Protests continue against Clayton development inside National Park and urban forests

Photo
courtesy of the Comité de Defensa de los Bosques y el Camino de Cruces

Clayton
protests don’t go away

Although
the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) has approved the environmental
impact statement of a developer who plans to build a residential subdivision in
a forested part of the former Fort Clayton through which a remnant of the
colonial-era Las Cruces Trail runs, opponents are continuing their resistance
both in the courts and on the streets. ANAM director Ligia Castro in particular
has been the subject of claims that she personally ignored various procedures in
approving the permit, which is why the little boy shown above is carrying a sign
denigrating her by name.

Part
of the problem is that this country’s laws about development permits is very
narrow in that they ignore most of the social effects of a proposed development,
as in this case the destruction of a site with substantial historical importance.

According
to La Estrella, Panama City Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro has finally broken his
silence on the dispute and weighed in on the side of the protesters. “I
sincerely don’t understand why on the level of ARI and other institutions we’re
giving permits to destroy the few forests that remain in the canal watershed to
build houses and urban developments,” he told the daily.

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