Blog

0

p1

p2

p3

p4

p5

 

~ ~ ~
Estos anuncios son interactivos. Toque en ellos para seguir a las páginas de web

 

Spanish PayPal button

Tweet

FB esp

vote español

0

firmando

Rechazamos el traicionero “pacto” de Barro Blanco

por el Polo Ciudadano

Polo Ciudadano rechaza categóricamente la manera espuria como el gobierno panameñista de Juan C. Varela ha impuesto un supuesto “pacto” sobre la cuestiona hidroeléctrica de Barro Blanco con autoridades de la comarca Ngäbe-Buglé cuya legitimidad está en duda.

El acuerdo firmado en Llano Tugri claramente desconoce la demanda sostenida por el pueblo de la comarca desde hace diez años de: ¡No a la hidroeléctrica!

Todo el proceso de imposición del proyecto hidroeléctrico de Barro Blanco ha estado salpicado siempre de mentiras, engaños, arbitrariedades, ilegalidades y represión; desde que, en 2006, la administración de Martín Torrijos (PRD y aliado), lo negociara en secreto con un cacique ilegítimo, incumpliendo con la legislación ambiental vigente y desconociendo a la población directamente afectada.

El gobierno de Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal – CD; no sólo avaló el proyecto, propiedad de capitalistas hondureños, sino que le concedió una ampliación en la capacidad de generación eléctrica de 19 megavatios a 28 megavatios, sin un estudio de impacto ambiental, como lo manda la ley, y sometiendo a una represión policial que dejo heridos y muertos al pueblo Ngäbe-Buglé.

Siguiendo entonces con ese gran mega negociado, el gobierno del partido “Panameñista” de Varela, actuó con dolo y alevosía desde un principio; engañando al pueblo panameño y a los pobladores de la comarca, con una supuesta “negociación”, mientras permitía la continuidad de la construcción de la hidroeléctrica, para llegar a una situación de hechos consumados como la actual.

En ese sentido, consideramos que, en el “acuerdo” de Llano Tugri no sólo se avala la existencia de la hidroeléctrica, sino que también respalda a una empresa extranjera que desde un inicio violó todas las normas y leyes nacionales en esta materia. En dicho “acuerdo”, tampoco se especifica el monto y manera de dar las compensaciones a las familias y comunidades afectadas.

Si bien el acuerdo establece que un porcentaje de “ganancias” que genere la hidroeléctrica irán a inversiones públicas en la comarca, no se establece nada en concreto, pues no se precisa el 15% de ¿cuánto?; tomando en cuenta la deuda con la banca, los gastos operativos de los nuevos administradores “privados”, y las cuantiosas ganancias que ellos mismos se embolsen.

Al igual que al inicio, cuando el proyecto fue impuesto negociando con un cacique de manera ilegítima; ahora nuevamente se repite la ilegitimidad, pues la propia Corte Suprema de Justicia, mediante un fallo ya había desconocido hace meses a las actuales autoridades comarcales.

Por lo que, debieron mediar elecciones de autoridades previo a cualquier rúbrica. En ese sentido, está en duda, este “pacto”, pues, la legitimidad la firma de los “caciques” Silvia Carrera, Jeremías Montero y Chito Gallardo, queda en entredicho.

Como Polo Ciudadano, reconociendo el derecho a la lucha por la madre tierra de nuestros pueblos indígenas, exigimos la derogación de este “acuerdo” dudoso, hasta que se establezcan medidas para la consulta real y democrática en el pueblo Ngäbe-Buglé, respecto al proyecto hidroeléctrico de Barro Blanco.

 

~ ~ ~
Estos anuncios son interactivos. Toque en ellos para seguir a las páginas de web

 

Spanish PayPal button

Tweet

FB esp

vote español

0
Ka-BOOM
Saudi Arabia is using billions in US aid to fund their onslaught against innocent civilians in Yemen, but it’s not too late for Congress to stop this madness. Wikimedia photo of the aftermath of a 2015 Saudi bombing raid on a residential neighborhood in the southern part of Yemen’s capital.

