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American Embassy citizen outreach events in Bocas del Toro and Panama City

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Seal with white backgroundU.S. Embassy Panama

American Citizen Services Unit and Regional Federal Benefits Unit

Outreach in Bocas de Toro

U.S. Embassy Panama’s American Citizens Services (ACS) staff will visit Isla Colón, Bocas Del Toro on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018.  American Citizens Services Chief Stephanie Espinal will host a brief Town Hall to introduce herself, answer questions, and to hear about your experiences as U.S. citizens living in Bocas Del Toro.

Following the Town Hall, ACS will provide notary services and passport renewals for adults and minors by appointment.

Additionally, representatives from the U.S. Social Security Administration will be available to offer services to beneficiaries or individuals with questions about Social Security.  They will also receive Foreign Enforcement Questionnaires (FEQ) and International Direct Deposit enrollment forms.

WHERE,WHEN, AND HOW:

Where: Autoridad de Turismo, Isla Colón, 1st Street next to the Police Station, Bocas del Toro, Panama

When: Tuesday, December 4. Town Hall 9:00-9:30am; Notarial services 9:30am-12pm; Passport renewal services 1-4pm. Social Security Services 9:30am-12pm and 1-4pm.

How: Please register below according to the service that you require:

·         For the Town Hall, register here

·         For Notarial Services, register here

·         For Minor & Adult Passport Renewal or Lost and Stolen Passport Services, register here

·         For Social Security Services/Information, register here

HOW TO PAY FOR PASSPORT AND NOTARIAL SERVICES (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY):

The Embassy can only accept payment by local banker’s cashier check (known in Spanish as “Cheque Certificado”) made payable to “U.S. Embassy Panama,” issued within the past five months.  Our office has confirmed with the State Department that, unfortunately, we cannot accept cash or credit card payments.  The notarial fee is $50 per each signature of the Consular Officer.  A list of passport fees can be found here. Other than passport and notarial services, all other services are no-fee.

WHAT TO BRING FOR PASSPORT AND NOTARIAL SERVICES:

Passports:

For passport renewals for minors, in addition to the completed DS-11 application, bring a copy of the photo page of the minor’s passport, a copy of both parents’ passports /cedulas, one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches) and a copy of the minor’s birth certificate, in addition to the original birth certificate and passport/ cedulas.  The fee for passport renewal is currently $115.00 for a minor (under 16) and $145.00 (for a minor 16 years of age and older).  The minor (under 16) and both parents or guardians must appear in person.  If only one parent is present in Panama, the “Statement of Consent from Absent Parent” Form DS-3053, notarized in the United States, is required.  Please note that theDS-3053 will not be accepted if notarized in Panama.

Forpassport renewals for adults, in addition to the completed DS-82 application, bring a copy of the photo page of the adult’s passport, one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches). The fee for passport renewal is currently $110.00. If your passport wasn’t issued within the past 15 years, a DS-11 must be completed instead of a DS-82 and the price will increase to $145.00.

Forlost/stolen passports, in addition to the completed DS-11 application and the DS-64 statement regarding a lost or stolen passport, one recent color photo with a white background that measures 5×5 cm (2X2 inches), a Panamanian police report documenting the lost/stolen passport, and documentation of your identity (government-issued identification cards and/or proof of U.S. citizenship).  The fee is currently $145 for an adult (over the age of 16) replacement of a lost or stolen passport.

Notarizations: https://pa.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/notaries-public/  is the link with details. If you are requesting the notarization of your driver’s license, bring a photocopy of the front and back page of your license, as well as your license.  If you are requesting notarization of benefits documents, bring the original and a copy of the document(s) showing the amount of benefits you receive monthly or annually.  The notarial fee is $50.00 for each signature of the Consular Officer.

WHAT TO BRING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY SERVICES (please bring the original and legible copies of all documents to be submitted)

SSA Proof of Life: In June 2018, SSA mailed the questionnaire to beneficiaries receiving their own benefits whose social security number ended in 00 – 49.   Please bring the completed form SSA-7162 and your current passport or cedula.

Social Security Benefits: Social Security number of the wage earner and for the applicant, if applicable, birth certificate (copia integra if the applicant was born in Panama) and current passport.  Additionally, bring marriage and/or death certificates if applying for auxiliary benefits or survivor’s benefits.

Medicare Enrollment/Cancellation: To enroll in Medicare, you should complete and sign form CMS-40B and to cancel your enrollment please complete and sign form CMS-2690.  You should have your Social Security number and your current Passport.

Social Security Replacement Card: Bring your current U.S. passport and completed form SS-5FS.

Social Security Card for a child under age 12: Bring your current U.S. passport for one of the parents and for the child; the child’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad or original birth certificate (copia integra if the child was born in Panama) and completed form SS-5FS.

Change of Address for Social Security: Bring your social security number and current passport or cedula.

International Direct Deposit Enrollment:  If you wish to enroll or change from bank, please send an e-mail toFBU.CostaRica@SSA.Gov to request the form that you will need to take to the bank of your choice.

