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The very Afrocentric Randy Weston

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Weston
Pianist Randy Weston. Photo by Bob Travis.

Via Brooklyn, Jamaica and Panama, Randy Weston’s roots are African

by Eric Jackson

 

Music is before language — language has to have music in it to be properly spoken.
Randy Weston

 

He could be a Panamanian citizen if he wanted to be, and Jamaica would have an even greater claim. But Randy Weston, a lifelong Brooklyn resident and US Army veteran, emphasizes his African identity.

On his mother’s side Weston, who was born in Brooklyn in 1926, is of Jamaican extraction. His father’s people also trace roots back to Jamaica, but his paternal grandmother came from Jamaica to run a bakery during canal construction times, giving birth to his father in Panama. Under Panamanian law the child of a parent who was born in Panama can be Panamanian if she or he wants to be. But Frank Edward Weston, the immigrant businessman raising a family in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, chose things to embrace and things to leave behind. He spoke Spanish as well as English, but “that generation wanted to adapt to America” and he raised his son Randy speaking English in the home. A barber and restaurateur, the elder Weston directed his tall son away from the basketball court and into piano lessons. Across the river in Manhattan the social, cultural and political flowering known as the Harlem Renaissance was in full bloom as Randy was growing up and his dad took him to places in Harlem and the Village to expose him to the likes of Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake and New York’s calypso scene. The elder Weston chose carefully among the educational opportunities available to black people in Brooklyn at the time, sending Randy to Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant and choosing a piano teacher who would let him get beyond the standard classical canon.

What other sorts of values were coming from the Weston home? Randy’s father was not a movement person, but “he loved Marcus Garvey” and passed on that Pan-Africanist leader’s Afrocentric, self-reliant, independent set of values to his son. Later when, at a certain postwar moment in jazz circles, “everyone wanted to go to Europe,” Randy Weston had heard of Europe from his dad and was not terribly interested — the attraction was to Africa. “We grew up with imperialism — everything was about taking advantage of the African.”

As the clouds of world war gathered in Europe and Asia, a teenage Randy Weston growing up in Bed Stuy hung out with drummer Max Roach, who lived in the same neighborhood, and was deeply influenced by the music of Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins. On other cultural fronts, what’s an Afrocentric upbringing without an appreciation for fiery food? Starting about age nine, his father introduced Randy to the acquired taste of hot peppers. “He cooked everything — he made ice cream, beer, wine and baccalao, and cooked pies.”

Boyhood ended with a call to arms at age 18. That took Randy Weston away from Brooklyn and North America — to Okinawa and a year’s exposure to that bit of non-Western civilization.

Back in Brooklyn after the war, Randy took over management of one of his dad’s restaurants, a place called Trios. “That’s where all the music was.” Trios became known as quite the hangout for the bebop scene. Added to Trios was the renewed old friendship with Max Roach, also back in the neighborhood. Weston met Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie at Roach’s house.

“Brooklyn was very family,” Weston explained. Jazz was all over, but a musician from Kansas City or Detroit had to make a certain pilgrimage to get recognition in the business. “New York was the place. Everyone had to come to New York to prove themselves.” And in that concentrated scene Weston proved and improved himself, acquiring a reputation of his own, working with some of the top people and making music outside of overly formatted boxes.

The time came for Randy Weston to take his show on the road — to Africa. In 1960, in collaboration with arranger Melba Liston and with narration by poet and writer Langston Hughes, Weston recorded Uhuru Afrika. In that period he also was noticed for a cover of Nigerian Bobby Benson’s Niger Mambo. The call was getting louder on both ends. A 1963 trip to Nigeria was followed a few years later by a 14-country tour across northern and western Africa, under the auspices of the US State Department. In places like Senegal, Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Gabon, Algeria and Egypt he met the first leaders of newly independent African nations. The last stop on the tour was in Morocco, where he received an invitation to come back.

And back to Africa Weston did come, playing, learning and running a Tangiers nightclub called African Rhythms. He learned bits of African languages, collaborated with his son and musicians from all over and took a special interest in the music of the Gnawa, originally a sub-Saharan people brought to Morocco as slaves and now a crucial force in Moroccan music and culture.