US weapons sales are drenched in Yemeni blood

by Medea Benjamin — OtherWords

When Pope Francis visited the US Congress in September 2015, he boldly posed a moral challenge to his American hosts, asking: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”

“Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money,” he solemnly concluded. “Money that is drenched in blood.”

In this case, it’s innocent Yemeni blood.

During his almost eight years in office, President Obama has approved a jaw-dropping, record-breaking $110 billion in weapons sales to the repressive Saudi regime, all with Congressional backing.

“In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and stop the arms trade,” Pope Francis said. Our lawmakers have failed miserably at heeding the Pope’s call.

Manufacturers such as Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and McDonnell Douglas have been pushing these sales to offset military spending cuts in the United States and Europe. These weapons manufacturers spend millions on lobbying, filling the campaign coffers of both Republicans and Democrats.

In addition to that lobbying power, US officials were pressured to placate Saudi Arabia after the Obama administration made a deal with its adversary, Iran. That appeasement came in the form of a level and quality of arms exports that should’ve never been approved for a repressive regime with an atrocious human rights record.

Saudi Arabia is the number one exporter of radical Islamic extremism on the planet. Fifteen of the 19 Sep. 11 hijackers were radicalized Saudi citizens. The regime oppresses religious minorities, women, LGBT people, and dissidents, while dozens of non-violent participants in their own Arab Spring protests face execution, usually by beheading.

The Pentagon says that providing the Saudis with F-15s bombers, Apache helicopters, armored vehicles, missiles, and bombs supports Saudi Arabian defense missions and helps promote stability in the region. But since March 2015, the Saudis have being using these weapons offensively to intervene in neighboring Yemen.

Their relentless onslaught has killed thousands of innocent civilians, decimated Yemen’s infrastructure, and left more than 21 million people — that’s 4 out of 5 Yemenis — desperately in need of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations has said that Saudi air strikes on civilian targets likely constitute war crimes and calls the situation in Yemen a “catastrophe.”

Despite this carnage, the Obama administration just announced an additional $1.15 billion in Saudi weapons sales.

In the week following that announcement, the Saudis bombed a Yemeni potato chip factory, a school, a residential neighborhood, and a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital. Most of the dead and wounded were women and children.

But it’s not too late for Congress to stop this madness.

By law, they have 30 days after arms sales are announced to stop or modify the deals. And despite the overall apathetic response to the crisis in Yemen, not all members of Congress are turning a blind eye to the violence.

California Democratic Congressman Ted Leiu, for example, is ready to take a stand. “When Saudi Arabia continues to kill civilians, and in this case children, enough is enough,” he said.

Senators Chris Murphy and Rand Paul have also come out against the sale. But for the sake of thousands of innocent civilians who could be slaughtered with these weapons, many more members must act quickly.

It’s high time for Congress to answer the Pope’s challenge to stop the arms trade and help prevent more Yemeni bloodshed.

 
Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of the peace group CODEPINK and the author of nine books, including the recently released Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. Distributed by OtherWords.

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.

 

Overseas Vote

original colors button

FB_2

Tweet

vote español

0
Boquete Jazz and Blues -small
For a larger version of this poster click here.

Boquete’s main musical event grows

Last time the best known member of the 70s band War, since largely a solo artist heading the pack of the world’s harmonica players, the Danish immigrant to the USA Lee Oskar, was the star of the Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival. In 2017 he will be back with the true successor to War, The Lowrider Band. (For those of you who are provincially Panamanian in outlook, lowriding isn’t an isthmian thing — for one thing our streets and roads are too poorly maintained to support it. It’s a Southern California Mexican-American thing. Maybe The Donald’s new Responsible Hispanic Spokespeople might be able to explain it: all Latin American cultures are not the same.) If you are more decidedly a soul-influenced gringo and are down for the struggle, or were back then, you may know the sound of these folks from the anthem.

