In the cruel Patio Andaluz, prisoners of oblivion, the herons, yearn for the skies and rivers which once were theirs and free. Here in the Patio Andaluz the lives of captivity herons are very short, and when dying, they drop the white of their wings on the facades of this senseless prison which to others tenants too, apart from the herons, it may extinguish “with feverish restlessness” their freedom illusions. An important lesson we learn from the sad life of this candid and beautiful bird just because for some mysterious reason its name is attached to the name of our first national building: “El Palacio de las Garzas”, The Palace of Herons. Referring maybe to both, captive as well as free herons?
Almost everyone here in Panama acts in real life in a very anti-institutional and individualistic way and President Martinelli for acting accordingly is being severely questioned and condemned by our media and general public opinion, maybe because President Martinelli had been the most powerful top administration executive in our history.
This authoritarian syndrome which mainly affects the President is the result of a forty five years process of parallel weakening of two very important social institutions: first, the aptness to render services of our public administration staff and, second, the absence of an adequate mind set of our people and of our organized political parties to comply with normal labor responsibilities and to respect basic common public interests.
At the time senior Torrijos took over the control of the government in 1968 the Republic of Panama after many years of political, social and economic instability reached the lowest level in history in terms of political, social and economic chaos. Some years after, in order to face that national tragedy there was a very wise and first step answer designed in the National Development Project of the mid seventies, which proposed a complete overhaul of the Republic of Panama based on the creation of a strong public education system to strengthening civic and social values, and highly professional work performance.
Too early even during the life of senior Torrijos this basic revival national project faded away against the devastating blast of individual egotistic forces and entrepreneurial business interests over the most basic common needs of society.
The spectacular growth of Panama for the next forty five years distinguishes us as an oddity among the nations of the continent as a sweeping strengthening of private and individualistic dynamism, even though this successful quantitative growth occurs in the presence of a persistent process of weakening of public service efficiency and the almost extinction of social justice and equality. During these forty five years of unstoppable change the most dominant of all forces had been the increasing power of decision of the President of the Republic.
But the most tragic feature of this situation is NOT the undeniable fact that the President, that is, all Presidents of Panama since the time of Torrijos senior, is absolutely empowered by law and tradition to do what he wants, but the other second undeniable fact which is really more tragic, that is, the spectacular economic growth of Panama is marked by severe inequalities and social injustices, and a lethal collapse of basic public services.
This misfortune still persists and more than ever it is an urgent necessity that calls for a comprehensive solution, so it is time to rescue the original visual angle of the 1970s National Development Project. Whose basic premise was the creation of a highly professional public educational system to substantiate real economic equity, social justice and professional delivery of services of public utility, Panama needs this kind of answer urgently. But there is a catch. In Panama the opulent minority is well protected from the majority claims for a better distribution of wealth and income by the total absence of government check and balances practices. And for these reasons the President of Panama is obviously the only unquestionable source of power of last resort.
The whole country is managed by an uncivilized way to conserve and increase inequality, which feeds the opulent minority by means of depriving the majority of the opportunities and redistribution of wealth and income that a well founded professional education system could provide.
Everybody knows is pure evil and cruelty to sustain our opulent richness of the few with our disgraceful misery of the majority and that being President of Panama is a basic component for the survival or extinction of this terrible, systemic and perverse reality.
But anyway today that kind of barbarism is what we have, and I hope that the actual mean character of being the President of Panama as a supreme despotic leader will change for the better, some day.