Analysis of the eco-environmental situation in Panama

Analysis of the eco-environmental situation in Panama

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By Olmedo Carrasquilla II

Faced with the global reality expressed through energy conflicts, a result of scarcity and the liberal market, in recent decades the hegemonic axes of international capital have been consolidated. Latin America and Panama do not escape from that scenario, where the law of economic force has prevailed.


The current analysis, the product of research and social pedagogical resources, shows a series of activities of different sizes, which we have classified into Social Ecological Situation and Urban Environmental Situation. Obeying the universal research parameters, we present this Popular Tool without falling into rigorous technical interpretations in order to share said information, which leads to reflection and action in defense and construction of critical thinking by society and people in the countryside.

Therefore, it must be constituted in data that determine the veracity that other sources and media do not test and practice in the good office of raising citizen awareness for the environment in which we live. Especially with the lack of a transformative education and commercial communication media that immobilize the civil commitment on the national task.

However, we make the exception that the nature of the ecological struggle and defense leads to other working methods other than the claims and changes of social movements, due to the dimensions in which the ecosystem is presented, but not independent of the social question, in which the market and capital submit not only the people but also their green environment.


Faced with the global reality expressed through energy conflicts, a result of scarcity and the liberal market, in recent decades the hegemonic axes of international capital have been consolidated. Latin America and Panama do not escape from this scenario, where the law of economic force has prevailed, putting our ecological sovereignty at risk and feeding it through the formulas and prices that each biological life cycle plays for the market. Sample of these, we can perceive it in the media with the announcements and developmental propaganda that promotes the discourse of salvation, even more so with the vulgar diffusion of saving the planet from the destruction of the climate and its insecure promises of conservation projects.

On indistinct occasions we have stated that the current problem is not a demographic product of the continents or a shortage of human needs as the rulers say, but rather of development models that have never been met in the ethical creation of a country, of managing at the macro its economy independent of the traditional opinions of the super industrial countries, which in reality are the cause of natural conflicts, health and bio-human security. Special mention can be made of our continent, where the rhetoric of development has become the vitamin of the continuity of the third world and its political recipes of worn-out economies, whose failures are attributed to the different generations from indigenous peoples to the western hodgepodge current.

Even with traditional problems such as poverty, discrimination and exclusion, the figure of free market exploitation and looting enters this scenario, which in past decades was applied to a lesser extent but with an impact of death and extermination, but now formally and diplomatically by transnationals, financial corsairs and hitmen. Such a situation, perceived as facing globalization, in our region megaprojects without borders came into force, such as the Puebla Panama PPP Plan and the Free Trade Agreements, which have generated greater poverty and insecurity due to social despair, increasing the rates crime and ecological conflicts.

Panama, due to its territorial location and service economy, has become the seat of these calamities that the region is experiencing, but knowing the resources or rather natural assets that it possesses, it continues without a compass in a true development that leads to participation and citizen consultation in building an economy of equity and balance with the ecosystem. An issue that we can perceive in the actions and social pressures that thousands of indigenous and peasant men and women carry out daily in the face of energy policies and disparate wealth in the concessions of hydroelectric projects, open-pit mining, imported tourism and dismantling of the rich vegetation that it represents our national biological identity.

The risks increase due to the mechanisms used by companies such as: xenophobia in labor relations that consortia agree on with foreign labor, in the displacement of families that have maintained the wealth of traditions all their lives, the disappearance of archaeological sites, the annihilation of niches and habitats of thousands of native and unique species of birds, marine mammals, wild plants, and the dilation of the biological cycle as the gradual loss of territory and its value. Among these consequences is the government silence and the absurd decisions of the environmental protection authorities without scientific and social basis of the damage to green areas. Which ignores human rights, natural conservation rights and international rights in the field of ecological heritage protection.

Social ecological situation

a- Mining exploitation
More than two (2) decades ago the mining activity had its first boom due to the international economy, which Panama with a large percentage of land everywhere, represented a rich deposit for exploitation and export. Everything was due to financial capital and its exercise in the circulation and valuation of the great cities of the world as they evaluated the ounce or carats. Without guarantees, the national economic reversal and the decline of the financial crisis on the eve of the 1990s, and the growing external debt, mining activity stagnated.

