Panama: Students Reject Cuts to Food Solidarity Program

The police harshly repressed students and workers who protested against the Cortizo administration.

Panamanians protested over President Laurentino Cortizo’s decision to exclude people under 25 years of age from the “solidarity voucher”, which provides US$100 per month to alleviate the impacts of the COVID-19-triggered crisis.

On Wednesday, students gathered in front of the Parliament to reject what they claimed as a “mishandling” of the COVID-19 health crisis by the government.

Besides condemning the aid received by banks and real estate companies, they questioned the donations given by several institutions to the Teleton 20-30 fundraising event.

The Union of Construction and Similar Workers (Suntracs) also staged protests to reject Executive Decrees that seek the suspension of labor contracts.

The meme reads, “Protests are increasing to repeal modifications to the “Solidary Panama” Plan that regulate the family bonus and exclude those under 25 years of age who are financially dependent on their parents. Some young people were arrested. What do you think?”

In March, the Executive approved the “Solidary Panama” Plan that contemplates the delivery of a US$100 bonus for the purchase of food, medicines, and other essential products. Over 1.6 million people have received it to date.

In recent months, Cortizo announced the extension of the aid package until June 30, 2021, and an additional US$255 million fund to support the Plan.

Having reported 199,947 COVID-19 cases and 3,439 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in the country, the government ordered a mandatory quarantine at Christmas and the end of the year. (TELESUR)

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