General inquiries: Please bring your social security number and your current U.S. passport or cedula.  The best way to contact the Regional Social Security Office is by using their online form: http://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/fbu-inquiry-form/ or by sending an e-mail to:  FBU.CostaRica@SSA.Gov.  Please include in your e-mail your complete name, social security number, and a telephone number where you can be reached.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

American Citizen Services Unit

U.S. Embassy in Panama

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama

507-317-5000

Panama-ACS@state.gov

https://pa.usembassy.gov/

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Seal with white backgroundU.S. Embassy Panama

Regional Federal Benefits Unit

Outreach in Panama City

Representatives from the U.S. Social Security Regional Office, located in San Jose, Costa Rica, will visit Panama City to offer services and receive Foreign Enforcement Questionnaires (FEQ) on December 5 and 6.

WHERE,WHEN, AND HOW:

Where: CELI (Center of English Language Immersion, located in Via España, Edificio

Cromos, first floor, in front of Galerías Obarrio (next to Caja de Ahorros, Casa

Matriz). One block from the Via Argentina Metro Station

When: Wednesday, December 5 and Thursday, December 6, 2018

Time:  9:00 am – 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

How: Please register here

Parking Information:  Please note there is limited parking available, but the Via Argentina Metro Station is nearby.

WHAT TO BRING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY SERVICES (please bring the original and legible copies of all documents to be submitted):

SSA Proof of Life: In June 2018, SSA mailed the questionnaire to beneficiaries receiving their own benefits whose social security number ended in 00 – 49.   Please bring the completed form SSA-7162 and your current passport or cedula.

Social Security Benefits: Social Security number of the wage earner and for the applicant, if applicable, birth certificate (copia integra if the applicant was born in Panama) and current passport.  Additionally, bring marriage and/or death certificates if applying for auxiliary benefits or survivor’s benefits.

Medicare Enrollment/Cancellation: To enroll in Medicare, you should complete and sign form CMS-40B and to cancel your enrollment please complete and sign form CMS-2690.  You should have your Social Security number and your current Passport.

Social Security Replacement Card: Bring your current U.S. passport and completed form SS-5FS.

Social Security Card for a child under age 12: Bring your current U.S. passport for one of the parents and for the child; the child’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad or original birth certificate (copia integra if the child was born in Panama) and completed form SS-5FS.

Change of Address for Social Security: Bring your social security number and current passport or cedula.

International Direct Deposit Enrollment:  If you wish to enroll or change from bank, please send an e-mail to FBU.CostaRica@SSA.Gov to request the form that you will need to take to the bank of your choice.

General inquiries: Please bring your social security number and your current U.S. passport or cedula.  The best way to contact the Regional Social Security Office is by using their online form: http://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/fbu-inquiry-form/ or by sending an e-mail to:  FBU.CostaRica@SSA.Gov.  Please include in your e-mail your complete name, social security number, and a telephone number where you can be reached.

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama

507-317-5000

Panama-FBU@state.gov

https://pa.usembassy.gov/

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 TRADUCCIÓN

La Unidad de Beneficios Federales (FBU) de la Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Panamá desea informar que los representantes de la Oficina Regional del Seguro Social de los Estados Unidos, ubicada en San José-Costa Rica estarán en la Ciudad de Panamá para ofrecer servicios y también recibirán los formularios de fe de vida.  

 DÓNDE, CUANDO Y CÓMO:

Dónde: CELI (Centro de Inmersión del Idioma Inglés), ubicado en Vía España, Edificio Cromos,               

   primer piso, frente a Galerías Obarrio (al lado de Caja de Ahorros, Casa Matriz), a una

   cuadra de la estación del metro en Vía Argentina

Cuándo: Miércoles, 5 y Jueves 6 de diciembre 2018

Hora: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. y 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Cómo: Por favor regístrese aquí.

 Información sobre estacionamientos: Hay estacionamientos limitados disponibles, por lo que puede considerar utilizar el Metro.

Por favor traiga los copias originales y copias legibles de todos los documentos que se presentarán

Fe de Vida: En junio de 2018, el Seguro Social envió por correo el cuestionario a los beneficiarios que reciben  beneficios propios, cuyo número de seguro social terminan en 00 – 49.  Por favor, traiga el formulario completado SSA-7162y su pasaporte o cédula vigente.

Beneficios del Seguro Social: Número de Seguro Social del trabajador y del solicitante (si aplica), certificado de nacimiento (copia íntegra si el solicitante nació en Panamá) y pasaporte vigente.   Además, traiga certificados de matrimonio y /o defunción si solicita beneficios auxiliares o beneficios de sobreviviente

Inscripción /Cancelación de Medicare: Para inscribirse en Medicare, debe completar y firmar el formulario CMS-40B  y para cancelar su inscripción, complete y firme el formulario CMS-2690.  Debe tener su número de seguro social y su pasaporte vigente.

Tarjeta de reemplazo del seguro social: Pasaporte Americano vigente y el formulario completo  SS-5FS.

Tarjeta de Seguro Social para un niño menor de 12 años: Pasaporte Estadounidense vigente para uno de los padres y para el niño, el Reporte Consular de Nacimiento en el extranjero o el certificado de nacimiento original (copia íntegra si el niño nació en Panamá) y formulario completo SS-5FS.

Cambio de dirección postal: Traiga su número de seguro social y pasaporte o cédula vigente.

Inscripción al Depósito Directo Internacional: Si desea inscribirse o cambiar de banco, envíe un correo electrónico a FBU.CostaRica@SSA.Govpara solicitar el formulario que deberá llevar al banco de su elección.