Once again, the rise of gold and other metals of importance for the war industry, takes up the dynamics of exploring and extracting different minerals that in the past were not fulfilled due to the exposed situation. But this time, with new methods of technological exploitation that starts from satellite radiographs to record metal-rich areas and inventory different mining companies that require mega equipment that in their daily execution destroy even the adjacent areas of vegetation and towns. And these operations reach an unsafe labor regime that the workers themselves expose themselves to the danger of contagion from the chemicals used, such as cyanide due to the open-air nature of exploitation. Currently the ounce of gold is in a thousand dollars.

Other modes of exploitation companies are the criminal and judicial records that sectors in other countries have aired, and that in Panama they have threatened, harassed and persecuted those who oppose said projects. But first, distributing and promising improvements to the quality of life as an agile way to implement their works. Thus, we can observe it in the sponsorships and sponsorships to different activities and community needs that range from sports equipment, infrastructure to local governments, festivals and cultural events, giving a price to our autochthonous identity.

This is another of the evidences of how the communities are divided between the crumbs for the moment and the defenders of hope, where other actors without moving their tongues also help the affirmative silence that the benefit will be brought by the operating company, is the case of the sects and prophetic banners.

According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, 25 permits have been granted for said operations regardless of the demands imposed on the courts, this is the case of Petaquilla, in which three (3) have been aired by environmental organizations and communities.

This is due to the scope of conflicting interests that represents a risk in all its senses such as in the labor and union regime, of the location within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and the gains reflected in the different transnational and political actors that have silenced and manipulated the legal actions imposed by those affected. This is the specific case of the statements of the director of ANAM Ligia Castro, who was awaiting the ruling of the Supreme Court of justice, meanwhile the company continued with operations and requesting more hectares of land.

But, what to expect regarding the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) indicated by Law 41 of June 1, 1998, which collides with the mining and foreign investment law, prevailing the one with the highest income for the economy, leaving no effect all international pacts and commitments of ecological protection. As the due consultations through forums, which as a legal order must be complied with, and not in the handling and transfer of homeless people in the area.

The same method has also been used in the township of Plan de Corcha, Cerro Pelado, Cerro Caballo in the Comarca Ngöbe Büglé, Río Tigre in Chepo, Cerro Quema in Los Santos, Cerro Colorado, the reopening of the Santa Rosa mine in Cañazas and others to be registered and published by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MICI). And many times violating these legal formalities, later being discovered by the communities with the trails and markings that the company carries out.

But a very specific note is the effort of the Soná district in Veraguas, whose voice of alert marked the beginning of organizing and disseminating all protest actions until the councilors declared this district free of exploration and mining exploitation, which was issued to through Municipal Agreement No. 41 of August 10, 2007 (Mayor's Office of Soná, Veraguas).

b- Water exploitation projects
Other activities of great impulse and of greater concession are hydroelectric through reservoirs and dams due to the hydrography that is composed of Panama, which meet the requirements of channel and location for the infrastructures that interconnect with power plants such as the Interconnection System Electricity of the Central American countries (SIEPAC) which is one of the axes of the Puebla Panama Plan (PPP) that does not constitute any remedy for the communities in resistance and for the national economy.

Especially when in Panama there is no energy crisis and the increase in the rise of fossil fuel that puts these regulations before it.

However, ANAM has promoted its position with regard to electricity generation, which micro hydroelectric plants do not exceed global pollution indices, but in practice it is the opposite, since companies in their Environmental Impact Studies (EIA ) pass the clean energy regulations determined by the Kyoto Protocol.

Certainly, a peasant or indigenous person does not have a dollar to pay for such an unnecessary service that does not represent a solution to their needs.

But what more struggle if these communities are struggling between life and the exploitation of their lands and rivers, that with the absent ombudsman and real authorities, homes are violated daily, women and their children are repressed until they are taken to barracks that do not They are more than psychic torture.