But look down the chart a bit and you see Patricia Zarate and a band from the Danilo Pérez Foundation in the lineup, and take note of that tie with the much larger, a bit older and more internationally renowned Panama Jazz Festivals. Intertwining institutional roots can probably be broken down mathematically or empirically into several indicia of growth even if the grasping types who have driven the world economy into a hole won’t be able to see anything too significant on the bottom line. Alas, Volcan Baru has a deficit of volcano virgins these days and there are logistical limits to how many people whom the little mountain town of Boquete can comfortably host. If you sacrifice people or things on an altar of growth, then Boquete is perhaps not the place for your wildest dreams, even if the area is and has been growing. So Goldman Sachs is not a corporate sponsor, nor is the Trump Ocean Club. But Wyndham, whose Tryp hotel is at the end of the mall between the national bus terminal and the Albrook airport, surely ought to get some business from those who fly into Tocumen, then take domestic transportation to Boquete and back, then fly back out from Tocumen. The Tryp would be a logical place to stay between international and domestic flights for those who want to make less grueling travel plans. Maybe or maybe not for that reason, Wyndham is one of the Boquete festival’s sponsors this year. Then set aside all of those considerations for a moment and if you’re an old hippie online publisher who periodically puts out emails that include notices of things to do in Panama, the February 9-12 cast of performers at Boquete represents growth.

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.

 

original colors button

vote español

FB_2

Tweet

Overseas Vote

0
Walk 1
Try to solve traffic congestion wth new and wider roads — and more traffic is attracted.

The “other way” to the Casco Viejo

photos and captions by Eric Jackson

Going to cover an event in the Casco Viejo, the plan was to take the bus in from the Interior, the Metro to the Cinco de Mayo station, then walk up the Peatonal toward where I was going. But I went out the “wrong” exit, the one near the Museo Afroantillano, so decided to walk a different route, down to Avenida Balboa, across to the Cinta Costera, along that seashore development for a stretch and then from there through Santa Ana to the Casco Viejo. The rain restrained itself to a few tiny drops and it was quite a scenic walk. But the westbound part of Avenida Balboa was a challenge because there are not enough pedestrian overpasses, which meant a long wait for a traffic light that never changed, a partial momentary lull in the traffic and a dangerous dash across the street. There is a bridge to get over the eastbound lanes. The Cinta Costera is three different connected projects, with contracting about which we can argue and urban planning merits and demerits of each part. Once past the main pedestrian hazard — there wasn’t a proper pedestrian crossing at the end of my walk along the waterfront strip, but traffic was not nearly so heavy there — I beheld one of the nicer parts of Panama City.

 

The Walk 2
The foreign travel writers who take in the capital’s scenery by taxi tend to miss the pedestrian takes on Panama City’s emblematic new skyline.

 

The Walk 3
We can quibble about geography and class, which are important considerations for urban planning, but regardless of those things we are dealing with an impressive addition to the city’s park system.

 

The Walk 4
The Muelle Fiscal, the precursor of which was once upon a time an important point of entry for Panama but now mostly serves small fishing and tourism vessels, after which point this writer crossed over into Santa Ana. Notice the curved and partly obstructed Trump Ocean Club on the far right of this photo.

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.

 

original colors button

Overseas Vote

FB_2

Tweet

vote español

0
call any of them
Just remember to eat your mushrooms. Graphic by the US Department of Agriculture.

Lunch and Learn: How shall we sort our protein priorities?

by Manuel Paez

Dr. Tom Watkins, a visiting scholar at FSU Panama, gave a lecture titled ‘How shall we sort our protein priorities’ on the 19th of July, 2016. In this lecture he spoke about how the opinion of western academics regarding vegetarianism has changed over time, and about the benefits of having diets with little or no meat; he also spoke about studies which have shown that animal protein may increase the risk of osteoporosis, which is when bones become fragile or brittle due to a lack of density.