Consultas en general: Número de seguro social y su pasaporte o cédula vigente.

La mejor forma de ponerse en contacto con la Oficina Regional del Seguro Social es mediante el uso de su formulario en línea: http://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/fbu-inquiry-form/o enviando un correo electrónico a: FBU.CostaRica@SSA.Gov.    Por favor incluya en su correo electrónico su nombre completo, número de seguro social y un número de teléfono donde lo puedan contactar.

Información sobre estacionamiento: Hay disponibilidad limitada de estacionamientos, por lo que puede considerar tomar el Metro.

Asistencia:

Embajada de los Estados Unidos

507-317-5000

Panama-FBU@state.gov

https://pa.usembassy.gov/

 

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Editorials: Probable gridlock; and A Green New Deal

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FW
National Assembly secretary general Franz Wever, a disgraced and ousted PRD legislator, has been caught in the same old racket of siphoning off sports budgets that he has been playing for years. So he sat down for an interview with La Prensa’s Flor Mizrachi and proceeded to claim that if it were not for him and his gang running sports it would be worse because Jews would run it. In any other country he would be out of all government and sports jobs in an instant for that, but such are the Panamanian political caste’s non-aggression pacts that he still has jobs. Asamblea Nacional photo.

The end of non-aggression?

The post-invasion deal was a rotation of parties in the presidency and one chief executive would not investigate the corruption of the previous one. Along with that was a tacit agreement that the Supreme Court would lay off of legislators and the National Assembly would lay off of magistrates.

It broke down when Ricardo Martinelli went after Martín Torrijos and his entourage. Then in the Varela administration the legislature forced the departure of two high court magistrates. However, between the Panameñistas and the PRD there was a “governability pact” to restrain deals with Ricardo Martinelli’s crowd. The pact survived its formal demise by bringing in Martinelistas. But now we are in a run-up to an election and systemic corruption has come front and center.

It’s nothing new. Land grabs. Relatives, no-shows and fictitious persons on legislative payrolls. Theft from sports federations and charitable organizations.

Is Ricardo Martinelli going to buy himself absolution? But previous such sales to lesser figures are now central to press coverage and national discourse. With a laugh and a sneer, is “it has always been done like this” going to wash this time — again?

President Varela used his partial veto to reject that legislature’s budget for itself and the sports federations that its members and secretary general control. It was the right thing, but will there be the votes to override those vetos? There are vacancies to fill on the Supreme Court — will Varela be able to fill them with people loyal to himself, or to the old non-aggression pacts?

It’s hard to say what will happen, except that there will be political gridlock until the elections and the Electoral Tribunal will get increasingly more strident in its bids to exclude any outside competition and to criminalize the #NoALaReelección movement that has sprung up from among a weary public. Perhaps it won’t be “game over,” except for THEM.

 

aoc
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortéz, who ran for Congress with a Green New Deal as part of her platform. All sorts of sinister motives may be attributed to her, but consider that she represents a district in one of the world’s great port cities and is thinking about good jobs for her constituents. Wikimedia photo by Corey Torpie.

The #GreenNewDeal and the original one

So we have environmentalists, embraced by energetic newcomers to the Democratic Caucus in the US House of Representatives, promoting a Green New Deal and proposing a new subcommittee to promote that. It’s meeting some resistance, part of it from an old guard defending the prerogatives of the committees they will soon head or long established congressional pecking orders, some of it from people with less excusable motives than that.

Think about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s original New Deal. For the most part it didn’t come from those Democrats who had survived the Republican hegemony of the 1920s. A lot of it, in fact, was cribbed from the program of the Socialist Party that was led by Norman Thomas at the time. Then you had the first woman ever to serve in a cabinet post, Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, who came into that post only after the president made certain policy commitments to her. Back then the South was Democratic and mostly white supremacist, but they, too, embraced the New Deal and added to it programs like rural electrification and the Tennessee Valley Authority. New Deal times were also when African-Americans began their historic shift into the Democratic Party, in part because First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt insisted that the New Deal must not be for whites only. Labor gained many rights via the New Deal, mostly not due to the aristocratic president’s largess but because working people organized unions, made demands, got their friends elected to Congress and forced many of the issues. Roosevelt’s arguments with the CIO’s John L. Lewis were legendary, but Lewis did leave his imprint on the New Deal. The historical truth is that Roosevelt’s New Deal was a process, the product of many minds.

Do we have relics of bygone eras making the argument that Democrats can’t embrace a Green New Deal because any association with these younger and more leftist congresswomen will alienate the Republicans and make it impossible to pass compromise legislation? Such folks are out of touch with the realities of our times. Today’s GOP will not compromise on anything other than more money for themselves and their backers. They tend to be driven by primitive hatreds and weird twists of religion. For the next two year Democrats need to work out solutions for America’s predicament with other Democrats, knowing that the Republicans will block these proposals but refining them in any case as a program for the 2020 elections and beyond.

It’s some unknown rookie’s ball? So what? Pick it up and run with it. Add to it. Show your stuff. Serve your constituents.

