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Bosques no perturbados tienen pocos mosquitos portadores de enfermedades

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Jorge Loaiza trabajando en Playa Brava de Isla Coiba. Foto por INDICASAT-AIP.

Mosquitos portadores de enfermedades son poco
comunes en bosques tropicales no perturbados

por STRI

Un estudio realizado recientemente por científicos del Smithsonian, el gobierno panameño y la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de los Estados Unidos de América, entre otras instituciones internacionales, concluye que la conservación de los bosques tropicales maduros es “altamente recomendada” para prevenir nuevos brotes de enfermedades virales y parasitarias transmitidas por mosquitos.

“Encontramos que menos especies de mosquitos, que son conocidos por portar patógenos causantes de enfermedades, viven en áreas boscosas en comparación con las áreas perturbadas”, comentó José Loaiza, científico del Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología de Panamá (INDICASAT-AIP) e Investigador Asociado del Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI) en Panamá. “Es más probable que las especies de mosquitos de sitios forestales alterados transmitan enfermedades que las de mosquitos nativos de un área de bosque tropical maduro”.

El equipo de Loaiza utilizó códigos de barras de ADN para identificar alrededor de 8,000 larvas de mosquitos que representaban más de 50 especies, colectadas en contenedores naturales y artificiales de agua en 245 sitios donde el bosque tropical de tierras bajas estaba muy perturbado (Las Pavas en la orilla oeste del Canal), medianamente perturbado (Achiote, en la orilla oriental del Canal) y sin perturbaciones (en la estación de investigación del Smithsonian en Isla Barro Colorado).

El intento de los franceses de construir el Canal de Panamá fracasó porque nadie sabía cómo se propagaba la malaria y la fiebre amarilla. El descubrimiento en Cuba de que los mosquitos llevaban agentes causantes de enfermedades hizo posible que los Estados Unidos completara el Canal Interoceánico en 1914.

Debido a que el control de los mosquitos fue tan importante para el éxito del proyecto del Canal de Panamá durante todo el siglo XX, existe en el país una gran cantidad de información disponible sobre los mosquitos transmisores de enfermedades. El Catálogo de Mosquitos de la Unidad de Biosistemática del Walter Reed y otras fuentes bibliográficas registraron 286 especies de Culicidae (la familia del Mosquito) en Panamá. Anopheles albimanus es el principal vector de la malaria en Centroamérica. Culex nigripalpus es el principal vector del virus de la encefalitis equina oriental en los Estados Unidos y Culex pedroi es el principal vector del virus de la encefalitis equina oriental en Perú. Todas estas especies de mosquitos y enfermedades ocurren en Panamá.

“Las especies de mosquitos portadores de patógenos causantes de enfermedades prevalecen en entornos forestales perturbados, pero son casi inexistentes en sitios forestales no perturbados como la estación de investigación del Smithsonian en Isla Barro Colorado”, comentó Oris Sanjur, directora asociada de STRI para la administración científica y bióloga molecular participante en el estudio. “Nuestros resultados tienen implicaciones importantes para la prevención y el control de las enfermedades tropicales. Este es un conocimiento vital a medida que avanza el calentamiento global y los organismos de enfermedades tropicales se expanden hacia nuevas áreas”.

Los investigadores probaron un modelo ecológico controversial que pronosticaba que la mayor diversidad de especies de mosquitos debería ocurrir en bosques medianamente perturbados, conocido como la Hipótesis de los Disturbios Intermedios. No encontraron que esto fuera cierto.

“Puede ser posible sustituir a los mosquitos transmisores de enfermedades introduciendo otras especies que compitan con ellas en la fase larvaria”, comentó Loaiza.

El estudio fue realizado bajo un acuerdo entre el Smithsonian y el Instituto de Investigación Walter Reed del Ejército de los Estados Unidos con fondos de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de los Estados Unidos, la SENACYT y el Programa BIOTA Fapesp de la Organización Brasileña de Investigación de Sao Paulo.

Vea Loaiza, J.R., Dutari L.C., Rovira, J.R., Sanjur, O.I., et al. 2017. Disturbance and mosquito diversity in the lowland tropical rainforest of central Panama. Scientific Reports. 7:7248 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-07476-2

 

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Ben-Meir, Afghanistan plan is doomed

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US Marine Cpl. Charles Kristel, team leader assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regional Command (Southwest), reviews his map during a break in an interdiction operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan. US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Paul Peterson.

Trump’s “new” strategy in Afghanistan is doomed to fail

by Alon Ben-Meir

President Trump’s new strategy that would presumably win the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan is doomed to fail, just like Bush’s and Obama’s before him. At best, the reported dispatch of an additional 4,000 American troops as recommended by his security chiefs will prevent the total collapse of Afghanistan and thwart the Taliban from winning. Given the complex nature of the conflict, however, the status quo will not change in any significant way.

