Pleasure / August 2019

Islas Secas - Sustainable Panamanian Gold

Panama’s Islas Secas are as about as remote as luxury gets, but these islands are dialled into to eco-tourism…

It is almost impossible to pinpoint what makes the sun-soaked Central American republic of Panama so tempting, but a loose offshore tax system might have something to do with it. Panama is a small country with a population of only 4 million people, a number dwarfed by the levels of foreign wealth that spills into the country looking for ways to avoid the taxman. Subsequently, this wealth has transformed the capital city into “the Dubai of Latin America” with a striking skyline that perfectly exemplifies the glory of modernity. But, in a city that boasts some revolutionary architectural projects and hides shell companies and millionaires, tourists also find extreme poverty. This antithesis between two contrasting poles is present in every aspect of society, being perfectly displayed in The Tailor of Panama, where a seductive Pierce Brosnan plays the part of British spy Andy Osnard. The movie introduces an intriguing mix of morally broken characters, while Brosnan shines as a debauched, corrupted and sexist spy, and Geoffrey Rush playing Harold Pendel, a former con-artist turned tailor to the rich and powerful Panamanian elite. But Panama also shines through, presented as a country abused by everyone, corrupted by the internal power struggles of local elites, and mythicized as a decadent sex-heaven where Brits and Americans go to build savage beasts (thinking of Manuel Antonio Noriega) and have some self-indulgent fun. As Harry Pendel famously said: “Welcome to Panama, Casablanca without heroes.”

Tags

Contributor

Adina-Laura Achim