 

bp

Bear in mind…
 

I don’t like communism because it allocates the wealth by way of ration books.
Omar Torrijos

 

I speak in Spanish and count in balboas.
Arnulfo Arias

 

Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.
Margot Fonteyn

 

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The Panama News blog links, November 19, 2018

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from the dispora…

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

Prensa Latina, Panamá inaugurará primer hub humanitario en las Américas

Seatrade: Tideworks, UMIP, MIT-Panama, CMU maritime education agreement

gCaptain, Trade war finally hits commodity shipping

Seatrade, Seafarer officers wages have stagnated over the last decade

Splash, Ultrabulk tries sail technology

Hellenic Shipping News, On course towards carbon-neutral shipping?

NBC, Rising seas threaten Norfolk Naval Shipyard

La Estrella, Panamá regula pesca y el comercio de medusa

Mongabay, Panama & Namibia plan to put fishing fleet data online

Sports / Deportes

ESPN: Elisa Williams, the boxer who’s also a cop and grandmother

Marlin, Panama Black Marlin fishing action

El Siglo, Panorama turbio en el cuadrilátero

Economy / Economía

TVN, Panamá y China entran a cuarta ronda de negociaciones comerciales

Finance Feeds: Iran, Panama, Russia highest financial crime risks say UK banks

Prensa Latina, Panamanian business concerned about failed state image

E&N, Los empresarios que asesorán a AMLO

Guzman & Stiglitz, Disaster capitalism comes to Puerto Rico

Business Insider, Canada and Mexico trade deal may face problems in Congress

South China Morning Post, The China Hustle

Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología

STRI, Study of humpback whale survivors of killer whale attacks

Secretaria General Iberamericana, Informe sobre cambio climático

CBC, An asteroid impact on Greenland left a massive crater under the ice

La Estrella, Anfibios: la lucha por su sobrevivencia en cautiverio

STRI, Drop your weapons — or body parts

Ecoportal, Arquitectura bioclimática

News / Noticias

Newsroom Panama, Lawmakers charged in bus compensation scam

La Estrella, ‘Incongruente’ informe sobre proyecto de hospital

AFP, Rights group calls for US reparations over 1989 Panama invasion

IHRC, Report on the Salas v United States (1989 invasion) case

AFP, Panama’s prisoners build confession boxes for papal visit

DW, Is Brazil turning into a military state?

AFP, Cuba set to debate constitution legalizing same-sex marriages

Newsweek, NRA tells doctors to “stay in their lane” on gun issues

Univisión, Los médicos se defienden de las burlas de la NRA

Atlantic, How the Democrats won Michigan

Opinion / Opiniones

Toobin, How voting rights fared in the midterms

Blades, El asno en jefe y otras glosas

González Tejeira, La corrupción golpea al deporte

Porras, Experiencias de una candidata independiente

Bernal, 30 mil firmas

Sagel, Entretenimiento político

Culture / Cultura

La Prensa, La mujer en las artes

Los Angeles Times, Panamanian filmmakers in Hollywood and Panama

La Estrella, Renovación del Teatro Variedades

Remezcla, Reflection on the Crown Heights Panamanian community

 

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US Embassy response to IHRC report on the Panama invasion case

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Chorrillo
Part of the devastation of El Chorrillo, where hundreds of people were killed.

American Embassy response to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission

on the Salas et al vs. United States report, about the 1989 US invasion of Panama
translation from the embassy’s Spanish original by Eric Jackson
graphics and captions chosen by the editor of The Panama News, not the embassy

We have seen the decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with regard to the case of Salas vs. United States. We deeply regret the loss of civilian lives during Operation Just Cause. The main legacy of Operation Just Cause is the development of one of the most robust democracies in the hemisphere.

After Operation Just Cause, which overthrew the brutal dictator Manuel Noriega, the government of the United States provided $420 million in economic support funds to help Panama. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) designated those funds for economic recovery, the reactivation of the private sector and the development of projects.

The development of projects included funds to replace housing and subsidies for households in the El Chorrillo district of Panama City and in other areas where the dwellings suffered damage during Operation Just Cause.

This past assistance is part of the broad bilateral alliance between Panama and the United States, aimed at achieving our common objective of a stable, secure, prosperous and democratic Panama.

Panamanians have many reasons to be proud of what they have achieved after living under the brutal dictatorship. It is enough to look at the consolidation of democracy, the free press, the peaceful transfer of power from one government to another, and the flourishing economy to notice the tangible example of Panama’s achievements.

The United States fully supports the Panama December 20 Commission that will investigate the events surrounding the military intervention. Panamanians have the right to know their history, which is why we are working on returning the documents retained during Operation Just Cause.

We are interested in seeing those documents in Panamanian hands because while they remain in the custody of the United States, they feed the myth that we are hiding their contents from public view.

mass grave
One of the mass graves. The best estimates are that just under 700 people, most of them noncombatant civilians, were killed in the 1989 invasion. The George H. W. Bush administration lied about the death toll, telling people in the USA and around the world that fewer than 200 people, most of them combatants, had died. To avoid press coverage of funerals, the Republican administration denied the families of slain Panamanians the right to claim the bodies and hold funerals. But US forces mistakenly buried two Americans with the hundreds of Panamanians and dug up the mass graves looking for these bodies. Bush’s lie gave rise to all manner of speculation and exaggerations, which still circulate to this day.

Tony and George
Tony and George: the military and political career of Manuel Antonio Noriega was, after all, nurtured by the United States. He was even taught how to terrorize people — at the School of the Americas they called it “psychological operations.”