One might think that after 16 years, the United States should have learned that the Taliban will not be defeated. The only solution rests on a negotiated agreement with the Taliban while inviting the Afghan tribes to do the heavy lifting, as they are the only party who can effectively work with the Taliban to reach an enduring agreement. Together, they can fight against the various terrorist groups that have converged on Afghanistan, because they want to end foreign interventions that have done nothing but cause socio-political havoc and instability since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

The only pointed and correct statement Trump made in his “new strategy” is that the US should not undertake the practice of nation-building, and certainly not dictate how the Afghan people live their lives and govern themselves. The United States, with the support of the tribes, should focus on combating terrorism, especially from al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other radical extremist groups.

The Taliban should receive a clear signal that they are an important part of the new strategy to reach a peace accord, provided they demonstrate their willingness to negotiate in earnest, knowing that otherwise they will have to continue to be engaged in an intractable fight against US forces without any chance of succeeding.

It is true and necessary for the United States to develop strategic partnerships, especially with India and Pakistan, to help in the fight against terrorism, and use its political, economic, and military assets to that end. However, whereas India would be willing to partner with the United States, it is not a given that the besieged Pakistani government will be able to fully commit itself even if it chooses to, because a) the ongoing political turmoil in Islamabad prevents the development of a cohesive policy to combat the plethora of terrorist groups, which makes the task extremely difficult; and b) Pakistan does not want to fight the Taliban knowing that they will sooner or later be a part of the Afghan government (if not in control of it), with which they have to coexist.

For these reasons, it is naïve to think that after 16 years of fighting, dispatching an additional military force of 4,000 soldiers will change anything. In fact, at its peak over 100,000 American soldiers were unable to dramatically change the dynamic of the conflict and create a sustainable political and security structure that would allow US troops to leave.

No one in the Trump administration, including the Pentagon, is offering any convincing argument that additional forces would win the war. At best, they can arrest the continuing advances of the Taliban, which is now in control of nearly half the country.

Although Trump correctly shifted away from a time-based approach and instead linked it to progress made on the ground, this effort will succeed only if the US immediately embraces peace talks while fighting foreign terrorist groups.

To be sure, there will not be a military solution to the Afghan war. Trump has now the opportunity to change the dynamic of the conflict by looking at the Taliban not as the enemy, but as the partner in the search for a sustainable solution.

The sooner the United States accepts this reality the better, so that the US can focus on a practical outcome that can emerge only through negotiations with moderate elements of the Taliban and with full participation of the tribal leaders.

In a conversation I had with Ajmal Khan Zazai, tribal leader and Paramount Chief of Paktia province in Afghanistan (which I discussed in a previous article in July), he noted that previous American military approaches have never had a chance of succeeding, due to their “[obsession] with their version of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’… They don’t believe in homegrown or Afghan local solutions led by the tribes…” He emphasized the fact that “Afghanistan is a tribal country, the tribes are the past, present, and the future.” I fully agree that excluding the tribes from this battle against violent extremism, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, will simply not work.

To prevent repeating past mistakes, the Trump administration must now reach out to the tribal chiefs and together develop a strategy that would allow the Taliban to fully participate in peace talks with the objective of reaching a long-term solution.

The chiefs would require US financial assistance to the tune of four to five hundred million dollars a year, over a few years (which is a fraction of what we spend today). The purpose of this would be to recruit and train their own militia to fight their own battles against the assortment of terrorists.

Under such a scenario, the Taliban will have to commit themselves to fight, alongside the Afghan military, against all extremist and terror groups, particularly al-Qaeda and ISIS. Once the Taliban becomes a part of the government, they would develop a vested interest in the stability of Afghanistan, and will have every reason to prevent Pakistan and Iran, in particular, from meddling in the internal affairs of their country.

To be sure, the Taliban are Afghan nationals and will not be dislodged from their own land; likewise, the support of the tribes is essential as they want to take matters into their hands. They know that time is on their side because no foreign power has ever been able to conquer Afghanistan, dominate the country, and change the Afghans’ way of life.

Every foreign power was forced to eventually leave because they could not sustain their conquest or domination. If the US wants to end this debilitating war, it must focus on local forces for a permanent solution and leave Afghanistan sooner than later with some dignity.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

 

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Varela imposes visa requirement on Venezuelans

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A president who’s down in the polls addresses a nation that seems to be weary of him to do what the demagogues wanted him to do, albeit for a different reason. Photo by the Presidencia.

