New Year's Eve muñecos, a Panama tradition
28/12/2012 - When driving on the Pan-American Highway at this time of year, it is impossible not to see the life-size dolls that dot the highway, the creation of local artists that use them to comment on current political issues.
This year popular dolls include National Assembly President Sergio Gálvez and Panamanian television personalities.
Most of the dolls are located in Chame.
The dolls are burned during New Year's Eve parties.
Artist Joimel Barrantes said that making and burning the dolls has become a popular tradition, and that it is meant to "turn the page for the next year."
José Torres, who has been making the dolls for 24 years, said that he started by making a doll in a military uniform with a pineapple for a head during the dictatorship.
He recalls laughingly that he was arrested, dismissed from his job and spent two weeks jailed on sedition charges.
He said he has not been bothered since, and this year made dolls representing, among others, the "gladiators of truth."