 

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Beluche, ¿Colombia oprimía y explotaba a Panamá?

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VL
Al peso de algunas afirmaciones, el general liberal Victoriano Lorenzo no era un separatista panameño.

¿Colombia oprimía y explotaba a Panamá?

por Olmedo Beluche

Para justificar los vergonzosos acontecimientos del 3 de noviembre de 1903, los defensores de la leyenda dorada y de la versión ecléctica (tan querida de ciertos “izquierdistas” panameños) recurren al argumento de que Colombia oprimía y explotaba a Panamá como lo haría una metrópoli imperial con su colonia. ¿Tiene lógica este argumento? ¿Colombia ha sido en algún momento un país imperialista?

Este argumento no aguanta el mínimo razonamiento objetivo, y solo cabe en la mente deformada de los chauvinistas y xenófobos, quienes han demostrado que su anticolombianismo es directamente proporcional a su proyanquismo. Porque en el fondo el argumento busca alegar que, con su intervención en 1903, Estados Unidos “nos salvó” de un mísero destino junto a Colombia. Es la misma lógica de los que saludan la invasión yanqui de 1989 “porque nos trajo la democracia”.

Lo increíble es que hay gente que se dice (o posa) de izquierdas en Panamá y que busca justificar los acontecimientos de 1903 alegando que Colombia “nos tenía olvidados”, no “construyeron ni un puente” y que solo nos saqueaba económicamente. Argumentos todos que ya están en el Manifiesto de la Independencia y de los “próceres” que trataron de encubrir su entrega de la soberanía al imperialismo norteamericano con las excusas más baladíes.

Por más odiosos, oligárquicos y antidemocráticos que nos parezcan los gobiernos colombianos, desde la fracasada Gran Colombia hasta el presente, es evidente que el estado colombiano nunca ha sido una metrópoli imperial. El imperialismo implica dominio militar y político sobre un territorio extranjero para expoliar sus materias primas, usarlo como mercado cautivo de sus productos o como enclave colonial para dominio geopolítico.

En 1903, para el caso panameño, el único gobierno que reúne las cualidades y actúa como una potencia imperialista es el de Estados Unidos, no el de Colombia. Esa es una verdad tan evidente que es un axioma. Y quienes tratan de virar el argumento atribuyendo a Colombia las cualidades imperiales del gobierno de Teodoro Roosevelt no solo cometen una falacia, sino que cometen la inmoralidad de hacer una falsa acusación para proteger al culpable de la agresión. En términos jurídicos sería cometer un perjurio.

Aún si fuera cierto que los gobiernos colombianos del siglo XIX “nos tenían olvidados a los panameños”, aún si hubiera una disputa política con Bogotá, esa lucha debía haber sido resuelta en una lucha entre colombianos. Nada de eso justificaría avalar y pedir la intervención del imperialismo norteamericano en los asuntos internos de Colombia.

¿No es eso lo que hicieron los partidos de derecha y burgueses panameños en 1989, pedir la intervención militar norteamericana contra el régimen militar de Manuel A. Noriega? La oligarquía panameña y los colonizados mentales avalan las dos intervenciones militares yanquis, la de 1903 y la de 1989, alegando que ambos casos Estados Unidos “nos salvó”.

Lo que no se entiende es como hay supuestos “revolucionarios”, “antiimperialistas”, “izquierdistas” y “progres” panameños que condenan la invasión del 20 de diciembre del 89, pero aplauden la del 3 de noviembre de 1903. Desde la óptica geopolítica imperial, ambos hechos responden a la misma lógica: el control del Istmo de Panamá en función de los intereses imperiales yanquis.

Colombia nunca ha sido una metrópoli imperial, Colombia ha sido un país dependiente, con una oligarquía avara con su pueblo, antidemocrática y con fuertes dificultades para su integración como estado nacional centralizado, dada su geografía y los intereses económicos y políticos de sus burguesías regionales. Las múltiples guerras civiles que la han afectado desde la independencia hasta el siglo XXI son un síntoma de ese problema.

Así que el pueblo de Panamá vivía las mismas injusticias sociales que padecían todos los otros pueblos colombianos habitantes del resto de los departamentos. Argumentar que el gobierno de Bogotá se ensañaba contra el pueblo de Panamá de manera particular implica una falacia en tres sentidos.

Primero. Exonera a la burguesía comercial y terrateniente panameña de la responsabilidad que le cabe en los abusos de los gobiernos colombianos del siglo XIX. La leyenda dorada y a versión ecléctica omiten que los burgueses panameños estaban bien integrados al gobierno de Colombia y eran corresponsables de lo que pasaba. Mienten por omisión al no decir que la familia Arosemena participó en altos cargos, que don Justo fue senador, constitucionalista y diplomático, que Tomás Herrera fue presidente de Colombia al igual que José D. Obaldía, etc. No es de extrañar esta actitud, pues la “izquierda” que practica la colaboración de clases siempre idealiza a su “burguesía nacional”.

Segundo. No es cierto que Panamá estuviera especialmente “olvidado”. Por el contrario, desde la década de 1830 se emitieron leyes especiales sobre el comercio en el Istmo; se aprobaron diversos estudios sobre el canal; se promovió la construcción del ferrocarril transístmico; se aprobó el Tratado Mallarino-Bidlack para fomentar el comercio yanqui frente a los intentos anexionistas ingleses; hasta 1902 se consultó a los líderes políticos y empresariales del Istmo sobre la negociación de los tratados con Estados Unidos.