This is the case of the Naso people who reject the hydroelectric initiatives of the AES Panamá company in the generation of 223 megawatts in Changuinola, specifically in the community of Charco La Pava adjacent to the Palo Seco Protective Forest, created by Decree No. 25 of 28 September 1983, which functions as a buffer area for La Amistad International Park (PILA), which for years has shown a faithful commitment to conservation and which were previously declared as communities that defend nature because of the way they carry out their life.

But through Decree No. 71 of June 1, 2006, residents would benefit from stating that "cooperating families of the Palo Seco Protective Forest may request permits to develop activities for subsistence purposes."

And it is that while the decree initially spoke that the Government "is empowered to deny the occupation and allocation of lands in those areas that are reserved for purposes of public utility", with the modification it was established that "within the Protective Forest of Palo Seco various activities are carried out, both for the generation of renewable energy and for the sustainable use of forest resources ".

For the company representatives, this is not an eviction, but rather a resettlement of the 159 families (856 people) who will have to abandon their farms as a result of the project.

A year after the decree was modified, on May 23, 2007 the National Environmental Authority (Anam) signed the contract with Aes Changuinola for the concession of 6,215 hectares within the Palo Seco Protective Forest.

Current situation is lived in the Cobre river in Veraguas, where the bombs and police repression were present when peasants demanded the presence of the environmental and local authorities for the infringing permit that the Public Services Authority (ASEP) granted for the fifth time another period to present EIAs. This struggle of the Peasant Movement in Defense of the Río Cobre (MOCAMDERCO) has more than 6 years since I saw the arrival of the company to the area.

However, another of the struggles belongs to the April 10 Movement (M10) that has been against the Tabasara 1 and Tabasara 2 projects for more than 10 years, that is, the same riverbed with two dams. This example of community organization has given support to other resistance such as: in the Santa María river, Cañazas river, Narices river in Santa Fé, Gatú river and Grande river in Coclé which constitute the United Front for the Defense of the Ecosystem (FUDECO) and that represent the Panamanian Antirepresas Network at an international level.

But the argument of the supposed clean energy by ANAM, has accelerated the EIAs and concessions as an expedited way for the projects, but it has become a disguise to hide the interests of political entrepreneurs in the business of such activities. Giving concessions in Gualaca, Gualaquita, Chiriquí Viejo river, Piedra river, Caldera and others in the province of Chiriquí as stated by ANAM in which 22 and 25 have been approved in process.

Thus, Chiriquí has ​​seven hydroelectric plants, Fortuna being the one with the highest generation with 300 megawatts. Estí, Los Valles and La Estrella that produce 120, 48 and 42 respectively.

Other projects are: Macho de Monte 2.3 megawatts; Hidrodolega 3.1 and Arkapal with 675 kilowatts. Together they add up to an approximate 516 megawatts, Algarrobos 11.2 megawatts; I will have 20 megabytes; Concepcion of 8.7 megawatts; Paso Ancho of 12.4 and El Síndigo of 10, Baitún in Renacimiento would generate 70 megawatts and that of Monte Lirio in the same district would contribute 51 megawatts.

If all the projects were approved, Chiriquí's electricity generation would increase the system by 797 new megawatts.

The preliminary bill 278 is another of the citizen concerns about the national water resource, acquiring the character of merchandise and violating a service that is necessary and that it is urgent to reach thousands of families due to the expansion of runaway urbanism and poor planning of housing policies.

Therefore, it is worrying that this draft does not expressly recognize the right that everyone has to oppose the granting of a water concession of up to 60 years.

For example, reading Article 37 of the Draft Law 278 means that the granting of permits for the exploration of groundwater, an activity that involves drilling the soil, is not conditioned to the presentation and prior approval of an Impact Study. Environmental.
Evident proof of the review and application methods in the granting of water exploitation by transnationals, which require for the same greater guarantee through reforms to the national water service law as they have been carried out in Bolivia, Costa Rica and other regions.

c- Unbridled tourism
We can define runaway tourism, import, extermination, residential, cement and wall all enrichment projects and real estate speculation without a legal order that protects the natural, archaeological and human heritage. Since the implementation of the insular law Law No. 2 of January 7, 2006, the concessions for investment and the alienation of insular territory for the tourism industry are regulated, that is, the demarcation of areas that will be subject to administrative concessions.

