Friday, June 29, 2007
Reflections on Panama
I'm back in Canada. I missed my wife and son while I was in Panama, and knew I had lots to catch up on when I got back from my latest trip there, but part of me didn't want to leave. I envy my partner Phil and his wife, who now live in Panama and get to experience the relative tranquility and beauty every day.
The two Canadian friends I took with me on this trip loved the country and our Roca Milagro project so much that they have decided to join us not only in our venture but to build a home in our development eventually and perhaps retire there some day. Who can blame them? Not I.
Many people have this idea that Panama is a backward place with grinding poverty, poor infrastructure, political instability and lots of risk for investors. In fact, while there is poverty there in relative terms, the people are happy, relaxed, friendly and open. Much of the country is pretty much like parts of California or the American south, and was so, long before swarms of gringos arrived at the start of the current economic boom. The picture displayed above was taken near Cerro Punta and, I think, illustrates my point.
What is happening in Panama is truly amazing. The entire country is a beehive of activity. Billions of dollars are puring into the country and those dollars are being spent on projects of every description. The increased tax revenues to the Panamanian government allow for dramatic improvements to infrastructure. In the Boquete area, near our development, there is zero unemployment. Everyone who wants to work is working. Panamanians are industrious and quite entrepreneurial, so this generation is going to benefit significantly. The next generation will benefit beyond what we can imagine. All this while other Central and South American countries are moving backwards. The difference is entirely due to the infusion of capital because of the welcome given to capitalists and their money.
One of the things I like in Panama is that everyone is treated the same. There is no racial tension. Blacks and whites and Hispanics and orientals all mix and live together and treat each other with respect. I'm sure that if Martians or Vulcans showed up in Panama some day, they would get a few curious glances for a day or two, then become part of the general milieu in no time.
I will post more as I get caught up a bit, and will also try to catch up on posts written by all my blogger friends while I was off in paradise.