Thousands of Panamanians took to the streets over the past few days to protest against the seemingly unstoppable inflation and Government corruption, while measures offered by the administration of President Laurentino Cortizo regarding the price of fuel and food were deemed insufficient.
Demonstrations began two weeks ago, called by unions and trade organizations in different parts of the country, and reached Panama City.
The Government said it would freeze the price of a dozen products of the basic food basket in addition to a series of measures to reduce the expenses of civil servants as angry protesters carried Panamanian flags and banners reading corruption embezzled my nation or we want honest governors or where is the money.
The unions considered the government's announcements insufficient and people stayed in the streets of the main cities in the country. In Panama City, demonstrators left the downtown Porras Park where they had camped and moved to the doorsteps of the heavily guarded National Assembly.
The cost of living is what keeps the people in the streets, a protester told foreign reporters, while Security Minister Juan Pino launched an appeal for sanity so that social peace prevails over any differences.
The government announced a reduction in the price of fuel at pumps from US$ 5.17 to US$ 3.78 a gallon (3.78 liters), while unions are demanding that the price be further lowered to US$ 3 for a gallon of gasoline, in addition to a generalized reduction in the prices of food, hygiene products, and medicines.
Demonstrations have resulted in a drop in economic activities and also in travel bookings to the country.