The entire Atlantic region will be affected by this type of tourism, it is the situation of Bocas del Toro with Red Frog Beach Club, Hotel Playa Tortuga, Mar Caribe Beach Resort & Marina Mar Caribe Beach Resort & Marina, Sunset Point, Damani Beach and Paradise Dreams. Archipelagos, aquifers, mangroves, buffer zones and marine habitat will be harmed as in the area of ​​Chame, Antón (Boca Nueva, Los Azules and Arenas Blancas), San Carlos, Galeta Point, La Barqueta in Chiriquí and others where the landscape aesthetically configured with cement.

These facts cannot be divorced from social affectations, because they are territories where different cultures of production, art and beauty develop that thousands of men and women carry out despite being excluded.

Taking into account social inequalities, we do not leave discrimination and xenophobia to the legendary communities that are part of the national population and represent the indigenous culture of our internal countryside when they are not part of the millionaire foreign atom.

d- Fossil fuel exploration and refinery

With the implementation in the country of an energy policy aimed at the depredation of our natural, productive and social resources based on the transnational demand for energy, reiterated in the official document National Policy of Hydrocarbons and Alternative Energies of 2005 makes it official to convert the country in an Energy Hub. In other words, an energy link area with the rest of the regions of the continent and the global economy. $ 1,070 million for the Energy Center of the Americas.

The official ideals will aggravate the reality of visible environmental impacts of the oil company in Panama, such as those generated by the increase in the vehicular fleet of cities near the interoceanic transit zones (metropolitan) that consume more than 60% of the derivatives that the country consumes, which a large part is made up of vehicles with more than 5 years in circulation, which produces air pollution that exceeds the rates set by the World Health Organization (WHO), marking 1,403 micrograms (mmg) per cubic meter (nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxide, and suspended particles), when the WHO limit is 260 mmg3 (University of Panama, Report 2006. Analysis Center).

The same dynamics of interoceanic transport that transfers, stores and trades hydrocarbons has produced more than 300 spills and discharges that cause the contamination of our Coasts to range from 2.8 mg / L to 7.5 mg / L, contamination levels above international standards permissible (ANAM, URS Holdings, Inc. Scientific and Technical Study, Marine and Coastal Waters. January 2005).
It is to cite the crime against nature, food sustenance, human rights and the health of the coastal communities of the Chiriquí Grande district produced by the oil spill of 60,000 gallons or 210,000 in the facilities of the Petroterminales de Panamá company ( PTP). Almost more than 740 hectares in the sea have been contaminated. PTP and ANAM have not made a serious public report.

The Panamanian State has not officially evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively the environmental impacts of the oil transfer, storage and refining industry of the last forty years so that it could now plant the country in a Regional Energy Hub. Which reveals a significant degree of irresponsibility in environmental management.

It is worrying that the government continues to sell as development the fact that transnational companies with large refinery, storage and transfer projects are established in the country, one in Puerto Armuelles, Chiriquí Province at the hands of the notorious North American transnational Occidental Petroleum (OXY) . In Maria Chiquita, Province of Colón, another North American transnational, the Dutemp Corporation, in association with other transnationals. The company Centro Energético de las Américas joins this dynamic with its project from Maria Chiquita to the Taboga or Taboguilla islands. These works, wherever they arise, will seriously affect strategic protected areas, places of socioeconomic and cultural coexistence of our communities, further destroying the real productive potential of the country.