In the past, nutrition experts thought that meat was a necessary part of a balanced diet — since plants do not make a variety of vitamins that are essential for metabolic processes that our bodies need to make energy; such as vitamin B9, or folic acid.The consensus was that we are able to not eat meat for a while and be fine, but that eventually our bodies would become deficient in folic acid, which would lead to symptoms such as weakness, tiredness, and pale skin. However, we now know that this is not necessarily true, since edible fungi produce folic acid and other essential vitamins.

As a student in UC Berkeley, Dr. Watkins decided to see what not eating meat would do to him, he found that his energy levels increased and that he began to feel better overall — which contradicted what his professors had told him.

In 1971, Walker and his team conducted a study in South Africa, where the compared the bone densities of Bantu women, who lived in a rural area and did not eat much meat, and caucasian women in cities. Back then, it was thought that having more children was bad for women’s bone health, and that getting enough calcium was enough for good bone health, however; the study found that Bantu women had better bone health, despite having more children and not getting significantly more calcium than the women from cities.

Native Americans in Alaska have diets that are very high in animal proteins and low in carbohydrates, and they tend to have below average bone densities as they age. Seventh Day Adventists, other other hand, are vegetarians, and they have above average bone densities as they age.

All of this information backs up the idea that animal protein is worse for bone health than plant protein. The reason for this may be because animal protein has a higher percentage of Sulfur than plant protein, which is changed into Sulfuric acid in our bodies. Studies on fishes that live in lakes that are highly acidic show that those fishes have lower bone densities than the ones in normal lakes.

In conclusion, plant protein is better for our health than animal protein, however; plants alone are not enough for a balanced diet since they lack certain vitamins, so fungi need to be incorporated into vegetarian diets.

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.

 

original colors button

FB_2

Tweet

Overseas Vote

0
The Wall 1
There is no historical marker that explains what this remnant of Panama’s history is and was. Nowadays it’s a good place to put your laundry out to rinse in the rain and dry in the sun.

The Wall

photos and historical note by Eric Jackson

Morgan’s 1671 raid on Panama la Vieja was one of the last major military campaigns in the Wars of the Reformation — if you don’t count things that have gone on in Ireland, especially Northern Ireland, down into our times — but troubles with the British crown, and with various species of pirates and privateers, did not end. The colonial city established by Pedrarias the Cruel did end in a fashion, as between the Spanish scorched earth policy and the British looting and destruction there wasn’t much that was left intact. Within a few years a new city center was begun on a rocky peninsula a few miles to the west, in what is now the corregimiento of San Felipe. That site was chosen for its ability to be militarily defended. The best preserved defenses are around Plaza Francia, with a tall sea wall, the old dungeons and military and government offices and, as you can see on the side facing Amador, the wall where Liberal guerrilla General Victoriano Lorenzo and others faced firing squads. (There is a plaque on the spot of that infamous act of the Conservative regime that was in control of Panama City in May of 1903.)

But facing landward there was also a tall and thick defensive wall, with gun positions every 200 or so feet, which had a surrounding moat and highly restricted access by three gates with drawbridges. After Morgan’s raid the arguments with the Brits were not so much over the relative merits of Catholicism and its Protestant offshoots but about trade policies, European dynastic successions and esoterica like Captain Jenkins’s ear. But while the Atlantic Side and adjacent Caribbean waters and the roads leading to and from Panama City remained vulnerable to British predation, nobody ever tried to force their way past the wall around the Casco Viejo.

In the middle of the 18th century those hostilities ended with a series of whimpers, but the wall persisted for another century, through Panama’s independence from Spain and into the era of Colombia’s endless civil wars being played out in Panama. With those political changes there was a continuity and a series of alterations in the wall’s purpose.

If British corsairs were the original fear, there was also the function of defending the Spanish elite of church and state from slave revolts. As it turned out this was not as big a problem as feared because the main form of resistance for African slaves was to escape to the jungle and join Cimarron communities, black villages in which aspects of West African culture, religion and governance persisted. There was a Spanish Inquisition court in Cartagena to deal with the African religions but for an increasingly destitute Spanish Empire going after these communities was mostly not worth the bother. The Spaniards still had slavery, with all of its implications, until early in the 19th century. This wall and the rest of the original buildings of the Casco Viejo, like Panama La Vieja and the fortifications of such Atlantic Side sites as Portobelo, Fort San Lorenzo and Nombre de Dios, were built by black slaves.

