Fears of a commodities trap are once again inflaming politics across Latin America. The latest illustration of the tensions and tradeoffs at the heart of these confrontations comes from Panama, where recent protests have forced the country to restrict new mining projects and may shut down a globally significant copper mine.
Most international coverage of Panama’s drought focuses on shipping delays through the Panama Canal. Locals are more worried about its impact on potable water. More worrying is the fact that Panama is not the only Latin American country currently facing water scarcity. To the contrary, the entire region is in the grips of a dry spell.