August 7, 2022

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Refusal to visit Blinken stands out in Panama

Refusal to visit Blinken stands out in Panama

Once the State Department confirmed the high-ranking official’s stay on April 19-20 to attend a regional meeting on immigration, the National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights (Frenadiso) considered the head of the ministry persona non grata. American diplomacy.

Blinken will participate in the Ministerial Conference on Migration and Protection, which is expected to be attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministers from Latin American and Caribbean countries to discuss measures to ensure safe, orderly and humane migration in the Western Hemisphere.

However, experts question Washington’s rhetoric and claim that it has double standards, because some countries, such as Cuba, are closed to options for this type of immigration, which encourages the use of irregular routes to reach the northern country.

In Panama, other analysts point out that the Washington delegation’s visit takes place a few weeks before the United States lifts border restrictions with Mexico, by repealing a rule that allows immigrants to be expelled immediately, known as Title 42.

They note that this decision may increase the already higher inflows in the first quarter of this year in relation to a similar phase in 2021, according to the records of the National Migration Service (SNM).

From January to March, those reports identified 13,425 people (17 percent of whom were minors) traveled through the Darien Hazardous Forest, bordering Colombia, on their way to the United States, while in 2021, in the same period, 5622 were registered.

The visitor will also meet with President Laurentino Cortizo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Erika Moines.

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The agenda includes a tour of the Panama Canal and talks with representatives of multilateral development banks, international financial institutions and NGOs to assess the economic recovery.

It was Moines who reported on April 3 that Blinken would travel to Panama to participate in a meeting of foreign ministers on immigration issues, but announced that he also planned to analyze the Treaty on Trade Promotion between the two countries, which entered into force in October 2012. .

Panama has expressed to Joe Biden’s administration its interest in addressing the revision of the rate of tariff reduction, after protests from national producers who assert that this standard threatens their shipments and their economic income.

In the past seven days, in the middle of Holy Week, a protest against rising fuel prices and a strike by transport companies from the western province of Panama has become another sign of popular discontent with the mismanagement of the economy by the executive branch.

After days of inactivity on the streets, the drivers at some point gave up and went to the ATTT offices summoned by the governor of that ordination, Cindy Smith, to negotiate a table, but were not heard.

In this sense, protesters held ATTT president Carlos Ordonez responsible for the new lobbying measures, which, they said, were set to ignore the demand to freeze high fuel prices and review existing ticket prices for 11 years. .