Panama Protests Continue to Protest Inflation and Corruption

Nationwide protests continued Tuesday in Panama as anger and frustration grew over rising inflation and government corruption, despite President Laurentino Cortizo’s announcement of price cuts for fuel and some food products. 

On Monday, Cortizo announced a 24 percent price reduction of gasoline for private vehicles starting July 15 and a price freeze of ten essential food products. 

Cortizo, during his televised speech, said that Panama’s economic crisis is due to the “effects of the [Covid] pandemic and the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine”.

According to reports, critics dismissed Cortizo’s claims and blamed the government for corruption and mismanagement. 

On Tuesday, several unions said the price cuts are inadequate and would continue to protest until the country sees a general reduction in prices and gasoline price drop to $3 per gallon. 

Reports said the cost of essential goods has skyrocketed that demonstrations, which started two weeks ago by teacher unions, have now been joined by numerous sectors and impoverished indigenous groups from western Panama. 

On Monday, construction workers started a 24-hour general strike, which froze large parts of the country because of the blockage of ports and highways. 

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