After about five years living in Africa and en route back to Brooklyn, Weston did manage to put in his appearance on the European scene, which by then was broadening its horizons to include an appreciation of sounds coming directly out of the continent to the south. He has been back to Europe a few times, including a special session playing for Queen Elizabeth II.

So to what is Randy Weston listening now? Don’t hold your breath waiting for the 89-year-old to release a hip hop album. He doesn’t listen to much new stuff, not even the more recent sounds coming out of Africa. “I collect traditional music, the oldest music I can find,” he said. He’s picking up on new things in the old stuff he visits and revisits. “I’m still listening to Louis [Armstrong]” — and noticing influences and strokes of creative genius that hadn’t been noticed before.

One of the reasons why Weston left for Africa in the 1960s and 70s was that the record industry was concentrating into narrow commercially oriented formats under the leadership of people who knew much about money and little about art. Today’s music business? “Forget it.” Worse yet, “the media ignore art.” But it’s not as if today’s music entirely escapes Weston’s attention. “The African pulse is there wherever you find us. Take the African culture out of the USA and you would be left with nothing. The whole concept of music comes from Africa.”

Well of course. Humanity originally comes from Africa. People and their brains with “wired in” language. People whose damaged brains can lose the power of speech, but can often be healed with music therapy. Weston cites the example of his late collaborator and arranger, trombonist Melba Liston. She suffered a massive stroke that left her paralyzed on her right side, ending her days of playing the trombone. But she fought back to rewire her brain circuitry, learned to type into a computer with her left hand and had more days of composing and arranging in her before another series of strokes ended her life.

And how does a man stay lucid as his 90th birthday approaches? The energy level isn’t there for Weston to be touring anymore, but he says he will never retire. Don’t recent medical studies show that being bilingual delays the onset of Alzheimer’s? And isn’t music a language, or a set of languages?

That question has the concept backwards, according to Randy Weston. “Music is before language — language has to have music in it to be properly spoken.”

 

 

 

 

 

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MOVADUP, Espacios de debate

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MOVADUP
MOVADUP para promueve espacios de debate

por el MOVADUP

El Comité de Coordinación Nacional del MOVADUP, con respecto a la contienda electoral universitaria que se avecina, ha decidido adoptar una postura proactiva y mantener una posición supraelectoral para promover el conocimiento y el interés de todo el pueblo panameño con respecto a los asuntos universitarios en general y a los de la Universidad de Panamá en particular, a lo cual no escapa el escrutinio público hacia todos aquellos que tengan aspiración de ocupar cargos de elección en la Casa de Méndez Pereira.

El MOVADUP considera que la Universidad de Panamá le pertenece al pueblo, e intenta modestamente ser un vehículo crítico a través del cual cualesquiera aspirantes a cargos de elección universitarios respondan a sus inquietudes y presenten AL PAÍS ENTERO sus programas. El MOVADUP sigue indeclinablemente el espíritu y la letra de sus documentos fundacionales, los cuales consignan nuestra voluntad inquebrantable de que los procesos universitarios superen el embozamiento del claustro y salgan a la luz de la comunidad, para ser escrutados y perfeccionados por la ciudadanía, única y legítima soberana y dueña de la Universidad Pública.

Por lo tanto, además de que es conocida nuestra posición en la lucha contra la corrupción y los abusos en la Universidad de Panamá, habida cuenta de que la actual administración universitaria se ha descalificado al parcializarse públicamente al llamar “mala” y “basura” a la disidencia y a la oposición, y en virtud de que las organizaciones políticas de los aspirantes naturalmente están ocupadas en la conquista de votos, el MOVADUP considera que es su deber universitario y patriótico crear espacios para promover el escrutinio de los aspirantes, de sus planes y programas de gestión, de cómo será confrontado su proyecto con lo existente en la actualidad y qué proyecciones tendrán hacia el país. Ha llegado la hora de elevar la categoría de las elecciones universitarias y darles el carácter de interés nacional activo y beligerante que tanto merece y necesita, único modo de garantizar su buen gobierno y la evitación de los manejos erróneos de los que ha sido víctima hasta ahora.

El MOVADUP, por consiguiente, invita cordialmente a todos los ciudadanos , ya sea de dentro del claustro universitario como de fuera de él, incluyendo a los distinguidos aspirantes a puestos de elección universitarios, a las mesas redondas que con el tema: El perfil del candidato universitario, se han organizado y en las cuales todos los asistentes tendrán oportunidad democrática de participar.

