How do you say machete fight in Spanish?

Also, the name of one of the largest chain stores in Panama.

Mothers' Day is celebrated on the day of The Immaculate Conception here in Panama. This Mothers' Day, on December 8th, followed the normal mode of holidays in our town. The men were drinking heavily, and the women were making food.

A young man, Junior, came to blows with his Father. Cousin 1 came over to break it up. Cousin 1's father, Junior's uncle, came to help separate the two and while he was holding back Father, Junior went into the house and got a machete. Junior then stabbed/cut Uncle and Cousin 1, and ran off. Cousin 2 went to the public phone to call the authorities and encountered Father. They got into a fist fight, but Cousin 2 had a rock in his fist so Father went down quick.

We heard the yelling, but our neighbors are usually noisy on weekends and holidays so we didn't think much of it until Uncle's wife came to ask me to call the ambulances. It had to be two ambulances because if all the injured were put in the same vehicle they would probably finish each other off on the way down.

Foy took some medical supplies over to their house but the amount of blood on the ground made her uncomfortable so she left as soon as she could.

The ambulances a firetruck and some military type police showed up about two hours later after dark and left with roughly one fifth of our community. Only Uncle's injuries were bad enough to keep him in the hospital. He returned home in a week but his hand is still bandaged a month later. The irony is that he was the one trying to break up the fight.

All the violence was within a family so the police didn't do much. Cousin 2 spent one night in jail and payed a fine. The others involved should have received the same punishment but they left the hospital and came home skipping jail. The police came back up to collect them, but by the time their truck rolled noisily into town the three people they were looking for were all mysteriously gone. The police left with a big bag of oranges instead.

Machetazos are fairly common in Panama. Someone died in a nearby community from machete wounds when we first arrived. They frequently happen at bailes (dances), and almost always start as drunken disputes.

A machete costs less than two dollars and every house has at least half a dozen sitting around, poked point first into the ground, or stuck with a causal chop into a sideboard. Children use the old dull-ish ones as toys and camposinos (farmers) use them for everything. Rare is the camposino that doesn't have impressive machete scars, and not all of those scars were accidents.


  1. Wow, is this kind (and severity) of violence typical of where you are?

  2. Not very common, we hear stories. This is the first time we have been in the community when it happened.