Growing Rastafari faith emerging in Panama

Local Culture

In the twenties the Reverend Barbadian Charles Goodridge found in the City of Columbus, ‘The Holy Piby’ or bible of the black man, sacred text for the Rastafarian movement.

The Rastafarian ideas are based, in their political plan, on the postulates of the black leader Marcus Garvey, which had an impact in several countries with a black population through the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), whose organization had 58 branches in Panama. In this organization was composed of prominent workers leaders of the Canal Zone, in addition to having a presence in the provinces of Colon and Bocas del Toro.

On the other hand, as the sociologist Gerardo Maloney points out, ‘the black presence in the Isthmus of Panama has been directly related to the exploitation of the geographical position’. At the beginning of the 20th century, black workers from the Anglophone Caribbean, countries such as Jamaica and Barbados, they arrived for the construction of the interoceanic Railroad and later they were important labor in the epic of the construction of the Panama Canal. These migrants left a latent legacy in various expressions of Panamanian culture.

As we are told, Franklin Zeballos, being rasta, implies the recognition of Haile Selassie as the Black Messiah, of Ethiopia (Africa) as a place of redemption of the black man, and acquiring the awareness of the Rastafarian being one with the living God of the creation.

 

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