Tercero. ¿Éramos naciones diferentes? ¿Qué es una nación, en el sentido identitario? Una comunidad que, a partir de una historia común, ha desarrollado particularidades culturales comunes (creencias, costumbres, folklore) que, sobre todo, se expresan en una lengua común, la cual es en últimas el distintivo que unifica todos los rasgos de la identidad nacional. Salvando las naciones originarias de Colombia y Panamá, nuestras naciones son fundamentalmente una hechura del imperio colonial español y su cultura.

Ese es el fundamento posible del sueño bolivariano de unidad continental, la unidad que da una cultura y una lengua comunes, un pasado común y una protonacionalidad común, “españoles de América”, hasta bien entrado el siglo XIX. Los diversos estados nacionales que se crearon en la independencia son gajos de un tronco nacional común, de una identidad común. Por eso, hasta el día de hoy, Colombia y Panamá comparten muchos de esos rasgos identitarios.

Por último, alegar que Panamá podía constituir desde 1821 un estado nacional independiente solo puede salir de la más crasa ignorancia de los hechos concretos, aquellos hechos de lo que no habla la historia oficial: que el Ismo entró en decadencia luego del ataque de Morgan en 1671; que la crisis se profundizó con el final de las ferias de Portobelo en 1740; que en esa década el Istmo fue adscrito como provincia del Virreinato de la Nueva Granada, o sea que ya éramos “colombianos” antes de la independencia; que ni siquiera llegamos a Capitanía, como sí lo fueron Venezuela o Quito; que no había economía y los funcionarios se pagaban con plata de Bogotá y Lima (el situado); que había una crisis demográfica producto de la migración al interior y a otras zonas del imperio; etc.

También es obligante que nuestros historiadores jóvenes revisen el siglo XIX y pongan las famosas “actas separatistas” en el contexto de lo que acontecía en el conjunto de Colombia para comprender que más que separatismo se trataba de conflictos entre bolivaristas y santanderistas, liberales y conservadores, federalistas y centralistas, librecambistas y proteccionistas.

“Panamá siempre fue Panamá”, ha dicho un historiador colombiano, y de él se pegan los amanuenses de la leyenda dorada. Parafraseando también podemos decir: “Chiriquí siempre ha sido Chiriquí”. Y hay ideas federalistas allá. Pero eso no quiere decir nadie esté planteándose seriamente en Chiriquí independizarse de Panamá. Que la capital acapare los recursos y descuide a la población chiricana, tampoco convierte a Panamá en un país imperialista. La situación era semejante el Istmo durante el siglo XIX respecto de Bogotá.

Dejemos de tapar el sol con un dedo: los hechos del 3 de noviembre de 1903 no tienen nada que ver con una “opresión colombiana”, sino con la intervención del imperialismo norteamericano para imponer el tratado por el que se apropiaron del canal “como si fueran soberanos”. Luego de eso no fuimos “independientes”, sino un protectorado de Estados Unidos, que es otra forma de decir colonia.

La lucha por nuestra independencia lo ha sido contra el imperialismo norteamericano a lo largo del siglo XX, no contra Colombia. La máxima Gesta Independentista fue el 9 de Enero de 1964, no el 3 de noviembre de 1903.

 

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¿Wappin? Latin Grammys y más

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Jorge Drexler. Photo by Jorge Mejía.

Latin Grammy winners and more

Jorge Drexler – Telefonía
https://youtu.be/Wn4neB3uV6c

Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water
https://youtu.be/EKF6ghfcQic

Juanes – Pa Dentro
https://youtu.be/VhQmTmqcEY0

Natalia Lafourcade – Tú sí sabes quererme
https://youtu.be/ABLT6hdgEek

Hozier – Movement
https://youtu.be/OSye8OO5TkM

Rosalía – Malamente
https://youtu.be/Rht7rBHuXW8

Dido – Hurricanes
https://youtu.be/qQAc-AmDaww

Víctor Manuelle & Juan Luis Guerra – Quiero Tiempo
https://youtu.be/ZbpuElve6rA

Ellie Goulding, Diplo & Swae Lee – Close To Me
https://youtu.be/ajN57m_OSpY

Karol G & Anuel AA – Culpables
https://youtu.be/xfdG6vwIGGU

Joanna Connor – Little Wing
https://youtu.be/suwb2pdE2_g

Fito Paez – Tu Vida Mi Vida
https://youtu.be/A9_4BeA2eRg

Prince Royce & Marc Anthony – Adicto
https://youtu.be/LogQq9_-Y3I

Afrodisíaco – Viene de Panamá
https://youtu.be/UmKLwR-2WCo

Enrique Bunbury – Concierto en Madrid 2016
https://youtu.be/t5A-lV8bU1k

 

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Kermit’s street scenes (IV)

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Young boy on an upstairs ledge in Colon. For a larger image click here.

Panama street scenes (IV)

Photos and text © Kermit Nourse
click here for the entire gallery at higher resolution

 

This project called “Street 2010-2013” represents a period of my photography that I did either for my own publications or for The Panama News. At that time the language of my photography was black and white. Please understand that I never clicked the shutter button without respect or empathy for those I photographed.

