Coiba construction secrecy
Coiba Island, along with its adjacent islets and coral reefs, is a crown jewel of Panama’s wilderness areas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Politically connected resort developers want to privatize it for tourist development. Were they to hold an actual public hearing in a reasonable place with reasonable notice a huge crowd would turn out to oppose that. Especially now, with an administration tainted by the Odebrecht and Blue Apple construction contracting scandals.
So Coiba is being developed on the sly, it seems. Smash and grab time ahead of next May’s elections, replicated in a thousand different ways across the country. One of the reasons why we need a new constitution is so that people who do this don’t get to keep the proceeds of this behavior.
Five years ago is was a rash newborns who died in the neonatal ward of the Arnulfo Arias Hospital Complex. What the problem was became immediately apparent, and measures were quickly taken — to destroy evidence. The facility was supplied with the blood thinner heparin, with the benzyl alcohol preservative that should never be in any medication administered to infants. The world might be none the wiser except that the mother of one of the affected babies was a doctor.
Eventually seven people, including some of the Social Security Fund medical supply functionaries, were charged with various aspects of negligent homicide. But fingers are still pointing in circles and nobody has actually been brought to trial.
We recall the case of deadly poisonous Diethylene Glycol (DEG) mixed into cough syrup at a government lab. The immediate reaction then was to deny and suppress reports to avoid bad publicity for the government before an election. The next thing was to deny the extent of it and block funding for tests to prove or disprove that deaths or illnesses were DEG-related, so as to pay out fewer benefit to those affected or their survivors. Then the blame assignments began, with the people most responsible carefully protected and people totally uninvolved being charged.
Before that there were the radiation overdoses for cancer patients, due to bad equipment bought from a US company and people at the Instituto Oncologico neglecting to check the radiation levels. The problem was compounded when in gross violation of medical and journalistic ethics, the affected patients’ names and medical histories were leaked to the press and published.
Not again! The US medical malpractice litigation game is probably not the way for Panama to go, but there needs to be accountability in all of our licensed professions. We don’t have that in any of our professions and many innocent people inside those subcultures and among the general public suffer for it.
On the back stretch of a US primary season
Some close August 7 votes are going to absentee and provisional ballot counts, which may end up being decided by Americans living and casting their ballots from abroad.
En route to what? On the Republican side it’s about whether Donald Trump can destroy anyone in his party who is insufficiently obeisant. On the Democratic side it’s centrists versus progressives, with such corporate media as The Washington Post and The New York Times declaring the progressives dead on the eve of each primary day.
The progressives tend to lose against incumbents but win a bit more often in races for open seats. The big exception on August 7 was the primary ouster of the long-time St. Louis prosecutor who more than any other single person provoked the Black Lives Matter movement. With nazis and those who oppose them facing off in the streets, that St. Louis election result is a priceless demonstration of how to effectively confront those with contempt for the lives of those unlike themselves.
It’s all headed for a big November showdown. History and the totals by party of primary vote turnout suggest that Democrats will take control of the US House of Representatives. Whether the US Senate changes hands and the direction and extent of changes at state and local levels are the big unknowns. Register to vote and order your ballot by going to votefromabroad.org or fvap.gov or overseasvotefoundation.org. History will be made and you don’t want to have to lie when future generations ask you about your role.
Bear in mind…
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