 

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State of the Union: video, text in English and Spanish, and GOP response

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SOTU
President Obama’s final State of the Union address. White House photo.

Obama’s last State of the Union speech

Text in English

Texto en español

 

 

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2016 Panama Jazz Festival underway

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Danilo P'erez and First Lady Lorena Castillo de Varela. Photo by Eric Jackson.
Danilo Pérez and First Lady Lorena Castillo de Varela. Photo by Eric Jackson.

It’s Jazz Festival time!

by Eric Jackson

If man is a political animal, is Danilo Pérez trying to domesticate the wild women of Panamanian politics and deprive the nation’s more lowbrow and almost invariably male politics junkies who were looking forward to full-contact kung fu in the National Assembly? He did get some laughs at the Panama Jazz Festival opening press conference with his call for “music therapy for the legislators.” The first lady seemed to enjoy that, but in her own statements kept the politics down to calling for increased support for such cultural events and sharing out thanks among God and the people working to put on the festival.

Pérez, the renowned pianist, composer and educator, may be the festival’s founder and artistic director but he was in a mood to share. “This is Panama’s festival, it’s not Danilo Pérez´s festival.” He spoke of what he’s trying to do not as this wonderful show — which it is — but as an educational mission. The successful study of music, he noted, promotes “responsibility, discipline and teamwork.” The educational side of the jazz festival, he claims, gives young people living in difficult circumstances opportunities that those without affluent parents generally don’t get, pointing to Colon violinist, arranger and band leader Joshue Ashby as an example of that.

Panama City’s vice mayor, Raisa Banfield, concurred. The development of young talent at the workshops and auditions, she said, is the most important thing going on this week at the City of Knowledge.

It’s not strictly about jazz, either. There has always been a classical element to the jazz festivals and this year’s festival includes Puerto Rican singer Danny Rivera, who performs many genres of music, the gospel scene’s Kevin Harris and local notables Luci and the Soul Brokers. (That latter band’s female lead vocalist is named Mayra Hurley — don’t tell The Church Lady.) Asked about other genres at the festival, Pérez quoted Herbie Hancock: “Music is the expression of humanity,” added that “Jazz is an expression of freedom” and opined that jazz maintains its vitality by drawing upon folklore, which comes in almost infinite varieties.

Concerts? Yes, there are plenty of those

schedule

 

Orion Morales
Orion Morales holds a workshop on Chilean music. Photo by Bill Bytsura / Panama Jazz Festival.

 

Kevin Harris
Getting back to the roots: Kevin Harris’s gospel seminar. Photo by Bill Bytsura / Panama Jazz Festival.

 

congo dancing
Volviendo hacia las raíces: the Grupo Congo Generacion Costeña de Colon at the opening press conference. Photo by Eric Jackson.

 

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What Democrats are saying: the Fusion Brown & Black Forum

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Democrats address Latino and African-American concerns in a forum at Drake

Check out host Fusion’s website coverage:

Hillary on extremists with guns

Bernie on living in public housing

Martin on Democrats as the party of diversity

Des Moines Register: The best, worst and silliness at Iowa Democrats’ forum

The New York Times: Hillary races to close enthusiasm gap with Sanders

The Guardian: Clinton and Sanders go on the attack

CNN: Sanders talks about sex, Clinton about deportations

 

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Editorial, The Day of the Martyrs

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la bandera
The Day of the Martyrs and
how people’s minds work

In another place, at a different time, a martyr for a different aspect of what’s really a universal human cause, South African Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko, observed that “The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” So it was then and there, so it was on The Day of the Martyrs and so it is now, in Panama and elsewhere.

On January 9, 1964 the Panamanian mind didn’t function the way it was “supposed to.” Resignation in the face of nothing ever changing, ignoring banal insults in order to avoid making things worse, the narrow concern for self and family — for a moment these things dissolved under a tidal wave of fury, and things would never be the same again. That fury was not a perfect storm but the accumulated actions of imperfect people. Most of the people who were hurt on both sides didn’t deserve to be hurt, but a point was made.