As well as the electric power market, the idea that increasing the refinement, storage and transfer of crude oil in the country will lower costs is totally false, because the capital is private and not state-owned, and the energy hub is a necessity raised by the transnational oil economy that gobbles up more hydrocarbons every day. What is still true is that the Energy Hub only has serious environmental impacts on the country.

e- Violation and insecurity of natural parks and wild plant reserves
In recent months there has been an increase in complaints about the transfer of wood in different parts of the national geography, but the most surprising note has been the behavior of ANAM in the permits, knowing the need to protect forests and jungles, and these protected by laws of natural parks and reserves, which are considered as filters for the generation of carbon dioxide that affects the climate so much.

Similar situation as the Amazon is lived, but not far we can attend the Darien region where daily huge tucas or large diameter trunks considered as long-lived native trees are mercilessly extracted from the environment to trade in the luxury industry and greed.

Going through other areas, the logging and green destruction is often at first glance, which leaves large gaps and desert beaches, increasing the temperature never felt by the inhabitants of said areas. All because of turning our landscapes into synthetic portraits, into concrete projects, also for grazing, and to exterminate pests, which for us are parts of wild animal life.
But specifically it is the Santa Fé Park in Veraguas that suffers the three (3) plagues of destruction: mining, dams and runaway tourism where there are intermediaries who cheat and take advantage of the ignorance of the inhabitants in the colonial style, and who local authorities and laws do not exist. The same occurs with the Palo Seco Protective Forest that belongs to the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve and which is also a buffer area of ​​the La Amistad International Park, a World Heritage Site, where the dam industry to the right and left has invaded and appropriate in concubinage with the corregidores, mayor and governor of Changuinola. And what to expect from the Barú Volcano Park, who have proceeded for the same reason and who for some years fought against the opening of a highway specifically in Boquete.

In this sense, Panama cannot declare itself an environmental leader, because at the level of regional commitment it has not been able to stop the mining that leads to the annihilation of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in the Petaquilla region, located in the Donoso district of Colón.

But not only this region is in danger, there are complaints of violations of marine parks such as Coiba, which came out successfully from the crossroads of the limitations for industrial tuna fishing, of the Pearl Archipelago, a target for the oil industry and tourism of the drug trafficking, as well as Bocas del Toro and buffer areas such as Isla Escudo de Veraguas and others located in Kuna Ayala.

All these violations entail the dilation of animal life processes, scientific study for conservation, and for the biosphere in the face of the greenhouse effect.

Urban environmental situation

a- Pollution by carbon dioxide, industrial spills and organic waste
After the Conference against Climate Change held in Bali, Indonesia and the massive dissemination on the causes and consequences, there is no need to wait for the governments with the greatest generation of carbon dioxide to step out in their defense of the industry and their development plans. However, voices from other latitudes emerged, it is the case of Panama that in the last meeting where the Kyoto Protocol was born, they did not have a defined participation, and that this time they announced some initiatives for CO2 emissions, but without any relevance. to the immediate cases of clean energy in relation to mining, hydroelectric plants and urban pollution by smog and industrial processes.

In Panama the car population increases every year, and this in turn at an accelerated rate represents an impediment to free transit through the roadblocks or dams in the streets and avenues of the city, turning into mobile chimneys leaving large indexes in their wake of carbon dioxide pollution. Out of every 10 families, 6 have 1 to 2 cars, add the business vehicles, cargo vehicles and all rolling equipment that uses fossil fuel, which circulate without regulation. An example of the entry of cars into circulation, and not of distribution for Central America, can be seen in the giant car beaches adjacent to the Panama Canal.

In addition to these contaminations, there is the lack of road safety education where the desperation for the roadblocks breaks the courtesy and patience of those who travel physically or by bicycle, and that there is never a lack of sound equipment, horns and whistles with high resonance affecting the good harmony of the city and health of the people. If we want to overcome this crisis, we must replace it with a culture and citizen education that can reduce the gases generated by cars by cycling and walking with good safety, which leads to a healthy environment and clean air.

But this commitment must be regulated by moral and legal norms, which also control the industrial processes that are denounced daily for toxic wastes of great impact that alter the waters and drains that negatively revert to the collapsed sewer system and the Bay of Panama, which Nowadays it is financially debated without concrete results in these 10 years in which the trades for it were created.