As of October, Venes will need a visa before coming here

by Eric Jackson

For several years there has been some strident agitation against foreigners, especially by PRD legislator Zulay Rodríguez and a faction of the PRD, an affiliate party of the Socialist International. That party, still Panama’s largest, has fallen upon hard times and Zulay would remake it into an immigrant-bashing formation like France’s National Front. Colombians, with whom Zulay had some controversial dealings as a judge, she dismisses as “scum.” Nicaraguans coming to take low-paying jobs and American permanent tourists have also taken some of the wrath. But because of Venezuela’s crisis, a mostly ruined middle class and some folks who still have money have been fleeing here in droves for years. A few of these immigrants have done or said obnoxious things, which have then been used by some to characterize the great majority of Venezuelans here — who are not like that. It’s the Venes who have been the targets of most of the complaints about immigration into Panama.

In their historical roots, Varela’s Panameñista Party was founded by the Nazi sympathizer Arnulfo Arias and the PRD traces back to José A. Remón, the military officer who played an important role in the coup that ousted Arias on the eve of the US entry into World War II and went on to be elected president in the 50s. One might expect the immigrant bashers and those whom they accuse of being too soft to be aligned the other way around. Times change.

In any case, what’s a relatively unpopular Panamanian president to do, with Venezuela just the other side of Colombia from us and conditions so bad in Venezuela that people are trying to get out however and to wherever they can? Moreover, what’s he to do with the breakdown of Venezuela’s Bolivarian constitutional order and the US president using that as an excuse to threaten military action?

On August 22 Varela went on national television and announced that as of October 1, Venezuelans would need to get a Panamanian visa stamped in their passports before coming to Panama. He said that this measure would last as long as the crisis in Venezuela does. He reiterated Panama’s position that Venezuelans should negotiate a peaceful settlement of their problems among themselves. The president avoids the xenophobic posturing, while saying that he’s protecting Panama’s national interests and sending a tacit message to his Venezuelan counterpart that the collapse of another country’s oil economy will not be Panama’s burden to bear.

 

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Scenes in Panama City’s corregimento of San Francisco

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SF
Surely the richest of Panama City’s corregimientos, San Francisco is vast and not all that homogenous. It makes for an interesting photo stroll up Via Porras and over to the area around ATLAPA.

San Francisco, Panama

photos by Eric Jackson

 

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No indication that these almonds are farmed for any agricultural market or a person’s consumption, but there they are, growing by a city street.

 

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Whether or not the burial of Panama City’s cables and wires is a good idea, it is one of the previous administration’s contracting scandals and was only partly done. In the background we see one of Panama’s slow-moving construction projects. The speed at which buildings are completed (or not) is one of those seldom published economic numbers that have some importance.

 

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Parked in a corner of one of ATLAPA’s lots, perhaps to be pressed into service in the event of a disaster.

 

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Your editor is thinking some sort of antwren, but this little guy’s not in his bird books.

 

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Tagging as urban art: was it an intrusion onto some gang’s turf to take this picture?

 

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As with a musician, a skater has to PRACTICE to get those moves right.

 

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Dead end urban planning: designing the city for cars.

 

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Roses? Those you find in Spanish Harlem. This is San Francisco, and these are legumes.

 

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Is Ryan Kelly’s iconic photograph an American ‘Guernica’?

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fascist aggression
Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress.

Is Ryan Kelly’s iconic photograph an American ‘Guernica’?

by Jennifer Wenzel — The Conversation

On August 12, Charlottesville Daily Progress photographer Ryan M. Kelly captured the exact moment that Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields, Jr. drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters, injuring 19 and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. It’s probably the most enduring image to emerge from the weekend of “Unite the Right” rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.

At first glance, Kelly’s photograph is nearly impossible to make sense of visually or politically. Cars are not supposed to drive into pedestrians; fellow citizens are not supposed to kill each other over political differences. And there’s so much in the frame of the image –- so many figures and forms crowded together, most only partially visible –- that you can’t take it in all at once.

Pablo Picasso’s 1937 iconic mural “Guernica” might teach us how to interpret this image more closely, and why it is important to do so. Like Kelly’s photograph, “Guernica” conveys a moment of terror through a jumble of forms and fragments that seem to make no sense.

In April 1937, a different sort of “Unite the Right” moment took place in fascist Europe during the destruction of Guernica. At the request of General Franco, the leader of nationalist insurgents in the Spanish Civil War, German and Italian warplanes bombarded the Basque town in northern Spain. Terror rained from the sky: Hundreds of civilians were killed, while military targets were left unscathed.

Days later, as May Day protesters filled the streets of Paris, Pablo Picasso began what would become an anti-war masterpiece.

fascist aggression
Pablo Picasso, ‘Guernica’ (1937). Reina Sofia.

There are uncanny echoes of Picasso’s “Guernica” in Kelly’s photograph. Picasso used the Cubist techniques of fragmentation and collage to create a visual cry of anguish at the destruction wrought by men at the controls of war machines.

