Ticos make safe exit from Bocas del Toro

July 9, 2010

 

Authorities evacuated nearly 100 Costa Ricans from the town of Changuinola, Panama, after violent protests had left tourists stranded in the country’s Caribbean region.
 
The Ticos made their exit just as the weeklong banana workers’ strike was coming to an end following violent clashes between protesters and state troops. Over the course of the protest, at least two people were killed and dozens more injured (some news sources reported as many as six deaths) as a result of a conflict that Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said was based on “lies.”
 
“The problems in Changuinola have been the product of misinformation and a series of lies,” Martinelli said in a press statement issued Sunday. “The intransigence of a group of trade unionists can not end with the banana industry in Changuinola.”
 
The conflict emerged when the Bocas Fruit Company withheld the portion of workers’ salaries that normally goes toward paying union fees. The company subtracted the union membership fee in response to a recently enacted law that makes such fees optional.
 
“The government regrets the misunderstanding on the part of this company,” the Martinelli administration said in a press statement. “It is not in the power of this business, nor any other, to retain workers’ salaries because it constitutes a violation of workers’ rights.”
 
Under the law, the employees must decide whether to pay membership fees and the decision cannot be made for them by their employers.
 
The protest ended Sunday, when the government signed an agreement with the striking workers. According to the document posted on the Panamanian government website, the original law will not be changed, yet, the government committed to providing more resources to help workers confront the high cost of living.

You may be interested

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico
Weather
452 views
Weather
452 views

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico

John McPhaul - December 13, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the horrendous 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…

Looking back at Hurricane Maria: the initial impact
Weather
1621 views
Weather
1621 views

Looking back at Hurricane Maria: the initial impact

John McPhaul - December 12, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the devastating 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…

Cold front claims fourth victim in Costa Rica
Weather
4207 views
Weather
4207 views

Cold front claims fourth victim in Costa Rica

Katherine Stanley - December 12, 2017

High winds claimed the life of a fourth victim in Costa Rica as the cold front that has been moving…