All this raises uncertainty and questioning from any political point of view when there are floods caused by arteries of sewage covered with garbage of all kinds of matter and useless magnitude, all due to the lack of an environmental education policy that goes from the ethical commitment of the rulers to the very individual who unconsciously throws the garbage through which he travels.

So it is necessary to implement an education of organic recycling, plastic and glass (eg Tocumen Airport) that can be the object of rejection for other dynamics of sustainable development and entry to people in such need. But before the commitment, it must be born from the concern of thousands of residents who no longer see the Cerro Patacón landfill as a solution to the high degree of waste that they throw and burn, producing giant curtains of carbon dioxide throughout Panama City.

Thus we will avoid outbreaks of epidemics, diseases and unpleasant odors that could spread without mercy from the rich and the poor.

b- Megaprojects vs. Green and public areas
Previously we exposed the different urban contamination, but without leaving aside the financial boom and real estate speculation to turn Panama into a paradise like Paris, Miami and continental metropolises, the propaganda by all public media has left the city lined and visually contaminated with billboards and posters regardless of the moral and visibility of the historical, environmental and citizen environment. All to convince and promise better lives in the comfort of the god of money and money laundering by drug traffickers and criminals with open antecedents in other countries.

This market is notable for the performance of private and foreign companies raising architectural models of skyscrapers to be closer to God, which interrupt the panoramic and aesthetic of some parks and green areas that remain.

Product of the speculative advent that is destroying different scenes of sculptures and historical infrastructures of medieval and colonial baroque style that have represented the faithful testimony of culture and national life.

This is the case of the Balboa boardwalk crushed by the Cinta Costera and buildings such as: Ice Tower, Torres de las América and others that have no background relevance for the solution of traffic and the Bay of Panama.
All a controversy for dividing the interests that go from the deputies and executive layacos producing laws without bases and supposed legal acts that are nothing more than disguises to comply with the formalities and avoid voices of disagreement. Verdaderos artistas del malabarismo.

Y de que esperar de las fortalezas y palacios diplomáticos y gubernamentales que arremeten con todas las áreas protegidas y conservación como fue Parque Metropolitano y Camino de Cruces por la Ley No. 10 de 30 de marzo de 2006, en donde el Presidente de la Asamblea de Diputados Elías Castillo pago al mejor postor de destino y herencia. Actualmente la decisión esta en manos de la Corte Suprema de Justicia.

Así vemos como se van las esperanzas de los niños y niñas de crecer en un ambiente sano y de libre esparcimiento, vemos las distintas especies de animales urbanos que deleitan a los transeúntes y turistas, como vemos cambiar los colores de nuestra auténtica ciudad por el color de la plata. Como convierten nuestra ciudad verde en vías y terminales de petróleo, químicos, capitales y drogas perdiendo así la moral y las puertas de la humanidad y la paz social y ecológica.

c- Carencia de espacios y manejo animal
Con una legislación carente de juicios críticos y un plan de prevención y sanción animal, es otro de los males que aquejan a la ciudadanía ante los maltratos, abandono y muerte de muchos animales tanto domésticos como salvajes. Que sufriendo la consecuencia de la caza, turismo y expansión comercial se ven altamente acorralados sin refugio que sostenga su vivencia por las escasas áreas verdes que ya están al borde de desaparecer. Es por ejemplo especies salvajes como los osos perezosos y aves exóticas en la ciudad de Panamá. O puede ser el exterminio masivo de mapaches en Costa del Este por la edificación inmobiliaria.
Como a la captura de delfines para exportación y explotación turística por la empresa Ocean Embassy en San Carlos.

Pero al igual que esas especies esta las domésticas que por los años su vejez requiere cuido y gastos de alimentación y medicina, la cual muchas veces son abandonas. Causando en el entorno estragos y hasta incertidumbre a los conductores. Muchas veces son secuestrados para convertirlos en carnadas y alimento para crías salvajes hasta para alimento en otros países. Todo un desorden convertido al desprecio y a la falta de amor a otras especies animadas que son un legado hasta parte del equilibrio ecológico del planeta.

