U.S. Embassy Alert In Panama

The U.S. Embassy has sent around a warning to all Americans residing in Panama urging them to “exercise heightened security awareness” because of “large-scale protests.”

We’ve read Panama blog postings urging expats in the country to ride out the “ugly storm that’s battering this corner of tropical paradise.”

Boy, we’re missing out on all the excitement, we thought from our current position in Paris earlier this week, and sent an e-mail to the troops back in the office in Panama City to ask:

“What’s the story on the ground?” we asked. “Roads closed? Violent protests in the streets?”

“Haven’t seen anything,” replied Customer Service Manager Karen.

“The streets have been wild and noisy these past few days,” Web Marketing Manager Irina remarked. “But that’s thanks to the World Cup. Spain’s win has set everyone partying in the streets.

“But protests? No, nothing.”

The trouble is in Changuinola, in the Bocas del Toro region, which is closer to Costa Rica than to any other populated area of Panama.

What’s at issue? Strikes by the banana-pickers’ union, whose members are owed back pay.

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