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¿Wappin? A Saturday night mix that they don’t play on the radio

Bomba Estéreo
Bomba Estéreo, a Colombian band whose music gets called all sorts of weird things — psychedelic cumbia? — but which this VJ will just call the good stuff. Photo by Jorge Martínez.

¿Wappin? Saturday night free form

Lord Kitty – Neighbor

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Marta Gómez – Para la guerra nada

Natalie Merchant – These Are Days

Zoé – Sedantes

Frank Zappa – Any Way the Wind Blows

Ernie K. Doe – Mother-In-Law

Nathi – Nomvula

Chrissie Hynde – Creep

Carlos Henríquez & Rubén Blades – Descarga Entre Amigos

The Coasters – Poison Ivy

Rómulo Castro – L’u d’Aielo

Hozier – Someone New

Bomba Estéreo – Somos Dos

Negus Roots Meets The Mad Professor

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La Red, Rechazamos ser funcionales a los intereses de las oligarquías


Nuestro rechazo a la resolución
N° 239 de la dirigencia del PRD

por la Red de Intelectuales, Artistas y Movimientos Sociales en Defensa de la Humanidad

La Red de Intelectuales, Artistas y Movimientos Sociales en Defensa de la Humanidad constituyen un movimiento de pensamiento y acción contra toda forma de dominación. Los objetivos del movimiento son los de crear una red de redes de información, acción artística cultural, coordinación y movilización que vincule a intelectuales y artistas con los foros sociales y las luchas populares y garantice la continuidad de estos esfuerzos y su articulación en un movimiento internacional: En defensa de la humanidad.

Por eso nosotros y nosotras, representantes de la Red capítulo de Panamá, como expresión diversa del pueblo panameño, expresamos nuestro firme respaldo a los países que conforman la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América-ALBA, así como a todas las naciones que libremente, deciden su rumbo de forma soberana desde la libre autodeterminación de los pueblos.

Y en función de nuestra posición como sujetos políticos consientes y críticos, rechazamos la resolución nª 239 del Comité Ejecutivo Nacional (CEN) del Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD), firmado por Benicio Robinson como también los dichos del Secretario General del PRD, Carlos Pérez Herrera, que en una muestra máxima de desorientación y falta de formación política, hace un llamado “al cese de las violaciones a los derechos humanos” en la República Bolivariana de Venezuela y defiende a Leopoldo López, que no es más que un títere del imperialismo y de la oligarquía venezolana; gran parte de esa oligarquía instalada en territorio panameño. Sus dichos manifestados a través de su página de Facebook no resisten un debate abierto, profundo y sincero; ya que ante las innumerables críticas recibidas dejo de debatir con quienes lo cuestionaron.

Rechazamos estos dichos porque se basan en informaciones manipuladas por los medios hegemónicos, porque son parte de un plan de desestabilización contra los gobiernos progresistas del continente, que han decidido tomar un camino, soberano y manejando sus recursos nacionales para el bienestar de su pueblo. Dicha resolución es inmoral políticamente, porque mientras se defiende a un terrorista confeso como Leopoldo López, (a quien se le respetan sus derechos básicos de detenido. Hay videos que lo comprueban) no escuchamos al CEN del PRD manifestarse contra la detención abrupta de 10 jóvenes del Instituto Nacional, que están detenidos y acusados de terrorismo sin ninguna prueba.

Sin embargo vemos con vergüenza como se defiende a Leopoldo López, responsable de 43 muertes a partir del intento de golpe de estado de la ultra derecha venezolana, a través de la operación: La Salida.

En este marco creemos, que la posición asumida por el gobierno panameño, encabezado por el presidente Juan Carlos Varela, de no interferir en asuntos jurídicos soberanos de otro país, es la correcta y obedece a la posición neutral de Panamá.

Por eso invitamos a los dirigentes del CEN del PRD y a cualquiera que lea este comunicado a estudiar a fondo la situación geopolítica venezolana y a no ser funcionales a los nefastos intereses de las oligarquías de la región y del imperialismo

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Editorials: We have all been insulted; and Conflict of interest

A concret core sample taken from the leaking Cocoli Locks sill.
A concrete core sample taken from the leaking Cocoli Locks sill.

