Disagreements are settled differently in various regions of Panama. In Panama City it’s not uncommon to hear of foes settling their scores with guns. In Panama’s interior provinces, especially in remote areas, machete fights are pretty common.
During Carnival last year in Las Tablas, a young man was killed trying to defend his uncle who was in the middle of a machete fight. A machete duel is similar to a knife fight, except machetes are longer and field workers in Panama tend to keep them very sharp. There are often quite rusted as well.
On a recent trip to the Las Tablas hospital for a tetanus booster after a fishing incident, I got to see first hand that damage that can be done in a machete fight. As I was sitting in the waiting room of the emergency room, a man walked in covered in blood.
Some nurses quickly approached him asking him if he was okay. He said he was fine and was just going to wait his turn. I think the horrified looks on the faces of everyone else in the ER gave the nurses a clue to get this guy out of the waiting room.
When he got up from the chair he was seated in, it was covered in blood and he left a trail of blood behind him as he walked to a treatment room. The blood was flowing from a huge gash on the top of his head, as well as about 3 other significant machete wounds to other parts of his body.
I don’t know if this guy was drunk or if his adrenaline had kicked in, but he didn’t seem to be in that much pain. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out how he made out. One thing is for sure, I bet he needed a lot of stitches.
|Written by Rebecca Tyre|
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