In recent weeks you’ve likely seen images of the protests over the First Quantum mining contract in Panama. It has been a difficult time for the country, and we know you might have concerns.
Here is the latest: the Supreme Court of Panama this week decided that the contract with First Quantum for the big Cobre Panama mining is unconstitutional. The mining company and government will likely now go to arbitration. But the focus will be on compensation for the miner’s investment, not the resumption of the mining operation.
When the government signed the new contract in October, many Panamanians felt the deal was unfair and corrupt, and didn’t represent the best interests of the people. For many Panamanians, there is a long-standing distrust of the government, and their frustrations boiled over when the mining contract was announced.
We know it was difficult to see this dispute play out on the world stage. But the protests don’t change anything about why we all love Panama, and the tremendous opportunities ahead as the country continues to grow into an economic powerhouse in the region.
In some ways, I’m reminded of the protests for civil rights on the streets of the United States. At some point, frustration boils over and people feel the need to be heard.
No one wants to see this controversy flow into the streets. But, at the heart of the conflict, we see Panama’s democracy working. The courts are handling the legal issues. The protests have been largely peaceful, with a few sad exceptions.
Panama is still a young country. It’s only been 34 years since the dictator Manuel Noreiga was ousted. Since then, there have been growing pains.
But the foundations of democracy remain strong. In every way, the country is growing into its role as a leader in the region. In Oct., Panama was officially removed from the international “gray” list, in recognition of the safeguards and international standards established in the financial community. In many ways, Panama is establishing the economic, social, and cultural infrastructure for long-term success.
For us, at Punta Pacifica Realty, business continues to move forward. We are still out there every day, working for our clients and sharing the opportunities in the Panama real estate market. It was difficult to see this dispute play out on the international stage, but we know that it has not changed our business or the opportunity in Panama. Panama’s potential and beauty are as bright as ever.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me personally.