To make sense of the painting, you must do the work of reassembling what has been rendered apart. Yet you will never make sense of such destruction. You cannot merely glance at this massive painting or take it in all at once; you must stand and look and witness. There is nothing beautiful about it. It refuses to console. However, in the painting’s abstraction — its matte shades of gray, its distorted figures that stand in for the wounded and the dead — there is a kind of mercy toward its viewers and these victims.

If there is any mercy of abstraction in Kelly’s photograph, it is that of time. The image captures the moment in medias res — when the bodies of the men near its center still evoke the beauty of the human form in its wholeness.

Yet we know the victims are not whole; that is why it hurts to look. The contorted positions of the man in red and white sneakers and the man somersaulting above him make sense only in the realm of sports photography. But this is not a game.

Elsewhere the photograph captures only fragments: arms and hands, legs and feet, heads and faces. Empty shoes on the ground. Sunglasses. A cellphone in midair.

You will never make sense of this image because it makes no sense. (Or, rather, it makes as much sense as racism itself.) Yet to look away risks turning away from the truths it tells. A heavy aspect of our national tragedy is that we seem to lack a president — such as Abraham Lincoln — whose heart might break to see such carnage.

As he kept reworking “Guernica,” Picasso painted over a raised fist he had initially drawn near the center of the canvas. Then — as now — the raised fist is a symbol of solidarity against fascism. It makes an eerie reappearance on two posters in the top third of Kelly’s photograph.

“Guernica” includes small lines resembling newsprint. The Charlottesville photojournalist’s image is also crowded with text; some of it implicates the driver, while other words are a call to action.

Clear as day, there’s the incriminating license plate. No one can deny that this car drove into this crowd, as the colluding European fascists did when they claimed that Guernica had been bombed by Spanish Republican forces.

Then there’s the collage of protest signs and street signs that the neo-Nazi at the wheel didn’t heed: Peace/Black Lives Matter. Solidarity. STOP. LOVE. BLACK LIVES. STOP.

Kelly’s photograph redirects these injunctions to the viewer, who’s left to wonder whether this is what our democracy — or the state of our union — looks like.

 

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Editorials: Volatile Panama; and Trump’s base

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The Odebrecht scandal has taken two serious new turns with the detention under house arrest of Amado Barahona. He was the supposed leader of the fight against money laundering and his case represents the first major implication of the 2004-2009 Martín Torrijos administration and of the Financial Analysis Unit.

Volatile Panama

Now we have had the first major Odebrecht-related arrest related to the last PRD administration, a money laundering case against Martín Torrijos’s main man in charge of fighting money laundering. We can expect all sorts of foot dragging and obstructions to continue through the upcoming election cycle.

Unresolved questions would likely hound Panama’s largest political party, notwithstanding all denials. The overarching national scandal is likely to affect the chances of not only that party but also of the independents who served in that administration or who were appointees of that administration. The two leading names put forward as possible PRD presidential nominees will be touched, perhaps only obliquely. People will want to know more about Zulay Rodríguez’s role in the courts during legendarily thuggish days. People will want to know what Nito Cortizo knew when he was Torrijos’s agriculture minister and what he did about it. The same would apply to former tourism minister Rubén Blades if he runs as an independent. Another set of corruption-related questions — what she knew and what she did about not only Odebrecht but also about David Murcia Guzmán’s activities and influence and about the mass poisoning case, to name a few salient matters — ought to haunt the independent candidacy of Ana Matilde Gómez.

Perhaps questions will be answered to the voters’ satisfaction. Perhaps all political factions in all branches of government, plus all of the rival rabiblanco media, will come to an agreement to suppress any and all such questions. But in these days of social media and the emergence of many small media from the rubble of the broken old advertising-supported news business paradigm, the fax and bochinche networks of late Noriega times that were the backbone of the 1989 Endara landslide will seem crude and ineffective indeed. A tacit agreement to squelch the uncomfortable questions is more likely to damage already malfunctioning institutions than to preserve them.

All of which leaves Panama without any obvious easy answers. Can a poorly educated nation do its homework and solve a problem? If not we will be falling into a dangerous place.

 

Trump and his bedrock base

He got 46.1 percent of the vote, and a poll in the wake of the neofascist disturbances in Virginia say that 64 percent of those who voted for Trump are standing by him. That’s less than 30 percent of the electorate, but other polls give Trump an approval rating that’s a few points higher. Such Republican leaders as both former presidents Bush and the leaders of both houses of Congress are distancing themselves from the president. His presidency may or may not survive and the nation and world have good reason to fear that he might start a war to distract attention and rally more support.