Usually such fury can be heard coming, but usually the sounds and signs are ignored until Hell has broken loose. In 1947 and 1958 the alarm was sounded in some unmistakable ways. In a ceaseless procession of movements, statements, gestures and resolutions from the end of World War II to the Day of the Martyrs, Panamanians of all social classes had been saying that they were fed up. If some of those whose lives were profoundly changed never knew what hit them, it’s because they weren’t paying attention, by and large because they were taught not to pay attention.

The past should illuminate our present and provide a set of warnings as we move into the future. Mostly, however, it gets trivialized, mythologized and spun for partisan advantage. Those who object to the distortions tend to get their motives and their credentials as human beings questioned by those who would privatize the nation’s history. But the momentous acts of individuals and groups don’t belong to any party, faction, social segment or would-be leader. Some person or group might gain control over what the history books are allowed to say, but they don’t own history.

The Day of the Martyrs was then. The Canal Zone is over. Panama lives on, its fate in the hands of new generations. Today’s Panamanians face some new situations, but the basic questions that all ought to ask are the perennial ones. Which insults and injustices will you tolerate, and for how long? For what are you willing to die? Much harder: For what are you willing to work and to dedicate your life?

Yadda yadda yadda — nothing ever changes. And if the head of the Colegio de Abogados, Panama’s principal bar association, files criminal charges for fraud in the Panama Canal expansion, many will be accustomed to tuning that stuff out, many because they have been advised to do so. It’s a good way to miss the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.

Panama is oppressed by a parasitic, amoral and arrogant political caste that does everything it can to avoid accountability and every five years appeals to the baser instincts in the pubic mind to get its grip on power renewed. Panama is oppressed by a predatory and generally incompetent domestic social elite that has convinced many Panamanians that its own genealogy and its highly fictionalized history are the only subjects worth knowing, to the exclusion of the skills and wisdom that society’s individual members need to amount to a self-reliant, prosperous and well-ordered nation. These political and economic elites have put us at the mercy of a multinational corporate oligarchy that stifles our development, cheats us on a daily basis and has too many of us believing that it is too big to fail and thus that there is no viable alternative to putting up with its abuses.

Are we to explode in a hot fury that leaves us with a new generation of martyrs — to add to those already blinded in Changuinola, shot down at the edges of the comarca, burned alive in Tocumen, killed by anti-union company goons and otherwise fallen at the hands of Panama’s now-reigning oppressors? Are we to relentlessly drive those now in control from power and strip them of prestige in an irresistible cold fury that forever changes who and what Panamanians are? Only when we, like the martyrs of 1964, stop letting our minds be used as weapons against us.

 

Bear in mind…

 

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
Oscar Wilde

 

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
Phyllis Diller

 

Anti-Semitism is the socialism of the stupid man.
August Bebel

 

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¿Wappin? Free form as the Jazz Festival draws near

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Randy Weston
Randy Weston. Photo by William Droops.

¿Wappin? Before the Jazz Festival free form

Bonnie Raitt – Storm Warning
https://youtu.be/qAGXPKNPK_M

Zoé – Sombras
https://youtu.be/K3BOW3Y0hyQ

Lee Oskar – Before the Rain
https://youtu.be/9g6gfIbzQAs

The Doors – Riders on the Storm
https://youtu.be/k9o78-f2mIM

Alejandro Sanz & The Corrs – Un Noche
https://youtu.be/u2gcjLaBLvA

Danny Rivera – Madrigal
https://youtu.be/Dl3REvj2xf4

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
https://youtu.be/_qt435yF2Qg

Randy Weston & Billy Harper – Blues To Senegal
https://youtu.be/DDkjkqPOb_4

Youssou Ndour – Yaakar
https://youtu.be/HzsQfjnOfro

Joss Stone – The Answer
https://youtu.be/Te50aSDIByM

Prince Royce – Handcuffs
https://youtu.be/944GwSiPVH4

Hello Seahorse! – Me He Convertido
https://youtu.be/GWQd-xzfXL4

Carlos Garnett – Mystery of Ages
https://youtu.be/v2hbLGEryRA

Janis Joplin – Summertime
https://youtu.be/guKoNCQFAFk

Airto & Flora Purim – Live In São Paulo 1988
https://youtu.be/wY7gRdx7Ctg

 

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The Panama News blog links, January 7, 2016

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The Panama News blog links, January 7, 2016

AFP, Panama canal expansion to be complete ‘around May’

