Human Rights in Post-Invasion Panama

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

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The ouster of General Manuel Noriega in December 1989 and the installation of the democratically-elected coalition government of President Guillermo Endara brought high hopes in Panama that a long period of disrespect for law and the civil rights of the Panamanian people had come to an end. More than a year later, those hopes have been displaced by widespread belief that the government has performed miserably in addressing the country's most pressing human rights problems, and is incapable of administering its judicial system either fairly or efficiently. Indeed, despite continuing material hardship and the absence of any significant improvement in the economic fortunes of most Panamanians, opinion polls attribute the government's precipitous fall in popularity over the past year most of all to the public's perception that its government has failed to provide one commodity as essential as any other: justice.

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