The core of Trump’s supporters, however, would likely follow him through all that. About one in seven American voters believes in “end times religion,” that the apocalypse draws nigh. These people tend to be hard right voters. Catastrophic war, environmental destruction, social breakdown, schools that don’t teach, crumbling infrastructures, malfunctioning institutions — none of these things faze them because they think it’s all going to end anyway. And they are something like about one-third to one-half of Trump’s diehard base.

Are these religious fanatics outnumbered in the ranks of core Trump supporters by racial fanatics? Trump comes from a white racist family and got to the presidency by waging a years-long racist campaign, including his championing of the Birther hoax and a call to execute black and Hispanic youths who were wrongly accused of an infamous crime in New York City’s Central Park. For Trump to abandon and condemn Ku Klux Klan politics would be for him to turn his back on the faith in which he was raised.

Subsets of the racial and religious fanatics in the Trump base, but also including a few folks who are neither racists nor bigots, are people who are very concerned about immigration. In this field Trump has accomplished more than in any other. However, the negative effects are beginning to be felt, the old well paid industrial jobs that left the Rust Belt have not come back and likely won’t and America’s isolation in the world is just beginning to unfold. Perhaps some spectacular crime by an immigrant will energize or dissipate this part of the Trump base.

Because most of Trump’s hardcore base lives in alternative social and media universes of their own, whatever setbacks come their way those scenes will be with us for years to come. But they will only be able to maintain political power by the cancellation or rigging of democracy, or by alliances with those whom they presently insult. The gerrymandering is already with us and the battle over vote suppression is already joined and will become far more intense.

Trump the man is going to fall, and his core political base is headed toward marginalization and widespread ridicule. But what comes next for Americans depends on who can inspire enough of a fragmented society by which positive message. That’s the big question mark of our times.

 

Bear in mind…
 

Neither millions nor alms — we want justice.
José A. Remón Cantera

 

I was born a Greek and I will die a Greek. Mr. Pattakos was born a fascist and he will die a fascist.
Melina Mercouri
of the man who voided her citizenship

 

The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.
Martina Navratilova

 

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¿Wappin? Stuff Danilo and Patricia are about to lay on us

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Danilo Pérez Jr., teacher. Photo by Eric Jackson

Some acts that Danilo and Patricia will bring to Panama
Algunos actos que Danilo y Patricia traerán a Panamá

On Thursday morning, while US Vice President Mike Pence was elsewhere in town getting the dog and pony show, the real news was happening at the Danilo Pérez Foundation. There we heard details of two, or arguably three, events to come. First in time will be the Central American Percussion Festival on Saturday, August 26 in the Casco Viejo, with workshops all day and a concert at night, which ten bucks gets you admitted to all. Then, come next January 15 to 18, there will be the 15th Panama Jazz Festival, to be sure a bunch of concerts but more importantly a high level educational event at which some will be getting university credits, some will be auditioning to get into elite music education programs and a lot of youngsters will be getting insight and inspiration that will inform them wherever they go in life. Alongside the jazz festival is another educational event, the now annual Latin American gathering of music therapists. Actually, it’s expanding this time into dance and other arts and being dubbed a “performance therapy” event. Patricia Zarate Pérez is the director of the whole show and we may not get to hear her play the saxophone in January. After the press conference, however, she was happy to report progress on the Latin American front, with music therapy education now happening in Panama and a relationship with the Hospital del Niño as a part of it. There is a long way to go, but it represents a region becoming self-reliant about saving its own people, rather than importing all of its expertise in the field from other latitudes.

Joaquín Chávez & Jimmy Bad Boy – Si Pudiera Estar con Ella
https://youtu.be/qloorapu7No

The Diggers Descendants Calypso Band – Get Ready
https://youtu.be/rwSHpRVX8MI

Ran Blake – Jim Crow
https://youtu.be/WiwEtnjRgyA

The Shuffle Demons – Cheese on Bread
https://youtu.be/Ez0AI_4LMXw

Patricia Zarate – La Cuequita
https://youtu.be/0b-L_QlYDA0

Josean Jacobo & Tumbao – Navegando con el Viento
https://youtu.be/9GpjTMj24iw

Luciana Souza – Muita Bobeira
https://youtu.be/9HoMRmo-mJ8

Black Tea Project – Costa Esmeralda
https://youtu.be/zwOEMW0lDi0

Wayne Shorter Quartet – S.S. Golden Mean
https://youtu.be/VsX8kMD5V3A

Bill Dobbins Quintet – Spain
https://youtu.be/PetOuEGYPYg

Marco Pignataro – Arianna
https://youtu.be/wzcpM-OqTqE

Miguel Bosé – Amiga
https://youtu.be/gXJat06ODLw

Chucho Valdes @ Jazz In Marciac
https://youtu.be/kcwbmbZGKQc

 

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Discurso de Presidente Varela durante la visita de Vicepresidente Pence

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ellos
Foto por la Presidencia.

