Teachers were the first to protest Panama’s cost of living crisis. Followed by construction workers, students, and indigenous groups. Many are struggling to afford basic goods, medicine, and food. Fuel prices have gone up by almost 50% in January alone, with prices at the end of June at $5.75 a gallon. Unemployment is at 10% and inflation was at 4.2% in May. Protestors demand that the government lower fuel prices, and put a cap on the price of basic goods. If this doesn’t happen the protesters will continue to block Panama’s infrastructure. [source]
KJ 1: It is likely that the Panama protests will continue to grow until the demands are met.
- Protesters have said that they will continue to protest until the government meets all of their demands. Anger among protesters is rising as they feel the government are not addressing the serious socio-economic problems in the country. A huge lack of government reform to help reduce a large rich-poor gap in the country. [source]
- The blockade on the Pan-American highway is causing food shortages in Panama’s major cities. This could cause more anger and hardship on for the population, leading to more demonstrations. [source]
- The Panama protests and the crisis are affecting more people every day leading to the protests growing in number. Those affected are students, impoverished communities, and service providers like bus and taxi drivers, and construction workers. [source]
KJ 2: It is highly likely that the demonstrations are negatively affecting Panama’s economy.
- 80% of Panama’s fruit and vegetables travel along the Pan-American highway negatively affecting many Panamanian businesses. The Pan-American highway is a key link between Panama and other Central American countries, all of whom are struggling to cope. [source]
- Blocking the highway is stopping goods getting to the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal is a huge source of income for Panama and a useful link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. If Panamanian goods can’t access it then Panama’s businesses and economy will start to lose out. [source]
- Many of the other Central American countries use the Pan-American highway to transport goods to the Panama Canal for export. This blockade will only reduce trust in the Panamanian government for its neighbours who will be looking for Panama to fix its own problem to reduce their struggles.
KJ 3: It is likely that the police will get involved if the government can’t solve the social issues.
- Panama’s economy was growing but this prosperity did not filter down to the poorer levels of society. A lot of the protesters are demanding that the government do more to reduce corruption and build a fairer society. [source]
- So far the police has only used tear gas, but it could get more violent as tensions increase. We could see an increase in violence as food and medicine becomes more difficult to access and tensions boil over. [source]
- Food, basic goods, and medicine are unavailable in most places leading to increasing anger amongst the protestors. The government has to address this before the protests will stop. Until then anger over the government’s methods for fixing the country’s problems will continue. [source]
intelligence Cut-Off Date 9 August 2022