On April 22, 2017, scientists from various disciplines and sectors rallied down the Amador Causeway on the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal to call attention to multiple, local issues surrounding public funding of scientific research and education. In their call to become part of the March for Science, a social movement worldwide, Panamanian scientists considered and incorporated various political sensibilities and vulnerabilities in their design to stage la Caminata por la Ciencia and to not compromise what little state science funding they receive. For instance, the organizers insisted that this manifestacion, or public demonstration, should not be called marcha [a march] or protesta [a protest]. Mainly since these signifiers in some parts of Latin America can carry with them political valences that could quickly link public demonstrations to deeply present histories and memories of dictatorship, militarism, occupation, and related political upheavals. In staging the Caminata por la Ciencia to make their funding struggles more visible Panamanian advocates of science were able to articulate their political demands while recasting a long-standing tradition of manifestaciones callejeras [public demonstrations or, literally, street demonstrations] in more nuanced and tactful ways.
At this demonstration, many supporters carried signs with the following messages:
Sin Ciencia, no hay Futuro
[There is no future without science]
Ciencia es Futuro
[Science is Future]
[Creating Conscience/Awareness, with a pun in Spanish "Creating With Science"]
Exigimos politicas publicas basadas en evidencia.
[We demand public policy based on evidence.]
Mas ciencia, menos violencia.
[More science, less violence]
Apoyar la ciencia, es apoyor nuestro futuro.
[To support science, is to support our future.]