Abogamos por una política de conservación y manejo de animales en abandono, que financieramente no representa un gasto público para el gobierno, sino que contribuye a la legislación penal a prevenir y que a su vez compromete a los civiles resguardar su hábitat y el entorno urbano.

d- Impactos del Canal de Panamá
Se ha dicho en reiteradas ocasiones que Panamá por su posición geográfica representa una estrategia para el comercio y la circulación de capitales que supuestamente inyecta a la economía de Panamá. Pero en las últimas décadas se ha convertido en puente del trasiego y blanqueo de capitales del narcotráfico. Pero muchas veces no vemos y que por lo general no divulgan es el tránsito de naves y buques con desechos tóxicos y nucleares en grandes toneladas que por un accidente puede expandirse y alcanzar un radio de dos (2) kilómetros, o sea más allá de la ciudad de Panamá matando toda especie de vida. Esto ha causado demandas internacionales que sus resultados han sido cargados al gobierno por el riesgo y por la falta de cumplimiento a las leyes nacionales y convenios de protección y manejo marítimo.

Sin embargo, otras de las peculiaridades es la demanda de tránisto de los buques Post – Panamax por el Canal, la que en el Referéndum como consulta popular celebrado el 22 de octubre del 2006 se convierto ilegitimo para su ampliación por el abstencionismo y rechazo, producto de un debate coherente, divulgativo y razonado por el gobierno y la Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP).

A más de un año, a carecido de un plan de divulgación de los avances, pero ya anunciadamente sostuvimos que se trata de convertir este proyecto en catapulta de la especulación, concesiones ilícitas y chanchullos por los billones financiado por transnacionales de países súper poderosos explotando, saqueando, endeudando y exterminando con sus guerras de recursos naturales y humanos.

Como podemos ver muchos casos de licitaciones que la formalidad los cubre, pero que de fondo se trata injustificados juicio de valor y razonamiento investigativo y ejecutivo, todo lo podemos observar con informes cortina en la revista El Faro y programas televisivos como El Canal al Día, en donde engañan y confunde con su tecnicismo y momentos de alegrías captado en ese instante por una cámara. Ya después se pierde esa felicidad y todo volvemos a ser pobres.

Caso especifico lo podemos señalar en el foro sobre los Estudios de Impacto Ambiental (EIA) que no contó con la participación de la sociedad civil, pero si de los que reciben tajadas para aplaudir y abalar sin fundamento esta responsabilidad nacional y de compromiso con la consecuencia de este juego de esclusas que va desbastando árboles y animales salvajes perteneciente a un ecosistema históricamente dividido desde el siglo pasado que aun es considerado rico por la fuerza como mantiene distintos nichos.

Puntos de convergencia de los conflictos socio ambiental

Métodos de apropiación para los proyectos son iguales, no importa cual sea.
La incompetencia del gobierno y especialmente del ANAM.
La falta de base científica social de una legislación en materia ambiental.
Las contradicciones de la legislación ambiental con la de inversión extranjera y de los servicios públicos.
La falta de compromiso de organismos internacionales.
La no ratificación del convenio 169 de la OIT sobre los pueblos indígenas.
La intransigencia y parcialidad de los medios de comunicación.


No podemos ejercer solo esta radiografía de la situación ecoambiental en Panamá, sin compartir algunas acciones que podamos constituir en otra forma de defender y proteger a través de la educación, divulgación e incidencia política.

En nuestra conducta y el deber diario debe prevalecer el ejemplo que acompañado de una pedagogía social podamos interpretar y transformar a través de redes que van desde la niñez hasta los adultos en todo espacios como los barrios, escuelas, en las áreas rurales y rincones de la ciudad.

Por que no solo debemos a pegarnos a remedios tecnológicos, leyes, indemnizaciones o subsidios a quien elabore productos amigables con el ambiente. Todas estas medidas han tenido un éxito relativo, lo cierto es que la situación ambiental del planeta es cada vez peor y cada vez más irreversible.