Surely the names of the architects who drew up the plans for the Casco Viejo’s wall, gates, moat and drawbridges are still written down somewhere — back in Madrid the Spanish government was concerned about the project’s cost and would have wanted to know such details — but along with the wall’s existence and purposes, these data have dropped out of popular memory here. (Research by Dr. Roberto Bruno has revealed the role of Italian military architects in many of Panama’s colonial era fortifications.) The thread of the nation’s memory of the wall picks up in 1856, after slavery was abolished but when racial stratification persisted, and when the rising new threat from the English-speaking world was directed out of Washington rather than London.

Back then there were these would-be American conquerors from the southern slave states, looking to imitate what had happened in Texas by conquering parts of Latin America and turning them into new slave states to affect the balance of power in the US Senate. The most infamous of these men, called filibusters, was a “gray-eyed man of destiny,” William Walker. To have a Casco Viejo in which the only black people welcome at night were domestic servants must have looked like an attractive prospective capital of a new slave state to men like this. To the cruder Americans crossing the isthmus at a time when popular and ultimately legal US opinion was that black people have no rights that whites are bound to respect, a Panama without slavery was a place for constant insults and fights. It came to a head in April of 1856 in the slums outside the Casco Viejo walls, when a white American named Jack Oliver took it upon himself to swipe a piece of watermelon from a black vendor, José Manuel Luna. The latter asserted his right to be paid and the former introduced a pistol into the argument. When the smoke cleared dozens were dead and US forces invaded Panama not long afterward.

So by the middle of the 19th century the wall was not only a symbol that attracted a wrong sort of notice that itself posed a military threat and no longer was needed to resist slave revolts in a place where that social relationship had been abolished. Inside the Casco Viejo much of the colonial construction was in ruins due to the ravages of an earthquake and several major fires. The place needed to be rebuilt and the wall didn’t fit into the plans. Thus, beginning in the middle of the 19th century, the old landward facing fortifications began to be dismantled. This remnant, not far from the Casco Viejo’s Plaza Herrera, is one of the last visible reminders.

The Wall 2
These days if an angry crowd wants to march down to the Presidencia they need not breach this wall. They can walk around it.

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.

 

original colors button

FB_2

Tweet

Overseas Vote

0
Tower of Babel
By another tradition: “O people, We have created you male and female and made you nations and tribes that you may know one another.”

Alas, no Babylonian female vocalists on YouTube

Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to Love
https://youtu.be/-Xj03UNGFHU
Cassia Eller – O Segundo Sol
https://youtu.be/H2oz3PT46SY
translation to English from the Portuguese
Zahara – Imali
https://youtu.be/I7lsAaliIvg
translation to English from the Xhosa
Bonnie Raitt – I Can’t Make You Love Me
https://youtu.be/lLN4f3P1qoI
Bessie Smith – Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair
https://youtu.be/WrCHsL68AZQ
Janis Joplin – Ball and Chain
https://youtu.be/Z1LAphWvPwI
Joan Osborne – One Of Us
https://youtu.be/geaj9Fb0H6c
Boney M – Rivers of Babylon
https://youtu.be/gXYQwsRuNDE
Mercedes Sosa – Solo le pido a Dios
https://youtu.be/5Mp8W_-gtcg
Celtic Woman – Óró Sé Do Bheatha ‘Bhaile
https://youtu.be/nbcPlb0OQw4
Carla Morrison – Déjenme Llorar
https://youtu.be/JOFsUzyPSqY

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.
Estos anuncios son interactivos. Toque en ellos para seguir a las páginas de web.

