Juan David Morgan

Useless Scars

Novel,  Planeta, 2019

 An event has marked many Latin Americans and probably all Panamanians: the United States’ invasion of Panama on December 20th, 1989. Both praised and rejected with equal fervor, the truth is that no one could remain indifferent to an event of this magnitude. Was it necessary? What were the real causes? What was supposed to be its purpose? The novel, carved out of a still talked about historical event, is neither a defense for the invasion, nor a diatribe against those who executed it. Many of the wounds left still remain open and, although time eventually heals, they will never disappear completely. Could it have been avoided? But above all, was it worth it?


“Useless Scars is the story of several characters joined by a common thread, which is their participation in the events of December 20th, 1989. Except for an encounter that turns out to be fatal, the characters do not know or run into each other throughout the novel. Each of them, however, would live and suffer in their own way the United States’ invasion of Panama. One of the characters, the Kuna Indian with the name Belisario Porras, would live for only a few moments the attack on the base of Rio Hato. The description of the albino Indian when his blue eyes “were lit forever” and the thrilling prose that follows is in my opinion the most beautiful part of the novel.”

Aristides Royo Abogado – Ex-President of Panama and essayist. Member of the Panamanian Academy of Language


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