Algunas acciones pueden ser:

1. Crear espacio de debate y acciones colectivas que sirva a organizar campañas, visitas radiales, conferencia y talleres sobre la importancia y el deber de proteger el planeta en todas sus dimensiones. Para lograr esto se deben crear espacios de aprendizaje tanto formales como no formales que promuevan la construcción de conocimientos y que permitan la resolución de problemas cotidianos. Para conservar hay que conocer, comprender y cuestionar.

2. Crear grupos interdisciplinario que puedan ayudar a la investigación y a la interpretación adecuada de los problemas a fondo, la cual la gente común pueda conocer y compartir con otros de menos capacidad.

3. Promover el conocimiento, la habilidad para solucionar problemas, la clasificación de valores, la investigación y la evaluación de situaciones, cuyo interés especial sea la sensibilización ambiental para aprender sobre la propia comunidad.

4. Capacitar a los jóvenes para que desempeñen un papel en la planificación de sus experiencias de aprendizaje y darles la oportunidad de tomar decisiones y aceptar sus consecuencias.

En la problemática ambiental convergen diversos procesos naturales y sociales por lo cual no puede ser comprendida en su complejidad sin la participación activa de diferentes campos del saber.

En definitiva, la educación ambiental es un proceso integral, sistemático y permanente de información, formación y capacitación formal, no formal e informal, basado en el respeto a todas las formas de vida, por el que las personas, individual y colectivamente, toman conciencia y se responsabilizan del ambiente y sus recursos, mediante la adquisición de conocimientos, aptitudes, actitudes, valores y motivaciones que le
facilitan comprender las complejas interrelaciones de los aspectos ecológicos, económicos, sociales, políticos, culturales éticos y estéticos que intervienen en el medio ambiente.

Así como participar y movilizarse en función de resolver y prevenir sus problemas presentes y futuros, dentro de un proceso de desarrollo sustentable, orientados hacia la convivencia en armonía y equilibrio con la naturaleza, para beneficio de las generaciones actuales y futuras.

Promover una educación para un desarrollo sustentable, significa plantearse la formación de un ser humano íntegro, capaz de reconocerse como parte del mundo natural y de relacionarse armónicamente con él. Significa formar sujetos con conciencia cívica, críticos y reflexivos; capaces de relacionarse de manera distinta con la naturaleza, con los demás, con el conocimiento; con capacidad de comprender, explicar y criticar su realidad.


Diario La Prensa
Semanario Capital Financiero
Radio Veraguas
Periódico Ambiental Génesis
Oilwatch Mesoamérica
Centro para el Estudio, Promoción y Asistencia Social CEPAS
Asociación Ambiental de Chiriquí
Frente Unido en Defensa del Ecosistema FUDECO
Asociación para la Conservación y el Desarrollo ACD
Contraloría de la República de Panamá
Ministerio de Comercio e Industria MICI
Autoridad de los Servicios Públicos ASEP
Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente ANAM
Comunidades afectadas y en resistencia
El desarrollo de una educación ambiental. Cristian Frers

Registro de conflictos ecoambientales en Panamá

El presente documento interpreta la cantidad y cualidades de conflictos ecoambientales que se han generado por la concesión gubernamental para la explotación de bienes ecológicos sin límites y garantías, poniendo en riesgo el entorno ambiental, salud y estabilidad productiva de las comunidades y del buen desarrollo público.

Queremos presentar estos conflictos en los espacios que urge defender y transformar: rural y urbano.




Estos son algunos de los problemas ambientales registrados de mayor escala y que urge el monitoreo y acciones para la solución.

Puede que existan otros que con la magnitud serán registrados. Sobre los proyectos hidroeléctricos se registraron 107 hasta la fecha.

Panamá, mayo de 2008.

* Olmedo Carrasquilla II es miembro del Colectivo Resistencia Ecológica, Moderador por Panamá de la Red de Comunicación Ambiental de América latina y el Caribe (Redcalc), Coordinador del Grito de los Excluidos/as en Panamá

Video: Study Abroad in Panama: Soberania National Park and Gatun Lake (July 2022).


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