The Panamanian government has repressed once again the Ngäbe-buglé people, who firmly stand against the development of mining and hydroelectric projects in their own homeland. This constitutes a new case involving the violation of native people’s most fundamental rights. In the following press release, published in the Panamanian newspaper La estrella, the humanist organizations voice their opinion about this issue by means of one of their members.
Panamá, February 2012. Governments and their supporters go by, but persecution and violence go on. This violence is shown in many ways and the Ngäbe-buglé people have suffered them all first-hand, not one but many times. They have not only been physically humiliated, which is one of the most dramatic forms of violence, typical of prehistoric behavior, but they have been defamed, isolated, disrespected in their self-determination as people, violated in their human rights and discriminated. Every culture has its own right to live as it chooses, respecting those who are different. Every culture has the right to defend itself when it is attacked by the repressive and arrogant machinery of foreign interests.
Native people’s struggle is not only exclusive to them due to the historical claims and injustices they have been put through. On the contrary, these rights and this struggle belong to all Panamanian people. It is necessary to become aware of the problem and demand justice for native people as well as for the whole nation. We need arable lands, food safety, clean non-contaminant and accessible-for-all energy and protection for our water resources. Subsoil mineral goods belong to us and must never, ever be exploited neither by Canadian nor Korean multinationals, nor being subjected to negotiation by the current government. Those are our wishes. Nevertheless, money means everything.
Mario Rodríguez Cobos, “Silo”, the Argentinian humanist philosopher and writer, pointed out in his book Letters to my friends that, “Money is government, money is law, money is power. Money is basically sustenance, but more than this it is art, it is philosophy, it is religion. Nothing is done without money, nothing is possible without money. There are no personal relationships without money, there is no intimacy without money. Even peaceful solitude depends on money. But our relationship with this ‘universal truth’ is contradictory. Most people do not like this state of affairs. And so we find ourselves subject to the tyranny of money. A tyranny that is not abstract, for it has a name, representatives, agents, and well-established procedures. Today, we are no longer dealing with feudal economies, national industries, or even regional interests. Today, the question is how the surviving economic forms will accommodate to the new dictates of international finance capital. Nothing escapes, as capital worldwide continues to concentrate in ever fewer hands” .
After the well-known events, it is important to reflect on essential aspects with a view to the next decisions to be taken in the Executive and Legislative bodies, which will affect us all. These decisions should take into account the following principles: 1. Placement of the human being as central value and concern; 2. Equality of all human beings; 3. Acknowledgement of personal and cultural diversity; 4. Tendency to knowledge development above those concepts accepted as universal truths; 5. Assertion of freedom of ideas and beliefs; and 6. Condemnation of any kind of violence.
It is necessary to open major national talks about the developmental model we want for everybody as a nation, taking into account the aforementioned aspects.
Physician, Chairman of the Community for Human Development and member of the Humanist Movement
Translated to English by Ana Pérez