Panama faces the final stretch of the preparations for the World Youth Day (WYD) and completes the construction of mega-structures, from where Pope Francis will address thousands of young people from all over the world in just three weeks, said today Event organizers.
The pontiff, who will arrive in Panama on January 23, will officiate mass masses in different parts of the city, including the Cinta Costera, a leafy promenade that connects the old town with the financial center and is also one of the main routes of entry and exit of the city.
There dozens of workers work against the clock to finish assembling the huge platform of 8 meters high, where the Pope will inaugurate the event on January 24.
"This is a platform on four levels and it is that way (so high) because there is a lot of trees, a lot of bridge, which makes the visual field difficult." Setting up a platform on the Cinta Costera is very complex, "explained Jorge Díaz, one of the engineers responsible for the construction of the infrastructure.
Another huge structure rises in the so-called Metro Park, a land of the Mibus company about 10 kilometers east of the capital and close to the expressway that leads to Tocumen International Airport, where the final mass of WYD will be officiated on January 27.
During his stay in Panama, the pontiff will also hold meetings with the Panamanian Government and the Central American bishopric and will visit a juvenile prison and a social shelter run by the Church.
"The Holy Father is the personality that has generated the most challenges in terms of security and logistics, we have been preparing his visit for over a year," acknowledged the captain of the Institutional Protection Service (SPI) Michael Mcclain, responsible for security on the platform. from the seafront.
WYD, whose last edition was held in Krakow (Poland), is one of the most important events of the Catholic Church, which every three years brings together thousands of young people from all over the world with the pope.
Francisco's visit has generated immense interest not only in Panama but throughout Central America, since the last, and only, pontiff who traveled to the region was John Paul II in 1983.
The Panamanian Episcopal Conference reported in November that there are already 226,000 registered pilgrims and about 5,000 accredited journalists.
The Panamanian government estimates that WYD will generate $ 250 million in revenue and, although it has not officially reported costs, different local media suggest that the event will demand at least $ 47 million.