Este proyecto, llamado “Street 2010-2013” representa un periodo de mi fotografía que hice para mis propias publicaciones o The Panama News. En ese momento el idioma de mi fotografía era en blanco y negro. Por favor, comprenda que nunca he pulsado el botón del obturador sin respeto ni empatía por aquellos que fotografié.

 

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A Shrine in Colon. For a larger image click here.

 

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The arrest in Panama City. For a larger image click here.

 

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Boys taking a bath in Colon. For a larger image click here.

 

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Antonio with a wooden top. For a larger image click here.

 

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The unphotographed. Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. For a larger image click here.

 

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Young man waving a flag: protest across from the National Assembly. For a larger image click here.

 

 

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Bendib, Maryland Attorney General, Nadler: the Whitaker appointment

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The Maryland Attorney General’s proposed court order against the Whitaker appointment (the US Department of Justice has released a contrary opinion):

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Veterans Day / Armistice Day in Panama

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Although it was the centennial of the armistice that ended the mostly indecisive carnage that was World War I, a variety of factors kept attendance down at the official ceremony. But people who served later, and Americans who felt a responsibility to stand up for a troubled country, did come to pay respects.

Veterans Day 2018 in Corozal

photos and note by Eric Jackson

November 11 fell on a long holiday weekend in Panama, on a Sunday no less. People gone away to the Interior or out of the country, the Banda Republicana committed to other duties, a short-handed official US presence here, church services conflicting, a conflicted US society and old allies no longer so close all added or mostly subtracted.

The Americans came into the First World War late, after Woodrow Wilson had won an election on a platform of keeping the country out of that conflict. By many accounts the US entry was decisive, perhaps even more so than the great influenza epidemic that killed millions around the world, struck the Western Front on both sides of No Man’s Land and in the end shut down German war production. Canada, however, suffered greater casualties than the United States. For France and the United Kingdom the human losses were catastrophic. Perhaps it could only be said that they “won” because the French Republic and the British royal family remained in place, while the German monarchy was ousted, the Russian Empire lost its monarchs and contracted in to civil war, the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell apart and its royalty lapsed, and the Ottoman Empire was also dismembered into chaos that in many ways continues to this day.

But people of many nations fought bravely, often heroically, and the habit had been for a number of years that at the November 11 observances in Panama’s American Cemetery the representatives of US allies in that war — Canada, France and the United Kingdom and sometimes others like the Australians if one of their ships was in port — would gather and remember. But this time there were only a few military officers from other Latin American Republics and the political officer at the Canadian Embassy. The ambassadors of Canada, France, the UK and Germany would be holding their separate event. In France the US president was making an ass of himself in front of other world leaders.

Panama’s American community is as divided as is the USA. There was an election a few days before, but there is no practical way of tabulating the votes cast from Panama. A few more Republicans than Democrats self-identified at the ceremony, but the great majority of those in attendance did not stand along with either of the respective party organizations. But members of both parties were there, neither to gloat nor to revile but to stand for a country in trouble.

It was a farewell event for Oliver Villaobos, the former Marine whose work on the cemetery was plain to all careful and regular observers. This year there were more prominent historical displays than in years past. Villalobos is off to France, appointed to a new post with the American Battle Monuments Commission, which runs the American Cemetery in Corozal. The proclamation was read, the ceremony held and the American community again, despite everything, demonstrated one nation indivisible.

 

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Alice Kittredge puts the finishing touches on the Republicans Abroad wreath.

 

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The US Marine Corps color guard — young men pledged to take a bullet if the need arises in defense of the American diplomatic mission here — marched in.

 

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Stacy Hatfield, American veteran and executive of the Manzanillo International Terminal, which is run by a US-based company, was the honored guest and speaker at this year’s observance.

 

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Roxanne Cabral, Chargé d’Affaires at an American Embassy without an ambassador at the moment, pays her respects.

 

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Chair emeritus Ramona Rhoades and vice chair Kim Antonsen for Democrats Abroad at the cemetery.

 

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Editorials: US foreign policy debacle; and Marcelino Ruíz

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“Reality show.” White House photo.

US foreign policy, down here and over there

Veterans Day weekend — the centennial of the armistice that silenced the guns of World War I — was a US foreign policy eye opener both in the small world of Panama and the global center stage in France. Surely it was a series of gaffes, snubs and discontinuities that might reasonably be amplified by Donald Trump’s critics, but it would be better to take stock of what’s important, what’s traditional, what’s expendable and the global situation left behind by those who preceded the current US president, with an eye toward where to go after this annoyance passes.

In Panama, Canada was represented by its embassy’s political officer and France and the UK were absent from the Veterans Day observances at the American Cemetery. The Canadian ambassador, along with those of the French, the British and the Germans, held their own observances. Not much reported, but a telling political shift and a sad one for Americans.

More widely reported were Trump’s crude insults in and from France. The rebukes he received from the leaders of France and Canada represented a falling out with America’s oldest and closest allies.

Trump’s insult to the US military might have been the most consequential of that whole sordid weekend. He has picked a fight not only with the so-called “deep state” civil servants, but with the FBI, the intelligence agencies, the men and women of the US Armed Forces and now even California firefighters. Reflect upon the FBI coup aspect of the Watergate scandal to think about what all this means.

