Panama City (Agenzia Fides) - An appeal to citizens and authorities so that "mutual respect, attentive listening, dialogue, wisdom and tolerance prevail as ways to find national consensus on such a delicate and important issue as constitutional reforms" was launched by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Conference of Panama at the beginning of the month of the homeland.
In the statement, sent to Fides, the Bishops note that the climate of tension and violence in recent days, which caused injuries and damage, arouses "great concern for the inhabitants of this country", and although "the fundamental right to protest on national and vital issues for the country is not negotiable", no less important is that everything happens without violence and respect", so that the voice of the people is not distorted".
"The constitutional reforms require the full participation of all sectors of the country, without the exclusion of anyone - reiterate the Bishops -, so we must ensure that this is possible through a serious, agile and transparent mechanism, in which all contributions can be registered, to reach a national consensus. Panama deserves a constitution that responds to the challenges of today's world, without prejudice to the values and ethical and moral principles that have sustained it throughout its history".
The reforms that the government of Panama wants to implement, modify 40 articles of the Constitution, and touch on fundamental issues such as health, education and the environment. According to the population, the changes could cause an increase in discrimination, as well as favoring impunity and corruption. This gave rise to popular protests and clashes, which had begun several weeks ago. In Panama, in fact, there is great discontent with a distribution of wealth that privileges only a restricted class of people who are opposed by crowds of poor and marginalized.
The Bishops' statement concludes by underlining the urgent need to "restore the hope lost due to injustice, corruption and exclusion" and in order to achieve this goal everyone must "sow visible and tangible signs that give rise to credibility and trust in Panama". (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/11/2019)