Panama Bay, Panama.  Editorial credit: Rob Crandall /


Panama’s political institutions are democratic, with competitive elections and orderly rotations of power. Freedoms of expression and association are generally respected. However, corruption and impunity are serious challenges, affecting the justice system and the highest levels of government. Discrimination against racial minorities is common, and Indigenous groups have struggled to uphold their legal rights with respect to land and development projects.

FIW 2021 crop 2 cover photo

Freedom in the World — Panama Country Report

Panama is rated Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.