Discurso de Juan Carlos Varela durante visita de Michael Pence

Condolencias

Quiero empezar mis palabras condenando enérgicamente el atentado terrorista ocurrido el día de hoy en Barcelona, compartimos el dolor del pueblo y el gobierno español y elevamos nuestras oraciones por las víctimas y sus familiares.

Bienvenida

En nombre del pueblo y del gobierno de la República de Panamá, quiero darle la más cordial bienvenida a nuestro país al Vicepresidente de los Estados Unidos de América Michael Pence y a su esposa Karen.

Estamos contentos de que hayan visitado nuestro Canal, una obra que es el reflejo de más 100 años de amistad y cooperación entre Panamá y Estados Unidos y que contribuye al fortalecimiento del comercio internacional.

Este encuentro nos ha permitido compartir nuestra visión sobre las oportunidades y desafíos que podemos aprovechar y enfrentar juntos sobre la base de nuestras excelentes relaciones diplomáticas, que hoy se consolidan.

Usted es un hombre de Fe y los hombres de Fe en vida pública siempre luchan por el bien común, por eso estoy seguro que este intercambio que hemos realizado impactará la calidad de vida de muchos seres humanos en la Región.

Aprovecho la oportunidad para agradecer al Vicepresidente Pence las atenciones que tuvo el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos con mi esposa y conmigo durante la visita que realizamos al Presidente Donald Trump en junio de este año.

Oportunidades

Durante nuestras conversaciones dejamos claro que Panamá es un aliado y socio estratégico de Estados Unidos, tenemos una democracia estable, con fuertes indicadores de crecimiento y estabilidad económica, un país que avanza en la rendición de cuentas y la transparencia, tanto en la administración del Estado como en su sistema financiero.

Le he manifestado al Vicepresidente Pence que tenemos un enorme interés de que más empresas norteamericanas inviertan en nuestro país y participen de los proyectos de infraestructura que estamos desarrollando.

Panamá se ha convertido en la Gran Conexión para el comercio, con nuestro sistema logístico, el Canal de Panamá ampliado, el desarrollo de puertos, la ampliación del Aeropuerto de Tocumen, la puesta en marcha del Plan Maestro de la Zona Interoceánica, que convertirá nuestro Hub Logístico en uno de clase mundial.

La participación de los Estados Unidos en el desarrollo del sector logístico y marítimo, sería de beneficio mutuo, puesto que, además de agregar valor a la ruta interoceánica, permitirá que las empresas norteamericanas que utilizan el Canal de Panamá obtengan un mejor rendimiento a esta ruta.

Agradecemos a los Estados Unidos por la cooperación en el intercambio de información y mejores prácticas que nos permite proteger el sistema financiero y logístico de nuestro país.

Es nuestro deber proteger el centro financiero y la plataforma logística de panameña para que no sea utilizada en actividades ilegales o fines que no representan el bien común. Esta ha sido una prioridad para mí desde que entré a la vida pública.

El compromiso de nuestro país con la transparencia financiera y la seguridad de la plataforma logística y de servicio de Panamá se hace más fuerte cada día. El camino que hemos elegido no será revertido.

Desafío

La seguridad es uno de los temas fundamentales que afecta a nuestra Región, hemos identificado los desafíos que enfrentamos como el aumento de la producción y tráfico de drogas, la migración irregular, la situación del triángulo norte y Venezuela.

Estuvimos de acuerdo sobre el riesgo que representa para la Región el aumento de la producción de drogas en los países vecinos, que estamos determinados a derrotarlos con el apoyo de aliados como los Estados Unidos.

Agradecemos al Gobierno de los Estados Unidos de América, por la cooperación para mejorar las capacidades instaladas de nuestros estamentos de seguridad. Panamá está entre los países de la Región que mayor cantidad de droga incauta anualmente.

Estamos realizando un gran esfuerzo para garantizar la seguridad en la frontera con Colombia, aumentando la presencia del gobierno en la provincia de Darién; pero es necesario fortalecer la coordinación de inteligencia y compartir las bases de datos de personas que representan una amenaza.

Es alarmante como el crimen organizado, vinculado al tráfico de drogas agrava la situación de inseguridad en la Región, causando muertes y generando mayor pobreza.

En mi reunión con Presidente Donald Trump a mediados de junio de este año, destaqué mi preocupación por el incremento de la producción de drogas, tema que usted también ha abordado ampliamente en esta visita a la región.

Nuestro país está jugando un papel importante en el control de los flujos migratorios irregulares, por lo que estamos protegiendo nuestras fronteras para mantenerlas seguras, detectando migrantes irregulares que representan un peligro para EEUU, América y Panamá.