The ACP and the GUPC, whose lowball bid the former accepted, want you to believe that concrete like this is the product of not enough rebar, and that instead of tearing out the faulty work and redoing it we should accept the quick, cheap and temporary fix of putting it back together with pins and glue

A nation insulted

wimp, noun: a ​person who is not ​strong, ​brave, or confident; a male in a position of authority who sends in a female subordinate to answer for his mistakes…

The GUPC consortium’s belated, partial, preliminary and unpublished report on what is wrong with that leaking gate sill at the Cocoli Locks came into the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) on September 25. On September 30 we learned through La Prensa, probably the one news medium with the most business, family and political ties to the members of the ACP management and board of directors, which quoted Ilya Espino de Marotta, the only woman in a senior PanCanal management position, that the contractors are saying that the problem is a design flaw with both the Pacific and Atlantic side locks, a matter of not enough steel in the structures. The contractors’ plan, we were told, is to drill holes in the locks structures, pour a sealant into those holes and then insert rebar rods into them.

The following day, via Reuters and certain of the foreign maritime industry media, we were told that the problem definitely is as GUPC describes it, that the fix will be as described, and that the canal will open business as had been rescheduled for April of 2016 from its original August 2014 completion date. All this attributed to a disembodied nameless and faceless voice at the ACP.

However, the photos of the concrete core samples from the faulty locks sill have alreadly been seen by the public for weeks now. Those cores are the product of a grossly inadequate concrete mix, not any lack of rebar.

Bore some holes into that bad concrete, pour in some glue and add more iron and what you get is a temporary fix into which saltwater will intrude and rust out the metal within a few years. The bad concrete structures need to be torn out and rebuilt. Otherwise we get new locks that don’t meet the specification of having to last for 100 years.

And where have Minister of Canal Affair Roberto Roy and Canal Administrator been during all of this? Not showing their faces to the public and giving candid and honest answers to questions not of their choosing. All in all, it was a disgraceful display of the sort of management culture that has come to dominate the ACP, the very essence of wimpishness.

Our missing conflict of interest law comes front and center

For years now foreign governments, international agencies and many of Panama’s civic, professional and religious groups have been calling for a comprehensive conflict of interest law. What we have now are few afterthought provisions of laws for other purposes that restrict nepotism and other multiple loyalties in certain limited situations. What we have now is a political and legal culture of amazing arrogance.

Consider that two Ricardo Martinelli appointees to the Supreme Court are about to take charge of probably the most serious charges against the ex-president, those of the Financial Pacific affair. (Probably the most serious because that matter probably includes a murder case, the 2012 disappearance of Securities Markets Superintendency analyst Vernon Ramos.)

The man appointed to judge that case, José Ayú Prado, handled the Financial Pacific case when he was attorney general. A key witness accuses him of pressuring her to change her story. Yet he resists widespread calls for him to step down as judge, arguing that there is no legal or moral impediment to keep him from hearing the case. Moreover, before hearing the case he has made dismissive remarks to reporters about how it’s just a minor matter of one account, when many circumstances and some well placed observers say that the affair is much more than just that.

Then in the government regulated energy sector, we have the manager of a company that sells electricity to the ETESA state power grid company — which is headed by his brother — steadfastly claiming not that precautions have been taken to avoid undue influence but flat-out that there is no conflict of interest. Of course there is, but maybe none that Panamanian law recognizes.

And what about the canal expansion woes? One of the companies in the GUPC consortium that has the contract to design and build the new locks is owned by the family of he man who was canal administrator when that contract was awarded.

Panama’s lack of serious and enforced conflict of interest laws means that the Panamanian people get cheated and that the nation is an international laughing stock. It’s long past time that we stopped being a nation of pendejos who put up with this sort of stuff.

Bear in mind…

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Anais Nin


Roots creep under the ground to make a firm foundation. Shoots seems new and small, but to reach the light they can break through brick walls.
Jane Goodall


I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.
Alexander the Great


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Reyes, Jeb Bush blows it on race


Ben Dib
His quip that black voters want “free stuff” is pretty rich

Jeb Bush blows it on race

by Raul A. Reyes — OtherWords

The Republican Party has struggled for years to attract more voters of color. In a recent campaign appearance, candidate Jeb Bush offered yet another useful case study of how not to do it.

At a campaign stop in South Carolina, the former Florida governor was asked how he’d win over African-American voters. “Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” he answered. So far, so good, right?