 

vote español

little donor button

FB_2

Tweet

Overseas Vote

Spanish PayPal button

0
Percussion 1
Nicky Campbell’s seminar was a wide ranging interdisciplinary presentation centered around musical traditions from the once great African empire of Mali and its outstanding at the time cultural and trading center of Timbuktu. Not particularly emphasized in the talk but indicated in the photo was another very important aspect of the festivals that the Danilo Pérez Foundation organizes — the identification and development of those kids whose talents make them good enough to play with the adults.

The Percussion Festival has class(es)

photos and captions by Eric Jackson

Yes, the Central American Percussion Festivals that are one of the cultural features of August in Panama City are promoted as a series of excellent concerts that one need not be possessed of beatnik tendencies to appreciate. But like all of the stuff that the Danilo Pérez Foundation does, it mainly has an educational purpose. The stars of the evening performances are the teachers by day. Nobody gets rich from these events — at least, not directly so in a pecuniary sense — but Panama does get enriched.

 

Percussion 2
Pepe Peña, a festival regular, brings Vene iterations of the Yoruba beat into the mix, and this year something different that Venezuela is doing. He’s introducing drums made from petroleum products rather than from trees and animal hides. He touts it as a boon to the natural environment and has a point, but for Venezuela as the era of fossil fuels phases out it’s a step in the direction of using petroleum as a manufacturing raw material, an obvious but not easy move for an economy based almost entirely on oil and gas.

 

Among the things that Omar Díaz's presentation got into was the relationship between a drummer and a percussionist when playing together in the same band. The basic rule is that the drummer is the "pilot" who sets the beat and the percussionist is the "co-pilot" who embellishes and enhances the drummer's lead.
Among the things that Omar Díaz’s presentation got into was the relationship between a drummer and a percussionist when playing together in the same band. The basic rule is that the drummer is the “pilot” who sets the beat and the percussionist is the “co-pilot” who embellishes and enhances the drummer’s lead.

 

Percussion 4
Colombian musician Juan Pablo Ruiz had as his main topic Brazilian percussion, which he covered. In passing he also talked about how the African call and response style in music is incorporated into the samba beat and discussed the science and philosophy of music therapy, in which music is used to mend or develop damaged or dysfunctional human nervous systems.

 

Percussion 5
So what is “tambojazz?” For one thing, the subject matter of Chale Icaza’s class. The term was coined by the late Panamanian pianist Víctor Boa. Precisely what Boa meant and what his most important influences were are matters of academic debate. Boa’s music, like most jazz, was a fusion of genres. Icaza demonstrated and described the numerical sequences of a number of musical forms from the drummer’s perspective, and explained why some things fuse better than others.

 

Percussion 7
Parenting is one of the big things in Danilo Pérez’s and Patricia Zarate’s life these days and in the back room while the adults and some of the young prodigies held classes beyond two sets of doors, there were these far less structured children’s activities, as in learning by play.

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.

 

original colors button

FB_2

Tweet

Overseas Vote

0
ALT PRD
Aldo Lopez Tirone, right, gets into the picture on the 2014 PRD campaign trail. He was a PARALECEN deputy at the time, then later ran for a party position and lost.  So does the extortion charge that he’s facing, whether true or not, drive him farther out onto the margins of political influence? Photo from his Facebook page.

An extortion bust at the margins

by Eric Jackson

[Editor’s note: The “www.dpanama.news” website is unrelated to The Panama News and never had any relationship. The former publication, of far more recent vintage than the latter, generally goes by the name “D Panamá” or “Democracía Panamá” and on its masthead sounds certain anti-oligarchic themes that one might also see played out in The Panama News. There have been a number of folks who have in one way or another pirated The Panama News name since we began publication in 1994 — some with the specific intent of sowing confusion intended to harm The Panama News — and there is the ever present apprehension that some thug who has pirated the name will go to court and pretend to be the “real” thing and get this website shut down and erased. The editor of The Panama News will refrain from trying to read the mind of the editor of D Panamá about this point at this time.]

