Panama. In October, the Prosecutor's Office decided to
launch an investigation into allegations that, during his
time as lieutenant in the National Guard, Interior Minister
Daniel Delgado murdered another guard officer in 1970.
Delgado himself acknowledged the incident but claimed it was
a legitimate police action that was being investigated and
closed down already. However, the media reported that no
such investigation exists, and in connection with a
government reform in mid-November, Delgado was forced to
resign. He was controversial even before the revelation,
including for his connections to Panama's strong man in the
1980s General Manuel Noriega.
The Delgado Falls revelation also cast its shadow over
the upcoming presidential election in May 2009. According to
Countryaah reports, the public
in Panama, according to opinion polls, is deeply concerned
about the insidious remilitarization of society and
associates President Martín Torrijo's ruling Democratic
Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Democratico,
PRD) presidential candidate such development. President
Torrio's government reshuffle in November was also
considered by the opposition to be a disguised way for the
president to give Delgado fired to save the government's
face in the run-up to the presidential election.
On September 4, a general strike was carried out in
protest of delayed wages, inflation and the security
situation in Panama. The general strike was the culmination
of a wave of protests in the country's largest cities,
including 15,000 protesters in Panama City on August 14.
Already in February, union dissatisfaction with the
government exploded after a construction worker was shot
dead by a gunshot in the back of a Colón police officer as
he was on his way to a hospital for care after violent
demonstrations, and 40,000 members of the construction
worker union went out into the streets across the country in
protest against police violence. The protests also touched
on President Torrio's controversial proposal to reorganize
the country's police force and intelligence service to
combat rising crime in a way that is believed to reinforce
the remilitarization tendencies in society.