People's Party of Panama

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People’s Party of Panama

 

(Partido del Pueblo de Panamá; PPP), a political party founded on Apr. 4, 1930, through the merger of several Panamanian Communist groups that arose in the 1920’s.

Originally called the Communist Party of Panama, the PPP was admitted into the Comintern in 1935. However, the lack of a firm party leadership and the great influence of Trotskyism led to a bitter intraparty struggle, which ended in 1937 with the disintegration of the party. Only in 1943, when the democratic movement was on the rise in Latin America, did veterans of the communist movement such as Cristoval Segundo and José del Carmen Tuñon, along with younger Communists such as Hugo Victor Escala, succeed in convening a congress that decided to reconstitute the party as the PPP. However, the new party leadership under Selso Solano, who was influenced by the ideas of the American revisionist E. Browder, adopted a right-opportunist line. The leaders of the party persisted in right-opportunist errors right up to its Second Congress in 1948. Nonetheless, with the support of positive forces within the PPP, the congress adopted a militant resolution calling for struggle against the domination of US monopolies and the Panamanian oligarchy.

At the Third Congress in 1951, S. Solano’s opportunist line was resolutely condemned and Solano and his followers were expelled from the party and new leadership was elected. The Fourth Congress, held the same year, adopted a program and party rules for the PPP and reaffirmed the party’s faithfulness to Leninist principles of ideology and organization. The Third and Fourth Congresses opened a new phase in the development of the Panamanian communist movement.

In 1953 a law punishing communist activity with imprisonment was adopted. Anticommunist propaganda, arrests of party leaders, destruction of party organizations, and various other repressions blocked the party’s growth and the expansion of its influence among the masses. A plenum of the PPP Central Committee in October 1962 presented a comprehensive analysis of the internal political situation and defined the party’s tasks in the revolution. Considering US imperialism and the native oligarchy the main enemies of the Panamanian people, the plenum set as the primary goal of the popular struggle the liquidation of oligarchical rule and the formation of a national democratic popular government. Clearly, only such a government can successfully combat the dominance of US monopolies, nationalize the Panama Canal, and safeguard national sovereignty.

The Fifth Congress of the PPP, held in September 1968, reaffirmed the party’s political line unifying all progressive and patriotic forces in the country and stressed the need to intensify efforts aimed at the intermediate strata of the population.

The PPP has supported the anti-imperialist policy of the patriotically minded military, headed by O. Torrijos Herrera, who came to power after the coup d’etat of October 1968. PPP dele gations attended the international Conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties, held in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The PPP approved the documents adopted at the conferences. According to its party rules, the PPP is built on the principle of democratic centralism. The highest party body is the Congress; between congresses, the party’s work is directed by the Central Committee, which elects the Politburo and the Secretariat from among its members. R. D. Souza is general secretary of the Central Committee of the PPP. The central organ of the party is the newspaper La Unidad, which is published twice a month.

REFERENCE

Partido del Pueblo, Documentos históricos. Panama, 1971.

A. N. MINEEV

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