The Hypocrisy in Panama’s Treatment of Venezuelan Immigrants

The exodus of Venezuelans to Panama has stirred controversy.
The exodus of Venezuelans to Panama has stirred controversy (La Patilla).

The hypocrisy in Panama’s treatment of Venezuelan immigrants.

The deplorable material, intellectual, and spiritual conditions generated by the Chavista regime has led to the phenomenon of massive emigration of Venezuelans. Insecurity and the extreme difficulty of fulfilling one’s individual goals are the most important elements that have pushed countless Venezuelans to seek opportunities in other lands, one of them: Panama.

In the last few days a campaign against Venezuelan immigration has taken root in Panama. Those who engage in this campaign suggest that Venezuelans in Panama take away their sources of employment, using epithets such as: “Venezuelans are disgusting” and referring to Venezuela in the most despicable way.

The Venezuelans in Panama have brought their talent and capital to a new country, because they see a booming opportunity to start small businesses that allow them to live freely as decent members of Panamanian society. In fact, they start many businesses that generate employment sources for the Panamanians themselves.

The immigrant Venezuelans in Panama, and in any part of the world, are generally the most educated and qualified. Venezuela is a land where, sadly, university professors, teachers, doctors, engineers, economists, lawyers and a myriad of specialized technical professions and trades have been forced to leave in search of better opportunities.

What is happening to the Venezuelans in Panama is an act of hypocrisy that reflects the double standard of those who sponsor it: (which we are sure is a tiny group of Panamanians that does not represent general public opinion).

The above is not a baseless judgment; in between 2007 and 2011 Venezuelans were welcomed, and they represented a significant inflow of foreign currency thanks to commissions of 15% and 20% that Panamanians were earning through foreign exchange, as well as the boon that Venezuelans provided to Panamanian commerce and tourism.

It is unfair for Panamanians to judge Venezuelans now because of the political circumstances we currently find ourselves in. After all, many of the Panamanians who are now criticizing us are the same ones who reaped massive profits in this era through foreign currency exchange.

The current situation once again disputes the warm fuzzy feelings upon which such meaningless slogans as “we are brothers” is based. Such brotherhood is a fallacy, and this is so because nations (and Venezuela is no exception) rest on interests that directly or indirectly involve the prosperity exclusively of their fellow countrymen. Consequently, sooner or later the differences will surface, and the peoples of one nation will forget the help or benefit they once received from another nation. Such is the case with Panama.

The situation today also demonstrates that in the darkest moments of our nation, Venezuelans can count on third parties, or other nations, or international organizations, coming to our aid in a noble and disinterested way. Venezuelans are ourselves responsible for our individual and national destiny, and to this end, we have to respond with effort, hard work, and creativity.

To Venezuelans in Panama or anywhere in the world we say: never give up, be prepared to battle adversity and always be an example of virtue and good behavior; But if those humiliations grow worse on the part of those who mock our misfortune, remember one thing: We will fight together to rebuild our great nation. We are the architects Venezuela greatness; a greatness that will be inherited by a thousand generations of Venezuelans after us. Working together, our glorious past can be resurrected again.


Nelson Ramírez Zabala was born in Venezuela. He has a degree in Political Science with a focus on Political Philosophy. He has done postgraduate work in Electoral Politics.

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