Barrios conflictivos en Panama #1: El Chorrillo


Gettin to know a country is not just showing its good and marvelous things; it requires investigating the troubled and violent areas marked by social exclusions, for which you will need some caution and knowledge before you explore them.

In the case of Panama, there is a popular neighborhood known by its social instability and frequent violent acts: El Chorrillo.

El Chorillo, Conflictive Neighborhood

Casita en El Chorrillo --Garrison Gunter

House on El Chorrillo –Garrison Gunter

El Chorillo is an endless source of news always related to violence and actions far from legal, breeding ground of a social core which perfectly defines the concept of marginalization.

Located on the urban center of Panama City, it was founded on April 29, 1915 next to the neighborhoods San Felipe, Santa Ana and Calidonia, originally populated with foreigners who came for the construction of the Panama Canal.

Throughout the years, it became a marginal neighborhood. Its social problems have increased considerably. Within this context, several gangs have emerged making that coexistence difficult and increasing the accident rate of everyday life.

Thefts, violence and different kinds of crimes are the order of the day at El Chorillo. It is not a place to visit, especially by tourists. A simple view of the place gives us an idea of its kind of housing; neighbors living under difficult conditions within a hard-to-solve spiral.

The Future of El Chorrillo

Gangs, filth, overcrowding, are constants we find in this neighborhood, in spite of which people want to be able to progressively end this situation and invest in education to climb out of a pit that has been going on for too long. In addition, many voices claim the neighborhood of El Chorrillo is the main target of an urban and real estate development plan which will give a new transformative spin to this Panamanian area.

Policia en El Barrio - By Garrison Gunter

Police in El Barrio – By Garrison Gunter

The government, who has looked the other way in many occasions, is now determined to give this neighborhood the  services and stability needed to make it an integral part of Panama City.

With an enviable urban potential, El Chorrillo is in the mind of its neighbors and future investors, who are aware of both the great business opportunities of this land for the future of Panama as well as of the difficult current reality.This will be an important controversial issue for the winner of the next elections in Panama, who will have to integrate this areas in the 2010-2014 strategic plan, which up until now has forgotten this neighborhood and its residents.

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