A Muddy Political Arena

One of the most difficult parts of reporting on political conflicts, especially locally, is untangling an individual or group’s actions from its ulterior motives. Talking to a small network of activists can quickly turn into a game of he-said-she-said.

In Colon, all lower- and middle-class citizens want the same things: real economic growth and improved services for city-center inhabitants. But opinions on how to get there vary. Some activist groups are angry at protest group Frente Amplio because last year’s protests yielded nothing from the government. Some think the Alianza’s movements for the unemployed are too subservient to political parties. Some think Colon’s citizens are not taking enough action to improve their city.

I don’t want to portray any one approach as the panacea for all the city’s problems. It’s difficult to balance realistic critiques of the political landscape with emotional descriptions of government neglect.

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