Ship & Bunker, ACP and GUPC trade shots over delays

ANP, Panamá cierra con modesto crecimiento en carga marítima

The Maritime Executive, Reassessing prospects for the proposed Nicaragua Canal

CNN, Copa among the most punctual airlines

Illinois State University News, Illinois State welcomes Panamá Bilingüe

ANP, Gobierno impulsa mejoramiento genético de ganado

Fruitnet, Chiquita introduces new banana brand

Fresh Plaza, Chiriqui incorporates drones in agriculture

Total Telecom: C&W, Huawei trial G.fast in Panama

LatinOne, Dubai targets Panama and Mexico for investment

CONCACAF, Panama prepares for Cuba in Costa Rica

SoundersFC.com, Torres not rushing his recovery

Cayman Compass, Third indicted CONCACAF chief faces US extradition

Reuters, US judge ties Martinelli to SAP bribe case

InSight Crime, Panama court case highlights challenges of political immunity

El Tiempo, María del Pilar Hurtado quiere que Panamá la indemnice

Newsroom Panama, Homicides down 28% in 2015

La Estrella, La familia Pujol invirtió en Panamá $92 millones

TeleSur, Panama moves to prevent spread of swine flu after migrant dies

EFE, Panamá suma 24 casos de virus zika en mes y medio

Prensa Latina, Death toll rises to 17 due to AH1N1 in Costa Rica

TakePart, Farming frogs can save them from extinction

Science Advances, Entering the sixth mass extinction

Archaeology, Were Panamanian islanders dolphin hunters?

Reporters Without Borders, 110 journalists slain in 2015

Bird, 18 former Guatemalan military officers arrested for crimes against humanity

AP, Egipto arresta a tres administradores de Facebook

The New York Times, Turkey says Erdogan’s Hitler comment ‘distorted’

Amnesty International, Shia cleric among 47 executed by Saudi Arabia in one day

The New York Times, United States curbs psychologists at Guantanamo

The Gleaner, Obama gun controls could help Jamaica

WOLA, Obama limits gun running loopholes

Stiglitz, The Great Malaise continues

Ornstein, The eight causes of Trumpism

Paxton, Is fascism back?

Rosenberg, Is Hillary Clinton a neoconservative hawk?

Moore, Dear Governor Snyder: you have to go to jail

López Alba, El PSOE corre al galope hacia la irrelevancia

Ben-Ami, Exit Latin America’s left

Sader, ¿Cuáles son los límites de la derecha en América Latina?

Arkonada, From the burial of FTAA to the birth of Chinese soft power

Breznitz, TPP is a wonderful idea — for China

Gustafson, Bleak prospects for Latin America under TPP

Prieto & Gammage, Aiding Central America’s “women on the run”

Gandásegui, La corrupción siguió asomando la cabeza en 2015

 

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CD legislators defy Martinelli

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Ricky complains
Here Martinelli, who made a public pronouncement designating Alma Cortés as the Cambio Democratico party’s acting president, who in turn issued a public ultimatum demanding that all CD deputies swear an oath of personal loyalty to the former president, complains about a Panameñista legislator making a public statement after the CD legislative caucus refused to recognize Cortés as party president or sign the demanded oath.

CD anti-Martinelli revolt

by Eric Jackson

On January 5 the Cambio Democratico (CD) legislative caucus met, with the party’s secretary general Rómulo Roux present. When former President Ricardo Martinelli fled the country nearly a year ago, he designated Roux as acting president of the party, which Martinelli founded and always led. In December the fugitive Martinelli designated sub-secretary Alma Cortés as acting president instead, and she in turn issued an ultimatum that by December 31 all CD deputies must sign an oath to follow the party line as ordered by Martinelli. Otherwise, Martinelli and Cortés threatened, they would be removed from their seats in the National Assembly. At the January 5 meeting the CD legislative rejected both that oath and Cortés’s legitimacy as acting party president.

To remove a legislator for failing to observe party discipline is a party boss’s prerogative as provided in Panama’s constitution, but courts have thrown obstacles in the way of that procedure and it has rarely been actually done. For starters, to remove a legislator one has to get the Electoral Tribunal to accept the validity of the charge and the procedure, but the tribunal has yet to recognize Cortés as acting party president. That Martinelli has a warrant out for his arrest does not help his efforts to purge most of his party’s legislative caucus. The Electoral Tribunal might, for example, say that if Martinelli wants to designate Cortés as acting party president, he must do so in person at the tribunal’s headquarters in Curundu.

