Category Archives: Panama Journal

This Deserves A Special Post

A comment thread from John on a recent post, leads me respond at more length than a comment can handle. In his most recent comment, he chose to call himself “John retired U. S. government”.  It is interesting that he choses too change his name from John to one saying he worked for the U.S. Government and yet enjoys criticizing one of its most important resources the U.S. Government has in Panama.

Not often, but sometimes, there are comments that come to Chiriquí Chatter from disgruntled U.S. citizens that are unhappy with where their country is going. They may be disgruntled because problems they have found living in Panama.

Sometimes it is because of not having the U.S. Embassy do things the way that they think it should be done.

I have met with two such U.S. citizens (both men over 60) who had come to Panama and married a young honey 1/3 to 1/2 their age and wanted to take them to the U.S.. It may have been to live or just for a vacation. When their new spouse was denied a visa, they wrote me and were very irate.

What they didn’t realize was that their new spouse may have left out a few details of her life, prior to him, and the Embassy discovered it. The Embassy would not discuss the case with them, which also made them mad. While I understand their frustration, I also understand the visas being denied.

John is here to complain and this time because of the Embassy requirement for a bank check for payment instead of accepting cash. He states that the Embassy should have known about the bank’s requirements or limitations for issuing a check. Continue reading This Deserves A Special Post

AttaBoy Tom

I just noticed a post on Tom McCormack’s FaceBook page. I felt it was worth a huge AttaBoy from Chiriquí Chatter.

Our last container #17 has just about been delivered to areas of need. To date more than 3000 wheelchairs, more than 3000 walkers, more than 4000 pairs of crutches and around 100 home hospital beds. We just fit number # 392 new prosthetic leg. Hundreds of breast prothesis and wigs, thousands of glasses and lots of hearing aids. Still going strong.
Thomas L. and Linda J.McCormack Foundation.Thanks to all our volunteers in Panama and U.S.A.

You may remember on my Container 17 post, that TVN was here filming the process. They were here again this week doing more followup for  A Panama Hero promotion. Those nominated will be awarded $8,000 for their good work. The winner will be awarded $30,000, if I understand correct.

Obviously everyone in Chiriquí already recognizes that Tom is a hero, but it would be nice to see his foundation pull in the $30K. Think of all the people that Tom would help with that money.

Chiriquí Chatter thinks there is no more deserving winner. Let’s hope that TVN decides the same in December.


I received the following and felt it was worthwhile to post it for everyone’s knowledge. eShop is the company I have faith in for all of my orders from the US.

Recently there has been a problem as is explained in eShop’s email to the clients.

I have used several mail forwarding companies in Chiriqui and there is none that have compared with eShop.

If you move to Panama, you have to expect problems to come up that are annoying. Talk to Tom McCormack and listen to all the problems he has had dealing with customs and getting his containers held up costing him thousands of dollars for medical supplies he donates to those in need in Chiriqui.

You can get upset and change mail forwarding providers. I have orders on the way that I am expecting and wouldn’t trust them with any other service.

eShop’s email follows.

TO:  eShop Clients
FROM:  Karinthia Lamastus de Garcia, Manager
I am sending this email in order to clarify to all our clients the situation of a shipment that is being held at customs in Panama City since June 21.  I will also address some concerns and rumors that have appeared on some Internet websites recently.
On the week of June 20th to the 24th, every single shipment that was forwarded into the country got held by the Panamanian authorities–not just eShop Boquete packages– but everyone, including big companies like FedEx and UPS and the forwarding companies that serve Boquete. The reason for their action is they found cash, arms, drugs and ivory in another company’s shipment. As a result, the customs authorities gave an order to have all incoming shipments held for inspection.
Unfortunately, this is a situation that is out of our hands but of course it directly affects us. I went personally to Panama City this past Wednesday to talk with the authorities to see exactly what they were doing and how long it will take for us to have our packages released. We were told that all shipments were inspected and that the Director will sign the release form between today and tomorrow.  Once this is done, we pay our taxes and are good to go. Even knowing that we are dealing with the government, I hope the shipments will be here not later than next Wednesday.  If that is not the case, I will provide a further update on the situation.    For those of you who have packages caught in this “hold”, we thank you for your patience and understanding.
The last few days I’ve been hearing about and reading concerns, rumors and some untruths posted locally about the situation I just described and the eShop service.   A number of these were posted by persons who do not even use our service or whose identities are unknown to me. I would like to ask to all of our clients to not believe everything you read or hear.  As always, if you have questions or concerns about our business or the service we provide, I encourage you to contact me personally.  I will not respond on open internet forums. 
For now, I can only answer with the following facts:
1.      eShop Boquete is NOT going out of business.
2.      eShop Boquete does NOT hold packages
3.      eShop Boquete has NOT increased rates since it opened in 2013
4.      eShop Boquete does NOT hide their prices – a price list is available on request.
5.      eShop Boquete does NOT make up excuses or give false information about the service it provides.
6.      eShop Boquete WILL notify its clients as quickly as possible of any substantive changes to the business or the service.
Thanks to all of our clients who keep trusting in us, who believe in us and speak up in favor of us. We do know your names, and if I can’t remember your name, I do remember your face. None of you are just a number at our office–you are part of our eShop.  If you ever have any questions about us or our service, please do not hesitate to email, phone, or visit in person.  We are here to help you and we value your input and time. 
Best regards,
Karinthia Lamastus de Garcia
eShop Boquete
Tel.: 730-9545
WhatsApp.: 6496-4596

Language Academy Has Moved


I received a WhatsApp message from my friend Dario Quiroz, who teaches English to the Spanish speaking community and Spanish to the English speaking community.

He wanted me to let everyone know that he had moved from his old location to the two story building, across from Latina University. He is on the second floor.

I will try to get by there in the next couple of weeks. I have visited his English classes many times to assist in his lab time.

A Problem Panama Really Needs To Fix

Trash is one of the problems that Panama needs to fix. This morning they focused on it on the news, but having it on the TV every now and then doesn’t help.

The culture of the country needs to change. It is easy to drive on the highway and see the car in front roll down the window and throw their fast food sack out of the window.

Here is a photo in Cinta Costera, which is a large tourist area in Panama City. People go out on the weekend to have fun and leave their trash behind to be picked up by others.

And this doesn’t compare to others areas in the city or country as shown by the following photos.

When we drive from David to the Frontera, we usually pass several locations on the highway where people have dumped their trash. It isn’t as bad as the photos above, but still is a cultural problem that should be fixed.

Trash encourages mosquitos and mosquitos bring in Dengue and Zika. There needs to be a “Don’t Mess With Panama” campaign so that more people would take an interest in beautifying this country.