Report launch: Criminalization of Protestors During First Quantum Protests in Panama

Viviana Herrera

Latin America Program Coordinator

In October and November of 2023, Panama experienced its second-greatest uprising since the United States invaded the country. For 39 days, the population was out on the streets, protesting the renewal of the mining contract with Canadian company, First Quantum Minerals. The people won, the contract was suspended, and a mining moratorium was approved. But at what cost?

Join us on May 14th to hear directly from the Panamanian organizations and communities impacted by First Quantum and the Panamanian government. We will talk about the people that were out on the streets exercising their right to protest and defending their country from the greed and devastation of a Canadian company that tried and succeeded at overriding the country’s laws. We will also discuss the human rights violations they’ve faced, including criminalization and judicialization. You will leave with a better understanding of how this struggle fits into the larger context of the fight against mining’s devastating impacts in Panama.

Join us to listen to key voices that were part of the social movement in defense of their rights and the environment, and learn about what you can do.

DATE: Tuesday, May 14th
TIME: 11 AM PST / 12 PM Mexico / 1 PM Panamá /  2 PM EST

This webinar will take place on Zoom with simultaneous interpretation between Spanish and English provided. Register here.       


  • Isaias Ramos, Centro de Incidencia Ambiental 
  • Damaris Sanchez Samudio, Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral, Comunitario y Conservación de Ecosistemas en Panamá (FUNDICCEP), la Red Nacional en Defensa del Agua-Panamá y Movimiento de Afectados por Represas de Latinoamérica
  • Olmedo Carrasquilla, Colectivo Voces Ecológicas, la Red Nacional en Defensa del Agua-Panamá y Radio Temblor
  • Arcadio Pitti Rodríguez, Professor and member of “Los guerreros del mar” 
  • Rekha Chandiramani,  Journalist/Researcher 

Participating organizations:

  • Centro de Incidencia Ambiental (CIAM) / Center for Environmental Advocacy
    CIAM is a civil society organization that was founded in 2007 to provide support for public interest legal actions for environmental justice. Since its founding, the team has led a series of high-profile legal battles, including the 2009 constitutional challenge against First Quantum’s copper mining contract. The Supreme Court declared the contract unconstitutional in 2017, forcing them to negotiate a new one. 
  • Panamá vale mas sin minería / Panama is Worth More Without Mining
    A coalition of 40 organizations and communities organized around the defense of natural resources, and against metallic mining.
  • Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral, Comunitario y Conservación de Ecosistemas en Panamá (FUNDICCEP) / Foundation for Integral Community Development and the Conservation of Ecosystems in Panama
    FUNDICCEP was founded in 1996. The organization has a high profile related to environmental topics, not only at the community level but also at the institutional and legal level, in the face of interest in developing megaprojects in the country, especially in the province of Chiriquí.
  • Colectivo voces ecológicas / Ecological Voices Collective
    This organization’s objective is to promote the defense of the socio environmental rights and sustainable development of communities through popular education and alternative media using a political ecology framework. They run the informative media channel, Radio Temblor. This alternative platform provides socio environmental information to rural and ecological communities. They provide a space to interview campesino and Indigenous protagonists in the environmental movement in Panama. 
  • Los guerreros del mar / Warrior of the Sea
    Dubbed the “warriors of the sea”, these fishermen joined the protests that paralyzed Panama in 2023 by using their boats to block the entrance way of the port, forcing the Canadian mining company to scale back its operations in Panama.

ORGANIZERS: Panamá Vale Más Sin Minería, Earthworks, MiningWatch Canada

ENDORSED BY: Americas Policy Group (APG), Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL), Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN), Common Frontiers, Rights Action