“It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”


With just two words — “free stuff” — Bush managed to insult millions of black Americans, completely misread what motivates black people to vote, and falsely imply that African Americans are the predominant consumers of vital social services.

First, the facts.

Bush’s suggestion that African Americans vote for Democrats because of handouts is flat-out wrong. Data from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies shows that black voters increasingly preferred the Democratic Party over the course of the 20th century as it stepped up its support for civil rights.

These days, more than 90 percent of African Americans vote for the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates because they believe Democrats pay more attention to their concerns. Consider that in the two GOP debates, there was only one question about the “Black Lives Matter” movement. When they do comment on it, Republican politicians feel much more at home criticizing that movement against police brutality than supporting it.

Bush is also incorrect to suggest that African Americans want “free stuff” more than other Americans. A plurality of people on food stamps, for example, are white.

Moreover, government assistance programs exist because we’ve decided, as a country, to help our neediest fellow citizens. What Bush derides as “free stuff” — say, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and school lunch subsidies — are a vital safety net for millions of the elderly, the poor, and children, regardless of race or ethnicity.

How sad that Bush, himself a Catholic, made his comments during the same week that Pope Francis was encouraging Americans to live up to their ideals and help the less fortunate.

Finally, Bush’s crass comment is especially ironic coming from a third-generation oligarch whose life has been defined by privilege.

Bush himself is a big fan of freebies. The New York Times has reported that, during his father’s 12 years in elected national office, Bush frequently sought (and obtained) favors for himself, his friends, and his business associates. Even now, about half of the money for Bush’s presidential campaign is coming from the Bush family donor network.

And what about those corporate tax breaks, oil subsidies, and payouts to big agricultural companies Bush himself supports? Don’t those things count as “free stuff” for some of the richest people in our country?

It’s also the height of arrogance for Bush to imply that African Americans are strangers to “earned success.” African Americans have been earning success for generations, despite the efforts of politicians like Bush — who purged Florida’s rolls of minority voters and abolished affirmative action at state universities.

If nothing else, this controversy shows why his candidacy has yet to take off as expected. His campaign gaffes have served up endless fodder for reporters, pundits, and comics alike.

Sound familiar?

As you may recall, Mitt Romney helped doom his own presidential aspirations by writing off the “47 percent” of the American people he said would never vote Republican because they were “dependent upon government.”

In Romney’s view, they’re people “who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

Sorry, Jeb. The last thing this country needs is another man of inherited wealth and power lecturing the rest of us about mooching.

Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and columnist based in New York City.

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Lo que dijo Varela en la ONU – What Varela said at the UN

Varela at the UN
Presidente Juan Carlos Varela de Panamá en su discurso frente la Asamblea General. Foto por la ONU.

Lo que dijo Varela en la ONU ~ What Varela said at the UN

videos de la ONU en español e inglés ~ UN videos in Spanish and English

En español

In English

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GUPC: both sets of locks poorly designed, pins and glue fix suggested

What nobody at the ACP or in Panama's rabiblanco media want to mention is that Alemán Zubieta's family owns one of the companies in the GUPC consortium that was awarded the locks design and construction contract on a flagrantly lowball bid. Graphic by the ACP.
What neither the ACP nor Panama’s rabiblanco media want to mention is that Alberto Alemán Zubieta’s family owns one of the companies in the GUPC consortium that was awarded the locks design and construction contract by way of a lowball bid. Alemán Zubieta was CEO of that company, Constructora Urbana SA (CUSA), just before he became canal administator. Graphic by the ACP.

La Prensa reports that the GUPC consortium submitted an interim report on the leaking locks on September 25

GUPC says both sets of locks are badly designed, suggests cement and more rebar

by Eric Jackson
Bechtel reps state a consortium cannot even “pour the concrete” for $3.1 billion and hinted even their $4.2 billion price was closer to a lowball bid than a value bid. It is widely expected that during construction, Sacyr will attempt to renegotiate the price with the ACP.
Former US Ambassador Barbara J. Stephenson
July 9, 2009 cable to Washington (via WikiLeaks)


They come in with drills to bore holes of a diameter where they can put the steel and a sealant. They’re going to put in vertical bars. In the first design, for reinforcement of one of the Atlantic jambs, they will put in some 60 bars in an area identified as where they should be placed. In addition, diagonal bars will be placed on the same side of the jamb.
ACP Executive Vice President of Engineering and Project Administration
Ilya Espino de Marotta, quoted in La Prensa, September 30, 2015


