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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

New talks begin to end Panama economic protests

New Talks Begin To End Panama Economic Protests

The Panamanian government and protesters opened a new round of talks on Thursday to try to end more than two weeks of protests that have disrupted food supplies and damaged the economy.

Protesters demanding lower fuel, food and drug prices have blocked important Pan-American Highways and other major roads with blocked trucks and burning tyres, and some clashed with police.

“I have no doubt that through an honest and respectful dialogue, we can reach a viable solution,” President Laurentino Cortizo said during talks at Pennome, southwest of Panama City.

On Sunday, the government and some protesting leaders announced a deal to end the horrific expression of anger of 44 lakh people in the country.

But roadblocks and marches resurfaced this week, as other groups rejected the deal, saying they had not been consulted – prompting the government to agree to a new round of talks mediated by the Catholic Church. inspired to be.

Initiating fresh talks, Cortizo welcomed the lifting of most barriers across the country and appealed to protesters to end the remaining ones to allow economic activity to resume.

On the side of the protesters was the Anadepo coalition of civil groups, labor unions and representatives of indigenous communities.

Luis Sanchez, a leader of the Anadepo, said as the talks began, “We are at this table for the people who are in the streets, those who have been beaten, those who are suffering.”

‘Solid answer’

The protesters are demanding lower prices on basic consumer goods, fuel, energy and medicines, and more spending on public education and health care.

They also want immediate action against corruption amid growing public concern about high official salaries and government waste in times of growing economic hardship.

“We hope the government will respond concretely to the basic needs of the population,” Saul Mendez, general secretary of the Suntrax construction workers union that participated in the rebellion, said before the talks.

Despite its dollar economy and impressive growth figures, Panama has one of the world’s highest rates of social inequality, with poor access to health services, education and clean drinking water in some areas.

The demonstrations have led to severe food and fuel shortages in some parts of the country, and the trade sector says it has caused $500 million in damage.

On Wednesday, a convoy of 200 trucks carrying much-needed food was stopped on a road in Panama City, accompanied by police and members of Suntrack.

Suntrack described Caravan as a “humanitarian” delivery, and unions later denied that they were responsible for its holdup, blaming unspecified “thugs”.

Police said they would ensure that the load arrived safely on Thursday.

Another cut announced last week after the government agreed to lower the price of gasoline to $3.25 a gallon over the weekend – from $5.20 a gallon in June to $3.95 – was not enough to appease protesters.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.`

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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