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Social security crisis and popular mobilisation in Panama

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Chapter Summary

Prior to completing nine months in office, President Martin Torrijos launched his proposal to reform the Panamanian social security system in May of 2005. After a serious confrontation with the popular sectors that were already prepared to reject the initiative, the Torrijos Administration was left weakened with a significant decline in popularity. This chapter briefly analyses the economic and social background to the political crisis so as to provide a context for understanding the popular struggle unfolding in Panama. The continuing importance of the Panama Canal is then discussed in the context of the objectives being pursued by the Torrijos Administration. This in turn frames an analysis of the proposed neoliberal reform of the social security system and how the popular organizations have sought to confront them with demonstrations, marches and a month-long strike.

Keywords: economic policies; Martin Torrijos; neoliberal reform; Panama Canal; Panamanian social security system; political crisis; social policies



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