Tag Archives: racism-in-Panama

The Not-So-Free Zone

Unlike today, racism was really never talked about in our social circles, although it was an evil that was always at the center of our collective frustration as black Panamanian youth. The political and commercial bourgeoisie of the times, with their marginalizing power, maintained a stressful undercurrent of damaging rumors that had always beset particularly the City of Colon filling the media and the social climate with derogatory epithets like “Chombo City”  etc., especially with regards to the West Indian blacks; this was in addition to referring to Panamanian West Indians always as the “foreigners.” Continue reading

Speak Spanish!

Image thanks to thoughtfulindia.com

Image thanks to thoughtfulindia.com

We West Indian Panamanians are remarkable survivors and pretty soon I was socializing freely with the rest of the youth at Abel Bravo giving the school that singular air of Panamanian-ness.  Only in Panama could you find this mixture of people all living and trying to study harmoniously under one roof. That is, until racism would start to rear its ugly head. Continue reading

A Big Difference

The RAE dictionary like this one is something we wish we had in the library. Image.

The RAE dictionary like this one is something we wish we had in the library. Image.

Our holiday at the beach was brief and my companions from Abel Bravo dropped me off at the stairway entrance to my building at the close of the day. I found my mother in good spirits, for a change, and talking with some of the neighbors about her son in “Abel Bravo College.”   It was, in fact, the highest level of public education accessible to all humble households throughout the province of Colon at the time, as I explained before.  I started taking note of the differences between Abel Bravo and my former school, The Instituto Nacional, in small and large ways. Continue reading

Fernando Johnson, a Hero for the Silver People of Panama

Fernando Johnson, veteran Red Cross worker and leader. May he rest in peace. Image thanks to La Prensa.

In the recent disastrous flooding that plagued several districts in Panama including the Province of Colon, it took more than 84 hours and legions of panamanian and international volunteer rescuers to locate the automobile that Fernando Johnson and Jorge Aleman, both lifetime volunteer profesional rescuers of the City and province of Colon, were traveling in.

According to the seven witnesses who survived this tragedy on November 25th, on the road at La Quebrada Ancha specifically at La Curva del Cebo, the road opened up and swallowed the pickup the Red Cross rescue crew was being transported in. Just before the vehicle sank under the tons of mud, rock and incessant rain, however, Fernando Johnson’s warning- and probably his last words on earth, rang out, “¡Salten, muchachos, que nos hundimos!,” – “Jump boys…we are sinking!” Continue reading

The Problem of Culture in Panama

This is a sample cartelera from a Latin American tour. Image from holidayonice.com

Right now I am involved in workshops at the National Assembly’s Commission on Education, Culture and Sports to hammer out a law (Proyecto de Ley #416) that would transform our beleaguered and under-funded INAC (Instituto Nacional de Cultura) into a full Ministry.  It was long overdue in my opinion. Continue reading

Another Blow to Panama’s Image

Image thanks to bloguez.com

In today’s headlines here in Panama we received yet another blow to the image of our beloved Panama in our foreign relations.  The case revolves around the Embassy of Panama in Brazil.  We leave you, our respected readers, to formulate your own opinions about this grave matter.  We’ve translated the La Prensa article but, you may read the original in Spanish here. Continue reading