Es importante mantener la colaboración entre los gobiernos, tal como lo hicimos para enfrentar la crisis migratoria de haitianos y cubanos el año pasado, a raíz del cual creamos un modelo de Sistema Integrado de Seguridad fronteriza.

Analizamos de manera muy puntual el conflicto político en Venezuela, estamos preocupados por la inestabilidad en ese país y la ruptura del orden democrático y las consecuencias que provoca.

En los próximos días Panamá tomará medidas que respaldan el retorno al orden democrático a Venezuela y fortalecen nuestra seguridad interna, acompañado de medidas migratorias; siempre en el marco del respeto a los derechos humanos de los migrantes.

El Gobierno panameño reitera su posición de que el Gobierno del Presidente Nicolás Maduro, debe respetar la separación de poderes, los derechos humanos, las libertades y la urgencia de negociar una salida política en el marco de la constitución vigente en Venezuela, para el bienestar de su población.

Compartimos la preocupación por la disrupción del orden democrático, y la violencia que se ha suscitado hacia la población y las autoridades en Venezuela.

Panamá es un país que tiende puentes, por tanto, mantenemos nuestra posición de impulsar una solución pacífica, derivada de un esfuerzo mancomunado del hemisferio, que contribuya a una solución a la crisis política y humanitaria que vive ese hermano país.

Por ello nos hemos sumado al Consenso de Lima que mantiene como prioridad la defensa de la democracia en el continente americano. Intentando el retorno al orden democrático y disminuir la violencia en el pueblo venezolano.

Debemos fortalecer el diálogo político entre las naciones para mantener nuestro continente en paz, ante los desafíos que se presentan en el mundo y situaciones como las que se dan con Corea del Norte, en países como Afganistán, Irak, entre otros.

Ante la situación que se presenta en los países del Triángulo Norte, estamos de acuerdo en que el fortalecimiento de la institucionalidad, la democracia y la honestidad de los hombres en la vida pública está la paz social.

Panamá es un aliado regional dispuesto a unir capacidades para contribuir a la paz y a la prosperidad de la Región, en base a los valores democráticos y transparencia que compartimos.

Le deseo al vicepresidente Pence un buen viaje de retorno a los Estados Unidos, y le pido transmitir al Presidente Trump y todo el pueblo estadounidense que Panamá valora de forma especial los lazos con los Estados Unidos, que por nuestra larga historia esta relación está basada en la confianza, el mutuo respecto, y guiada por el principal interés de generar bienestar para nuestros pueblos.

Como lo pone nuestro escudo, Pro Mundi Beneficio es nuestro lema y lo que guía nuestra política exterior y nuestra relación con todos los pueblos del mundo. Panamá es un país al servicio del mundo.

 

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The Panama News blog links, August 16, 2017

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The Panama News blog links

a Panama-centric selection of other people’s work
una selección Panamá-céntrica de las obras de otras personas

Canal, Maritime & Transportation / Canal, Marítima & Transporte

JOC, ACP aims new tolls at bigger ships

Bunkerist, LNG reservations becoming difficult for Panama Canal

La Estrella, ACP presupuesta $40 millones para reemplazar a la grúa Titan

Maritime Executive, AMP signs for new cruise terminal

AFP, Bianca Jagger leads protest against Nicaragua Canal

Nikkei Asian Review, Influential Thais in push for Kra Canal project

Sports / Deportes

TVN, Panamá le da la corona mundial del béisbol intermedio a Latinoamérica

La Estrella, Carstens gana bronce contra rankeados mundiales en Moscú

The Guardian, NFL Hall of Fame inductees denounce racism

Economy / Economía

Fitch Ratings, Panama Metro Line senior secured notes

Chiriquí Natural, Los bancos finalmente llegan a Kiad

La Estrella, Aumento de multa a empleadores de inmigrantes ilegales

White Collar Post, Panama Papers: Canada gets tougher on tax evasion

ANP, Panamá concentró el 44% de la inversión extranjera de CA en 2016

La Prensa, Revoca permiso para tres torres en construccón en Paitilla

PR, Generali sells Panama insurance business to ASSA

La Estrella, Los permisos de construcción aumentan 21%

AFP, ¿Venezuela está al borde de un default?

Velasco, The Sandinista shell game

Amico, A regulatory race to the bottom?

Taibbi, Is the LIBOR financial benchmark a lie?

Capital.com, IMF warns of Chinese credit’s “dangerous trajectory”

Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología

Smithsonian, How fly guts are helping researchers catalog the rainforest

Triple Crisis, Early death in Russia

The Wire, The many unique features of the yellow seasnake

Yale Climate Connections, Planners turn rising seas into game

Santos & Beckinsale, Scientists are creating an atomic ‘Lego set’ of 2D materials

News / Noticias

Newsroom Panama, Panama moves to ban plastic shopping bags

Intercontinental Cry, Panama trial of three Ngäbe leaders

Telemetro, Denuncia abuso tras defender zonificación residencial en Albrook

USA Today, Wild Bill and partner sentenced for Bocas murders

Texas Public Radio, Panamax maneuvers focus on canal defense

Colombia Reports, Did Pence just get the cold shoulder in Colombia?

