Growth in Brazil, India and China might be losing steam, Europe might be mired in its sovereign debt crisis and the US might continue to limp along. But at least there’s Panama.

… Panama’s economy was in double-digit growth mode [in the first quarter of 2012], … spurred by the remarkable programme of public works being implemented by the government of Ricardo Martinelli, the president. ….

So what’s not to like? Well plenty, say many Panamanians. In a recent Central America-wide opinion poll, Martinelli was pipped only by Costa Rica’s Laura Chinchilla as the region’s least popular president.

… [A] whiff of corruption surrounds the government, and a series of conflicts rumble on involving trade unions and indigenous groups.

Ron Buchanan, “Panama: growing fast but don’t ignore the cracks“, beyondbrics (FT blog), 15 June 2012.

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