The journalism as extortion racket meme has again come front and center in Panama. Historically it has almost always been bogus, but there is also a history of mass communications media being used for blackmail, for the most unfair sorts of political smears and in unseemly disputes with rival media organizations. The latest episode pits Aldo Lopez Tirone, an occasional PRD apparatchik and relatively minor business figure, against Emanuel González-Revilla, member of a noteworthy oligarchic family who has hydroelectric dam, banking, retail and media interests who is President Varela’s ambassador in Washington. Lopez Tirone was a Norieguista back in the late 80s when it became unpopular to be such. came back into influence with the PRD’s return to power in 1994, serving as deputy director of the SINAPROC disaster relief agency. Having served in various party positions, Lopez Tirone was rewarded with a major plum — big salary, juicy perks, immunity from criminal investigation, little public notice and almost no work — a seat in the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) between 2009 and 2014. As is common with Panama’s political caste, in between rides on the public office gravy train Lopez Tirone has dedicated himself to private pursuits. This time around one of his ventures is a news and commentary website, D Panama.

Aldo Lopez Tirone studied agribusiness in Chile and bought a business and finance diploma from the “Rocheville University” Pakistan-based online diploma mill. Such knowledge he has of the news business comes from political activities on various campaign trails and as a reader, viewer and listern of various media. In a way, he would be a poster boy for the Sindicato de Periodistas argument that Panama should license journalists and restrict the profession to those who graduate from the University of Panama’s Faculty of Social Communications. (But of course, from the ranks of such graduates it would be easy to come up with poster children to illustrate one of the arguments for the proposition that this licensing scheme a bad idea.) That a man who has held elected and appointed public offices and party posts within the PRD flaunts academic fraud on his Facebook page reflects part of the corrupt world view that is widely held among Panama’s political caste.

Emanuel González-Revilla studied business administration in the United States, with a BS from Wharton and an MBA from the University of Miami. These days his main business interests are in hydroelectric dams. He is on the boards of directors of Cable Onda and of the Delta gas station chain. He has been a player on the Panama City banking scene, which is now consolidated under mostly Colombian ownership. His extended family, perhaps the richest and most powerful in Chiriqui province, owns a chain of pharmacies and a major stake in MEDCOM, which spun off Cable Onda and runs the RPC and Telemetro TV channels. While the Gozález-Revilla surname plays prominently in PRD circles, that Emanuel serves in a Panameñista administration reflects a tendency among rabiblanco clans to place their sons among the various contending political forces so as to maintain family influence no matter which political party gains the upper hand.

So what’s the scoop? According to Lopez Tirone, it’s that the ambassador’s son does drugs and beat somebody up.

Taken, for the sake of argument, that this story is absolutely true, it would still cross a bright red line in Panamanian media culture and social discourse. Public officials have private lives that are generally off limits to publicity, and the private lives of their children are yet farther out of bounds. But there are exceptions to this. Does a president hire his mistress’s worthless and fugitive from justice brother as a diplomat? That allows a breaking of the normal taboo about discussing politicians’ mistresses. Were illegal drugs transported in a government car, or was illegal business conducted from an official residence? If a relative of a public official is involved in that sort of thing, it becomes newsworthy. But a drunken or drugged out brawl among adolescents, one of them the offspring of a public official, is a tale that almost all Panamanian journalists ignore, or at least just file in their memory for reference if the day comes when said wayward son decides to seek public office. We can argue about the propriety of such standards and hypocritical distinctions in their application, but those are parts of the Panamanian peculiarity about privacy.

The charge is that Lopez Tirone shook down the ambassador for a payment in exchange for not publicizing the alleged incident involving the latter’s son. But the defense is that the elder González-Revilla came to the editor of D Panama with an offer of a bribe not to publish the story, this offer was rejected, and there ensued a set-up in which the big proof was a $5,000 check enclosed in an envelope placed under the windshield wiper of the editor’s car.

Lopez Tirone’s home and car were raided on August 17 and he was taken into custody by police. After two days of interrogation, assistant prosecutor Marcelino Aguilar ordered him jailed under preventive detention for extortion.

 

~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.

 

original colors button

FB_2

Tweet

Overseas Vote