Today is a subdued May 1st the International Day of the Worker in almost every country but the US. Because of its origins in the Communist party in the US in 1886, the US, ever vigilant against the “Red Tide,” has preferred a May Day vision of little girls with flowers dancing around a giant erect “may pole” festooned with ribbons floating down from the top. (Don’t even think Freudian here!) But for Panama, part of the international world community by virtue of its location, and eager to recognize the importance of workers, May 1st is an important holiday.
This year, due to Coronavirus, it will be a relatively quiet prelude to another “lock down” weekend when nothing moves. Nobody goes out. Everyone stays in their house. Generally there is a feeling that the severe restrictions are working, except in a few of the most heavily populated areas. The government has been providing bags of food and Food Stamp-type coupons, but either not enough, or too much is being ripped off by local politicians, so in those areas we have started to see demonstrations. Naturally, the demonstrators are not maintaining social distance, wearing masks (which of course they would be wearing at a “normal” demonstration), yada yada. The rules are somewhat complicated, and since nobody has been thhis way before, Panama, like all governments, is learning. Here’s a link for a good summary of things Covid-19 in Panama, in English and updated regularly.
Supposedly Panama will reopen its airspace on May 23rd, and Panama’s privately-owned airline COPA will hopefully begin operations on June 1st.
This weekend is an absolute lock down, stay at home.
The scenes we hope we will never see again … one of the usually busiest intersections in Panama City and the Copa air fleet parked at Tocumen International Airport.