Cuban activist and former political prisoner deported

Association

Panamanian authorities deported Ariel Arzuaga, a Cuban activist and former political prisoner, on 11th October 2018 on grounds of non-compliance with migration requirements. After his return to Cuba, the activist was arrested and released soon after. Nevertheless, Arzuga's wife reported that the activist has been subject to harassment by police officers since arriving back to the island.

On 12th October 2018, Alianza Ciudadana Pro Justicia denounced a series of defamatory messages against their organisation and its director for their criticism on politicians, corruption and their calls for transparency in the upcoming elections in 2019. 

Peaceful Assembly

Rice producers in the region of Chiriquí protested on 10th October 2018 for the almost $ 10 million that the government owes them. The Ministerio de Desarrollo Agropecuario (Minister of Agricultural Development, MIDA) indicated that it has no funds to pay a compensation of $7.50 per 220 pounds of rice, which led to heavy losses for rice producers, according to Gabriel Araúz, president of the Association of Rice Producers of Chiriquí. The demonstration started in La Nobleza, in the district of Alanje, and went through the streets to reach the Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Park, to the MIDA building. 

Other protests also took place in Panama. On 12th October 2018, a protest led by supporters of former President Ricardo Martinelli,  demanded the resignation of Attorney General Kenia Porcell. In addition, on 28th November 2018 a group of athletes held a protest to condemn multiple cases of corruption identified in the sports-governing body, Pandeportes.

Expression

Rolando Lopez, Secretary of the National Security Council, prevented journalists and cameramen from reporting on the arrival to the morgue  of the bodies of three students and a teacher who died in the Ngäbe-Buglé region in an attempt to cross the Jacaque River. The deaths are  due to the lack of infrastructure to cross the river. 

During the 74th General Assembly of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) in November 2018, Eduardo Quirós, president of Panama Grupo Editorial El Siglo & La Estrella, presented a report where he documented an "increase of legal proceedings against media outlets and journalists, as well as verbal attacks including through social networks” in the country.