What Panama and Lebanon have in common

I’m half-way across the world but the parallels to home are everywhere here in Panama. 
Like Lebanon, Panama has small a population of around 4 million, its borders are strategic and have been the subject of domination by world powers like the US. 
Economically speaking, the country is awash in dollars, the private sector–especially banking–is robust and yet the average wage is a few hundred bucks per month.
But you don’t have to be a geo-political expert to see the similarities. 
In some ways the visuals speak for themselves. 
Spiderwebs of power lines:
You pay for 4G but mostly get “E” or 2G on the top of your screen:
US currency is king and all the prices are in dollars:
Yet the power even went out in our hotel:

And the highways are unlit:

Women’s bodies are objectified with abandon:

Lingerie ads seem tailored to men:

The police patrol the streets by driving two miles an hour with the lights on:

Heels are business casual:

Shed roof low rises sit next to glass and steel towers: 

 Traffic is all day:

 Street parking is the norm, even on the corners:

 The politicians love Twitter and Facebook:

The poor stay connected with dishes:
Lebanese traders have left their mark:
Especially in the port’s free zone:
 
Where a Lebanese-owned shawerma stand has operated for years.

In fact, I’ll be taking a closer look at at Panama’s sizable Lebanese business community in the next issue of Bold Magazine. They seem to fit right at home. 
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