Friday, October 07, 2022

Panama: Comprehensive dialogue begins that seeks to stop protests

PANAMA ( Associated Press) – Panama teachers and union leaders agreed on eight priority issues that they began discussing Thursday in a single and comprehensive dialogue table with the government, in a new effort to end protests at high costs. Tried. The life that has rocked the Central American country for three weeks.

These include reducing and freezing fuel and food prices, as well as addressing issues of transparency in public administration and corruption. President Laurentino Cortizo’s government has already announced a price limit of $3.25 per gallon for all citizens as well as freezing gasoline on a range of basic food products, but the measures have quelled discontent in streets and road blocks. not done.

Shortly before the dialogue table began in the afternoon in the central province of Kocale, President Cortizo, as an assistant to the Catholic Church, announced at a press conference during a visit to the region that his government would repeal those two laws. With whom it provided multimillion-dollar tax incentives for the tourism industry, which were questioned amid protests.

He also urged for an end to the blockade again. “These closures are affecting the distribution of food bags in the (indigenous) region, to humble people who have missed their medical appointments, to cancer patients who require chemotherapy treatment and to small producers whose It is necessary to raise a hand. We cannot hurt each other,” he said.

However, Cortizo was not seen coming into the dialogue room, which he opened with a few words from the head of the Catholic Church.

“We meet at the right time even in the midst of a crisis, (although) we know that every crisis is an opportunity to move forward,” said Monsignor José Domingo Ulloa, Archbishop of Panama. “Today we are all part of a historic moment that inspires us to renounce all personal interests, to take safe steps towards change,” he said.

Leaders of teachers, labor unions and social and indigenous organizations promoting the protest, whose catalyst was a sharp rise in fuel and food prices in recent months, participate in the dialogue.

Mobilization and road closures across the country of more than four million residents have left the capital short of food, while the western provinces have faced shortages of fuel and medical, agro-industrial and essential supplies, according to officials.

Protesters agreed on Wednesday night to temporarily clear the main cutoff points of the Pan-American Highway that connects Costa Rica so that trucks carrying food, fuel and supplies can reach their destinations.

However, the caravan with goods was organized by a group of people at one point in the western province of Chiriqui. The transporters told local media that there were armed men and prevented them from moving forward.

The attackers were identified by the Public Ministry, which ordered the arrest of two of them, apparently leading the group. The attorney said in a tweet that the two men would be charged with a crime against the Administration of Justice (apology for the offence) to the detriment of the state of Panama.

After overcoming the crash, a caravan of a hundred trucks with food to supply the country’s main food market in the capital proceeded through the central provinces.

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