Who Will Be the Next President?

by Mike Kimel

Who Will Be the Next President?

We don’t know much about Panama before the Spanish arrived other than that it fit the usual pattern you see just about everywhere – there were periods of bloody violence (wars, genocides) alternating with periods of some sort of coexistence.  After the Spanish arrived, there was more of the same, but we know more details, most of which we can dispense with here.  Eventually, what is now Panama and what is now Colombia made up a single country: the Republic of New Granada, and did so not once, but twice.  in 1903, Panama managed to secede from Colombia for good, with some cooperation by the US which was interested in the construction of the Canal.

Today, the differences between Panama and Colombia are apparent.  In 2015, GDP per capita in Panama was about $21,800 compared to $13,800 in Colombia.  Other measures of well-being favor Panama.  For example, its people have a longer life expectancy, partly due to its much lower murder rate.  The result is that there is a lot of immigration from Colombia into Panama, much of it illegal.  Some estimate that as many as 50% of those illegally in Panama are from Colombia. And some politicians have alleged that Colombians are responsible for a  disproportionate amount of the crime that occurs in Panama.</a>

That’s the extent of what I know about the subject.  But the other day, apropos of nothing at all, I was wondering – how would the Panamians react if groups of Colombians held large protests against Panamian immigration policy in major cities?  What if during those protests, some Colombians waved the Colombian national flag, and several of them stated that one day, Panama would be Colombian again?  What if some Colombians burned the Panamian flag?  And what if these protesters made a habit of holding their protests at rallies held by groups dedicated to stopping illegal/undocumented immigration from Columbia?

Now, in the US, perhaps either Clinton or Trump will implode on the mountains of toxic baggage that each is carrying around.  If not, however, I think the next election will be determined by how many voters would view musings like those in the paragraph above as a close parallel to the current situation in the US.