BBC, Brazil’s President Temer survives corruption vote

The Guardian, Bolivia approves highway through Amazon biodiversity hotspot

El País, Congreso chileno despenaliza aborto en tres casos

Newsweek, Lawsuit claims White House colluded with Fox on DNC staffer hoax

The Guardian, CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ psychologists to face trial

Opinion / Opiniones

Michael, The seeds of the alt-right

Sutton, Daniels & Maclean, Trump’s ‘global gag’ will hit women traumatized by war

Cole, Top six falsehoods embraced by John Kelly

Gore, Fixing democracy to combat climate change

Thornton, An empire upside down

Baker, Ten years later elites have learned nothing

Diaz, Vatican’s ‘ecumenism of hate’ essay is onto something

Santos, We weep for you Venezuela

WOLA, Coca and the Colombian peace accords

Polo Ciudadano, Repudiamos las amenazas contra Venezuela y la visita de Pence

Rodríguez Reyes, Clase política desprestigiada

Blades, Trump y sus amenazas, etc.

Bernal: Panameño, reclama lo tuyo

Culture / Cultura

The Guardian, Spain honors Ladino language of Jewish exiles

Sagel, La ciudad de los libros

Mongabay, Colombian shamans seek to restore traditional power

DW, German courts take on the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Galindo, Remembering Rius

La Estrella, Museo de la Plaza Mayor de Panamá Viejo abre sus puertas

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Jackson, Edmonston & Bonilla, Pence’s visit here

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Pence

Pence’s visit to Panama in the eyes of local Democrats

by Eric Jackson, Phil Edmonston and José Bonilla

It is reported that US Vice President Mike Pence will be in Panama on August 17, and that the subject matter of his talks with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela will be “security.” As Democrats, speaking for ourselves and not necessarily for our party at any level, we would like to say these things about the subject:

1. The United States and Panama have a canal security relationship embedded in the 1977 Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal. This treaty was signed by a Democratic president, but on the US side it was the product of bipartisan efforts stretching back many years, arguably to the Eisenhower administration. At this point there seems to be no enemy on the horizon making existential threats against Panama or the Panama Canal. Vigilance and preparedness are and have been constant and we expect that they will continue, even if we do not read about it in the newspapers.

2. US governments have sometimes used the word “security” as a cover for military adventures in Latin America. Donald Trump, in political trouble after revelations about the disloyal conduct of himself, his campaign staff and members of his family, who at the very least solicited and heard proposals of foreign assistance for his presidential campaign, is now engaged in belligerent talk of US military intervention against Venezuela. Such a “regime change” war would promote the security of neither the United States nor Panama.

3. Venezuela has in the past few years seen a profound economic collapse, due its total dependence on oil revenues and the sharp drop in oil prices. The average Venezuelan has seen his or her personal real income drop by more than half. Many Venezuelans are desperately seeking to leave their country however they can. The countries of the Americas should lend a helping hand to the Venezuelans, but other countries can’t solve Venezuela’s problem. In the long term, the end of the fossil fuel age and the decline of oil economies are processes that the United States should not try to reverse. Donald Trump’s attempt to do this by abandoning international efforts to slow and reverse climate change is foolhardy. The “solution” that Mr. Trump would offer Venezuela is neither environmentally nor fiscally viable.

4. Venezuela has an unpopular and clumsy president. Sufficient valid signatures for a recall election were submitted last year but instead of giving Venezuelans the election that they are owed Nicolás Maduro has embarked on a process of replacing the constitution that the voters of his country adopted. In an already violent society, and in an already politically polarized country, this has inflamed deadly passions. Does he confuse his personal political career with the fate of his nation’s people? That’s a common enough delusion in all sorts of politics everywhere, but in today’s Venezuela it’s especially tragic.

5. As Donald Trump asked for Russian assistance on the 2016 campaign trail, so the Venezuelan opposition has sought US and other foreign assistance for years. The sort of disloyalty that Americans rightfully find sleazy in our own politics is also unbecoming in other countries. While collective international efforts to calm Venezuela, feed Venezuelans and help that country back onto a democratic path would be a good idea, US-led military intervention is a very bad idea. One reason why it’s a bad idea is that there are no obvious “good guys” in Venezuela. Foreign military intervention there would likely lead to years of more chaos and violence that might not be directly felt in the United States but would be destabilizing in our region of the world.

 

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