The Panama Canal Authority administration, board of directors and advisory board are notorious men’s clubs, with a few exceptions. So, what to do when on a Friday some bad news and dubious suggested remedies come in from the troubled GUPC consortium? Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano didn’t have anything to say about it — the following Monday he was busy receiving an award from the Real Estate Brokers Association (ACOBIR) for excellence in running a public infrastructure project. Minister of Canal Affairs Roberto Roy also held his tongue — the following Tuesday he took off for Washington to speak to the American Chamber of Commerce. They left it to the sole female near the top of the canal administration, Ilya Espino de Marotta, to break the news softly through the most sympathetic to the ACP of all Panamanian media (because of lots of business, family and political ties between their respective managements), La Prensa.

The news does look bad, and it may be a lot worse than GUPC and the ACP let on. GUPC calls it a design problem with both sets of locks, a problem with not enough rebar. Widely published photos of core samples suggest defective, improperly poured concrete. So will a retrofit with some 18-guage rebar and some sealant make for a construction job that will last the specified 100 years? Or will it not? And if it won’t, will the current ACP management just accept it anyway in order to avoid being too far behind deadline, and leave it for a future set of execs when things start to crumble? Or if it won’t, will the ACP insist that the defective work be torn out and redone? The canal expansion was originally scheduled to be done in August of 2014, and after several delays the open for traffic date has been moved back to April of 2016, but if parts or all of both new sets of locks have to be torn out and redone it will mean another major delay and probably bankrupt one or more of the companies in the GUPC consortium.

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What Obama said at the UN – Lo que dijo Obama en la ONU

Barack Obama speaks to the 70th United Nations General Assembly. UN photo.

Obama at the UN ~ Obama en la ONU

videos in English and Spanish ~ videos en inglés y español

Obama in English

Obama en español

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What Latin American leaders are saying at the UN (1)

President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón of Colombia talks about his country's peace process. UN photo.
President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón of Colombia talks about his country’s peace process. UN photo.

What Latin American leaders are saying (1)

videos with English translation from the first two days of the UN General Assembly
















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Soldier’s US trial for Los Santos slaying delayed as DR rejects such procedures

Family of 25-year-old law student Vanesa Rodríguez demand justice for her slaying. Photo by Eric Jackson.
Family of 25-year-old law student Vanesa Rodríguez demand justice for her slaying. Photo by Eric Jackson.

As a Fort Bragg court-martial is delayed until next year, the Dominican Republic strikes down their country’s similar Status of Forces Agreement that shields “War on Drugs” soldiers from the jurisdiction of Dominican courts

“Drug Warrior” trial put off

by Eric Jackson

The US military prosecutors’ theory is that Master Sergeant Omar Velez murdered Vanesa Rodríguez but it wasn’t premeditated. Velez’s defense lawyers are arguing that the woman’s death at a Panamanian National Police training site in Los Santos was an accident. If Panamanian prosecutors have a theory about what happened, they aren’t saying: the official position is that this crime is none of their business.

The arguments about what happened and what to call it will happen sometime next year in North Carolina. On September 28 in a military courtroom on Fort Bragg a series of pretrial motions made by the defense were heard. One of the defense requests was to delay the trial until next March and as the prosecutors did not object the military judge, Colonel Christopher T. Fredrikson, granted that postponement.

The motions that ought to be the most politically controversial, but probably won’t be, were attempts to suppress evidence taken in a search of Velez’s Panama apartment and from the taking and testing of blood and urine samples from the soldier. It’s about wheher this “War on Drugs” operative, assigned to the US Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization and sent to Panama to train police officers to be soldiers who carry out US anti-drug policies, was himself under the dangerous influence of steroids at the time. Steroids are and have been a major problem in the US Armed Forces and information about the extent of it is often suppressed by the military itself or by the politicians who give them their orders because it’s embarrissing and could have some far-reaching legal consequences. At Velez’s initial booking steroids did not enter into the story, by a US Army magistrate issued warrant to search Master Sergeant Velez’s quarters in Panama, and because steroids were found, issued a warrant for the drug testing. (At about the same time The Panama News raised the steroids issue, because photos of the soldier suggested that and because friends of the slain woman told this reporter that Velez used steroids.) Velez is charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, adultery, obstruction of justice, possession of steroids and use of steroids. He could get life in prison. The judge did not rule on the defense motions to suppress the steroids evidence. If he rules in favor of the defense on those points it would remove the steroids charges from the case.