Roux did not take a position Cortés’s legitimacy and said that he only went to the caucus meeting because he was asked to do so. He did, however, oppose a purge of the party’s legislators. “This isn’t the moment to be asking then to leave the party,” he said.

Meanwhile, Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) deputy Rafael Espada, the body’s former vice president, told TVN news that the regional legislature is awaiting a copy of the Panamanian Supreme Court’s order for Martinelli’s arrest and might on that ground expel Martinelli from its ranks. Generally PARLACEN has needed a final conviction to oust a member in the past, but a number of drug busts of PARLACEN deputies in which those arrested asserted parliamentary immunity has changed the ways that the body operates. Under Panamanian law PARLACEN membership may create immunity from criminal investigation or arrest, but as far as PARLACEN is concerned it no longer does. The Martinelli case could test how far the recent trend will go.

Also pending before Panama’s high court is a motion that was made but not ruled upon in the proceedings to get the arrest warrant against Martinelli on illegal eavesdropping charges. In those court sessions Ángel Alvarez, the attorney for several of Martinelli’s victims, moved for the court to order Martinelli’s passport revoked. Perhaps the matter was not addressed because the Passport Authority was neither a party to nor represented at the hearings. However, the court could call in the authority to make any representations it wishes and take up the passport issue again. A revoked passport would make it hard for Ricardo Martinelli to flee from the United States to a third country.

 

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Swine flu cases aggravate Cuban migrant crisis

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The President has been shot!!!
The US government takes influenza seriously. A White House nurse gives President Obama a flu shot at the White House in 2009. White House photo by Pete Souza.

Swine flu among Cuban migrants in Panama: one dead, two ill, governments concerned

by Eric Jackson

Panama’s Cuban migrant crisis just becaame a bit more complicated. A 53-year-old Cuban died of severe respiratory symptoms at the Rafael Estevez Hospital in David, and diagnosis is the AH1N1 strain of swine flu. Two other ailing Cuban migrants have been diagnosed with AH1N1 infections.

Across the border, Costa Rica reports at least nine deaths from this virus. Tico health authorities are scrambling to import vaccine and begin a mass vaccination program, for which it seems they had little in the way of contingency plans.

The mass Cuban migration that began in mid-December by way of South America and then to Panama, Costa Rica and onwards toward the United States, has left about 1,000 Cubans stranded in Panama and nearly 8,000 in Costa Rica. A proposed plan to ship those in Costa Rica directly to the United States has stalled.

The influenza strain, also described as type A of H1N1 human influenza, has been out and about in the world for a number of years. There was a major worldwide outbreak in 2009, which caused more than 18,000 deaths. As best as can be determined, that outbreak began either in the United States or Mexico, with the first confirmed diagnosis in California and the first deaths in Mexico. The strain is believed similar to the so-called Spanish flu of World War I, which probably actually originated in the United States and caused the Pandemic of 1918 that killed 20 to 40 million people and did much to end the war — troops were getting sick in the trenches of both sides, but in Germany the flu shut down war materiel production — and was probably the infection that led to US President Woodrow Wilson’s stroke.

The big problem with flu strains is that they are all highly contagious and can mutate from mild to deadly, or vice versa, in the course of an epidemic. Another problem is that vaccines for one strain may not be effective for another.

Panamanian epidemiologists are reportedly concerned. The Ministry of Health has yet to issue a health alert about the flu outbreak, which is likely a sign that the government is not prepared to advise at least the most vulnerable residents to go to its clinics for flu shots. For now the standard recommendations are being issued — maintain sanitary standards, wash your hands, stay at home if you have flu symptoms and so on. But El Niño has given us an aggravated problem in many parts of Panama, where the water is off and ordinary cleaning is made more difficult. It might be a good idea for tourists headed this way to get flu shots before they come.

Regardless of the actual magnitude of the health risks, the death of one Cuban migrant in Panama is likely to have political repercussions in the United States during an election year characterized by venomous tirades against Latin American immigrants. Don’t look for the Obama administration to take in any unvaccinated Cuban migrants from Panama.

swine flu

 

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