EDITORIAL

Collaboration key to victory in Panama

Cobre Pamana mine in 2017, before beginning operations in 2018. PHOTO: International Mining
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People in Panama showed the world what’s achievable with persistence, solidarity and solid demands. In late 2023, after more than a month of intense protesting, massive mobilization efforts of Panama’s working class and Indigenous peoples successfully shut down a nature-destroying mine.

For over 20 years, Minera Panamá (a subsidiary of transnational mining giant First Quantum Minerals) has operated an ecologically devastating open-pit gold and copper mine in a vulnerable biodiverse region of Panama. When a new 20-year contract was approved by Panama’s Congress in October, tensions boiled over immediately.

Mobilizations took place every day for over a month with thousands of Panamanians unifying around this common cause. The teachers union and the construction workers union were leaders in the struggle. First Nations peoples, who were disproportionately affected by the mine’s ecological disregard, also played a major role by blockading the Inter-American Highway, vital for commerce.

With support for the protests billowing forth from every corner of Panama, the Supreme Court was forced to declare the contract unconstitutional on humanitarian and environmental grounds. This display of countrywide cooperation is a shining example of what works! The capitalist titans want to bleed the earth dry. Well, to do that, they’ll have to go through all of us.

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