The President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, yesterday tried to put a close to a chaotic week which left four people dead. He gave a conciliatory speech inviting people to seek peace following serious confrontations in Colon in protest of Law 72. The law would have allowed the sale of land located in the (tax) Free Zone of Colon.
The press conference was broadcast on Panama’s national channel on Sunday, October 28 to a public anxious to see what the Head of State would say after a silence previously broken by only two concise tweets. These tweets were sent during his official visit to Japan which coincided with this crisis.
The Telemetro [es] website summarised parts of the President's speech:
“Tengo el corazón triste, por las vidas perdidas, los heridos, y los bienes saqueados, triste porque en vez de avanzar retrocedimos” fueron parte de las palabras del mandatario quien expresó que se derogó una Ley cuya explicación no llegó a todos. Recalcó que“la violencia nunca debe ser la vía para resolver nuestras diferencia, por el bien del país y de los panameños, estas confrontaciones no se pueden
During the speech some Panamanians on social networks demanded the resignation of the President, while several ridiculed the lack of apologies, and others saw a real opportunity for peace.
For El Joe (@hilmerj28) [es], for example, the President taught his opponents a lesson by delivering a conciliatory message to the Panamanians:
But for others, such as Zeus Delgarte (@ZeusDelgarte) [es], the speech was too short:
@ZeusDelgarte: Mejor hubiera hecho twettcam RENUNCIA MARTINELLI MENTIROSO
For Luis Castillo (@Luis03Castillo) [es] the speech was the same that has been used in other governmental crises where everyone is guilty except the Government:
The Minister of the Presidency Roberto Henriquez (@RCHENRIQUEZ) [es] saw in the speech sincerity and the chance for reconciliation:
@RCHENRIQUEZ: Ley 72 derogada.Discurso sincero y conciliador del Pres. Martinelli. Ahora vamos a organizar el dialogo con las fuerzas vivas de Colón.
In contrast, opposition Deputy Beby Valderrama (@BebyValderrama) [es] believed that the speech was simply an opportunity to clean the Government’s hands of the matter and not ask for forgiveness:
@BebyValderrama: 9 días, 192 horas, 11,520 minutos y 691,200 segundos 4 muertos, + de 42 heridos y en 5 min pretende enlodar a todo el mundo y no pide perdón
Although the speech called for reconciliation, reactions in social networks have been diverse and conflicting. Perhaps this is not the last we have heard of this controversial law.