been severely affected.
Protests have also made it almost impossible for producers to get their products to market. Gasoline, propane, and other products are not delivered regularly because the roads are blocked.
Protesters announced two days in advance that they were going to protests so those living in areas that could be cut off could stock up on food, gas, propane, and medications. You never know if a protest will last 2 hours 2 days 2 weeks or longer.
Some remote areas like Bocas del Toro, Boca Chica, Las Lajas, and Pedasi have been more affected than others because deliveries are not getting through. Understand that if you live in these areas, supplies can be cut off if there is any protest.
Other remote areas like Rio Sereno, in Chiriqui Province, can quickly drive a few miles to Costa Rica to stock up.
The closer you live to Panama City, the less people have been affected.
It’s a good lesson to pick the area where you live wisely! Or at least be prepared to stock up when a protest is announced. There will always be tradeoffs.
Watch this video of expats sharing their experiences living in Panama during protests.
Since I moved to Panama, this is the largest protest I have seen. Protesters are united and determined to get the mining contract repealed or at least drastically changed.
Many lawsuits have been filed with the Supreme Court claiming the mining contract is unconstitutional.
When will the protests end? No one knows!
We’re waiting on a ruling from the Supreme Court or something from the Panama government that satisfies the protester’s demands so the protests stop.
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