The distortions of American History being a central plank of the Republican platform, it’s useful to go back to the 18th and early 19th centuries to review the foreign policy reasoning of the US founders. Most famous is George Washington’s advice against entangling foreign alliances, but the reasons for US independence in the first place and then the agreements and disagreement in Washington’s cabinet are perhaps more instructive at the moment.

The men who declared independence from Britain had thought of themselves as Englishmen with all of the rights and duties that accrued from that status. Slogans like “No taxation without representation” were hallmarks of their indignation about what they saw as a rightful status denied. But taxation was a detail. British policy was that colonies were for the benefit of the British economy, and colonial economies were to be ruled from London to maximize that benefit. Thus the Navigation Acts that restricted American traders and granted privileges and monopolies in the American colonies to British enterprises. Not only American overseas trade, but expansion west of the Alleghenies, manufacturing and agriculture were affected. The Americans were expected to grow hemp — not to smoke dope but to make rope for British ships. Logging for British shipbuilding and the collection of pine sap and tar to caulk British ships were duties imposed on America from afar. Tobacco growing for acquired addictions in the Old World was encouraged — if the prices were low enough — but other sorts of agriculture were not particularly favored. American independence became a necessity for the American economy. The back-and-forth of measures, counter-measures, events, hues and cries is the stuff of American history taught to kids, but the bottom line was business.

That being the case, what did Americans want? What could Americans afford? There was general agreement that participation in Europe’s wars, and even greater consensus about taking sides in the conflicts of other continents, were bad ideas.

However, non-participation was not indifference. Another point of agreement was that for US trading interests, it was better if no single power dominated the world, particularly the seas and the Eurasian land mass. If Britannia ruled the waves to the point of monopoly, that would be bad for business. But then, so would French rule from the English Channel to the Russian settlements on the Pacific. Washington’s cabinet was divided about which of these things was the greater threat to America.

France was America’s great ally in the Revolutionary War, and Jefferson had served as US ambassador there. Washington had led British soldiers in the French and Indian Wars and around him there were those who looked upon the French Revolution with great horror.

All of that said, neither the Federalists nor the Anti-Federalists were partisans of formal commitments to either France or Britain. Disputes and alliances came later, in light of specific disputes or perceived shared interests.

The two calamitous world wars of the 20th century were by and large the result of France and Germany being unable to get along. Thus the European Union and its predecessor, the European Common Market, to replace violence with cooperation. At the end of World War II the British, French and Dutch empires collapsed and what remained were Stalin’s Soviet Union and the United States as superpowers. Thus the Cold War and its institutions like the CIA and NATO.

The CIA showed its weakness by failing to predict the Iranian Revolution, the anti-American consequences of the Sunni jihad it promoted against the Soviets in Afghanistan or, most egregiously, the collapse and disintegration of the USSR. After that collapse, Germany reunited and that shifted balances within Europe, NATO was an organization looking for new missions and China arose as a superpower or something like it.

Now China rapidly approaches economic hegemony over the Eurasian land mass and in many other parts of the world, and is beginning to assert itself as a regional and world naval power. How much of a technological and military march the Chinese have stolen on the Americans, it would be better for the United States and the rest of the planet not to find out. China is the principal US geopolitical rival these days. Going to war with the Chinese would be an immoral and self-destructive thing for America do to. Going into a trade war with China is going to be increasingly painful in the USA and will negatively affect world shipping and the Panamanian economy as well.

How to manage the rivalry with China? Create alternatives. Prop up other competitors. Most of all, fix the US economy.

Do we hear many of those Democrats who brought us the Hillary Clinton debacle talking about restoring what was? Do we hear neoconservative voices urging a Cold War II against Russia? Such ideas can’t be ignored, but they should be strongly resisted.

Vladimir Putin is a gangster, raised to power on the shoulders of gangsters. He’s a gangster within a tradition that includes Josef Stalin, whom Americans might recall from history as a vital US ally in World War II even as he was a major rival.

Trump is an old hand at deals with gangsters, including Russian gangsters who are also in Putin’s orbit. That’s the primordial problem with Trump. If rivalry with China suggests a geopolitical deal with Russia, America needs a leader who is not beholden to either of those powers. But Trump is personally indebted to shady Russian interests, owes his election in part to Russian interference in US politics and because of his peculiar underworld ties is subject to Putin’s blackmail. He can’t deal with the Russians at arm’s length, which is what America needs to do.

There can’t be any going back, even were it desirable. This is 2018, not 1958. New thinking, new arrangements, new institutions are called for. But first America has this internal business to take care of, as the rest of the world looks on with mixtures of horror, disgust and dismay.

 

MR

So now it’s a crime to call out Panama’s president?

What will they do to Marcelino Ruíz Aquino? Poison him again? Or do they figure that a $300 fine is a heavy enough blow to silence any pensioner?

It’s hard to imagine that not enough patriotic and independent Panamanians will step forward to pay his fine. See #MarcelinoSomosTodos about that.

It’s also hard to imagine that the Panameñista Party will not lose a lot of votes next year precisely because of this obnoxious reaction to an old man who spoke truth to power.

 

st

Bear in mind…

What is man’s chief enemy? Each man is his own.
Anacharsis Cloots

 

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Bertrand Russell

 

Since when was genius found respectable?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

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