Were the case to have been tried here, there probably would not have an instant decision like that of the US authorities to declare the crime unpremeditated. Certainly a “roid rage” theory of the crime would suggest a murder arising from a sudden emotional outburst. However, Velez was in Los Santos training National Police lince units — the cops on the motorcycles with automatic weapons — and called Rodríguez to come from Panama City, where she lived and studied law at the University of Panama, to visit him in Los Santos. He killed her there, near a National Police training facility on the Guarare River. He was in the process of burying the body when he was detected and arrested by some of the police officers he had been training. That Velez called Rodríguez to the place where he killed her might suggest premeditation.

However, Velez was quickly surrendered to the US Embassy by Panamanian authorities pursuant to a secret Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) made between the Martín Torrijos and George W. Bush administration. This agreement, which is not a treaty that was presented to either the US Senate or the Panamanian National Assembly for ratification, provides that US military personnel sent to Panama on training missions get diplomatic immunity.

On the same day that Velez was in court, in the Dominican Republic that country’s Constitutional Tribunal struck down a SOFA that gave diplomatic immunity not only to US “War on Drugs” military personnel but also to civilian mercenaries such as people from DyncCorp or Blackwater/Xe. That SOFA also gives diplomatic cover for American military and civilian personnel who come to the DR on disaster relief missions.

The Dominican court’s decision was unanimous. All 12 judges agreed that the SOFA is “a violation of national sovereignty and, consequently, the Dominican state.” So far neither the US nor the Dominican administrations have commented on the decision. SOFAs are well nigh ubiquitous wherever American soldiers go. However, they are increasingly controversial in the world, particularly because the US justice system has usually neither sought nor done justice for cases of torture or other serious violations of international law. Although a limited number have since returned for special operations against the Islamic State, US troops were withdrawn from Iraq when the government of that country refused to sign a SOFA providing immunity to US troops.

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The 39 Steps, coming up at the Ancon Theater


39 Steps-Poster-FinalIt’s NOT a hyped-up variant of a 12-step program for Theatre Guild of Ancon members to stop smoking…

The 39 Steps

The play The 39 Steps is an adaptation of the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock movie. The play is about a man living a boring life when he meets a mysterious woman who claims to be a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered and he, falsely accused of her death, runs from the law. This initiates an adventure that will take him all across Great Britain to find the true murderers and uncover the secret behind the mysterious 39 steps.

This adaptation requires that all the adventure from the movie be reenacted by a four-person cast interpreting multiple roles. One actor plays the hero, one actress plays the three women with whom he finds himself romantically involved, and two additional actors play all the other role in the play: heroes, villains, men, women, children, and occasionally, inanimate objects. It is a spy comedy that reflects multidimensional talent from its actors, accompanied by an exciting light design. This play will be presented on the 8-10, 15-17 and 22-24 of October at 8:00 p.m. under the direction of Giancarlo Benedetti and Rob Getman.

Author: John Buchan, adapted for screen by Alfred Hitchcock, adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow
Directors and Producers: Giancarlo Benedetti & Rob Getman
Assistant Producers: Stephanie Lezcano & Maria Isabel Vega

Jirac Caro
Ana Victoria Esquivel
Ingrid MacCartney
Jose Manuel Lopez

Reserve tickets here: http://anconguild.com/reservations

About The Theatre Guild of Ancon

The Theatre Guild of Ancon is a national treasure in Panama since it is the oldest theatre in continuous operation. It was founded in 1950 by a group of Panamanian and American citizens who were interested in developing English language theatre in Panama. Our productions run the gamut of the theatrical spectrum — from modern dramas to comedies and family entertainment to musicals. Our stage has been the first step for performers such as Robert Loggia and Rubén Blades, successful directors such as Bruce Quinn and John Aniston (Jennifer’s father), and other professionals like Rick Belzer, currently a lighting designer on Broadway, and George Scribner, currently a Walt Disney imagineer. Today, the Theatre Guild is a nonprofit community theatre dedicated to developing the performing arts in Panama.


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