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Harrington, Tercera Guerra Mundial –por etapas

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WWITercera Guerra Mundial –por etapas

por Kevin Harrington-Shelton
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lt. Col. John McCrae (1872-1918)

 

Cada año, a las 11 de la mañana del día once del onceavo mes, el mundo anglosajón conmemora el Armisticio que puso fin a la Primera Guerra Mundial que —pese a esfuerzos del papa Benedicto XV— acabó causando la muerte a más de 16 millones de seres humanos. Precisamente a dicha hora todos los combatientes cesaron hostilidades. Se observa de diversas maneras. Desde 1919 en el Reino Unido en “El Día de la Amapola” los medios muestran al monarca colocando una ofrenda floral en mero centro gubernamental de Londres, sobre una tumba-vacía, en recuerdo de caídos colocados en fosas comunes en toda la campiña europea. Similar agradecimiento a una juventud ofrendada a la Patria se conmemora en el resto de la Mancomunidad Británica. Y también en los Estados Unidos por diversas organizaciones de veteranos, pero quizás el más singular –y menos conocido– tiene lugar en Phoenix, donde los rayos de sol pasan por orificios en 5 pilares en representación de sus cuerpos de armas, para iluminar precisamente en dicho momento el escudo nacional.

La conmemoración es sinónimo de patriotismo entre pueblos flemáticos en mayor o menor grado (salvo sus hooligans). Varias semanas antes de la fecha florecen casi universalmente en sus solapas amapolas-rojas, emblemáticos del poema sobre lo que el médico-militar canadiense McCrae observó: que re-aparecían abonados por sepulturas en praderas de Flandes (Bélgica). Fenómeno que primero se notó tras las campañas napoleónicas del siglo anterior.

Por su ubicación geográfica, Bélgica ha sufrido el tránsito de diversas guerras europeas. Simbólicamente, Bélgica alberga hoy la sede de la Unión Europea. No fue excepción esta Gran Guerra (“La guerra para acabar con las guerras” –H.G. Wells), que en perspectiva el marco para la descomposición europea que hasta devenir en nuestros días en lo que el Papa Francisco describió en La Habana (2015), como “la tercera guerra mundial por etapas“. La actual situación europea impacta el progresivo desmoronamiento del Sacro Imperio Romano, bajo el que el continente compartía una concepción similar sobre cultura, religión y gobierno. Complicado por un materialismo acelerado por una revolución industrial, de tan corta data, que no se ha acabado de absorber con madurez. Y con medios co-optados por políticos y comerciantes, demasiado alejados del bien-común que requiere de una ciudadanía los suficientemente informada para poder razonar sobre sus problemas cuerdamente. La propaganda tuvo un papel preponderante en esa carnicería.

Esa fue una de las lecciones de la Primera Guerra Mundial. En su trascendental obra “Los cañones de agosto”, la historiadora Barbara Tuchman mencionó la mendacidad de estadistas y diplomáticos como otra causa (esto cuando Viet Nam, cuando esa enfermedad era epidémica). El magnicidio en Sarajevo y la invasión alemana de Bélgica sin duda engatillaron la Gran Guerra —pero el conflicto tuvo además otros antecedentes que los pone todos en perspectiva.

La neutralidad de Bélgica había sido garantizada por el imperio inglés. Desde la Guerra de los 100 Años (1453) Inglaterra se convenció del balance de poderes en el Continente como la clave para su propia seguridad insular. Para 1871, el exitoso sitio por hambre a París había convencido al Reino Unido que el agresivo Kaiserreich alemán tenía una fuerte probabilidad de dominar Europa. Estableció alianza con su tradicional contrincante, tocándole a Francia concentrar su flota en el Mediterráneo, a cambio que Londres protegiera su flanco nor-occidental en el Mar del Norte. En esta estrategia Inglaterra también garantizaría la neutralidad de Bélgica. En 1914, buscando una guerra-relámpago contra Francia, el alto-comando alemán se corrió el albur que el Reino Unido no cumpliría su palabra. Los británicos razonaron –correctamente– que la confiabilidad de sus convenios constituía la piedra angular de cualquier orden futuro, y contra-atacaron.

El Reino Unido tenía además otras consideraciones. Su próspero imperio –el más rico de entonces– ya mostraba señales de resquebrajamiento interno. En casa, la crisis y tentativa de diluir la Cámara de los Lóres mediante la creación de nuevos pares (1909), reformas sociales radicales para su época (1909) y particularmente el sangriento sofocamiento en Tonypandy (Gales) por el propio ejército inglés (1910) refleja una enorme disparidad en la distribución de las riquezas e indician serios problemas de raíz que fueron simplemente pospuestos por la distracción de la Gran Guerra. Además tenía talones de Aquiles en la India e Irlanda. Para su guerra contra el reino Zulu en Natal (1906) ya Gandhi había comenzado a dar muestras de su liderazgo del nacionalismo indio expresado en resistencia pacífica resultaróa triunfante (1947). En Irlanda progresivas concesiones en derechos de conciencia (desde 1823) y de autonomía política aprobada en 1893 por la Cámara de los Comunes (pero vetadas por la Cámara de los Lóres), culminando en aproximaciones a los alemanes por sir Roger Casement (“El sueño del celta“) en 1912.

Casement resucitó en los militares británicos el fantasma de un ataque alemán por la retaguardia. Sus planes defensivos suponían siempre que su dominio del mar prevendrían cualquier peligro desde el oeste, y se porfiaban del “Plan von Shlieffenstein” que proyectaba una futura guerra en dos frentes –Francia y Rusia– diseñado de antemano (1905) para materializar la pronosticado por el conde von Moltke “El Joven” (Febrero 1913), de que el futuro de Austria se decidiría en riberas del Sena, y no del río Bug (entre Polonia y Rusia). Estos señores de la guerra percibían por demás que se les cerraba rápidamente la ventana de oportunidad abierta por la pérdida de Rusia en su guerra con el Japón (1905) –por los adelantos tecnológicos logrados por el ejercito tsarista. Cultivaron al imperio turco-otomano (“El hombre enfermo de Europa”) por enamorar al mundo musulmán, por su entorno en el Mediterráneo. Tal actitud hegemónica tras el círculo de fierro que rodeaba al Kaiser era literalmente fascista (sin alusión alguna al Nazismo posterior), fusilando a 6 mil civiles durante su ocupación de Bélgica. Pero pese a todo esto, Alemania de entonces (también) era un país pujante, con prósperas clases medias y profesionales y el movimiento socialista más arraigado del mundo. Pero su mecanismo de decisión militar operaba bajo un control constitucional disfuncional. Y en garras de un complejo militar-industrial al servicio de un monarca ligeramente inestable: al kaiser Wilhelm II le irritaba que sus primos el rey Jorge V y el tsar Nicolás le adversaran –aún después que él les hubiera declarado la guerra a ellos.

Al aprovechar las candilejas de los medios internacionales en su arribo a La Habana, el Papa Francisco sin duda nota algunas de similares tendencias en tantas manifestaciones de violencia injustificada alrededor del mundo en el día de hoy. Su Santidad sin duda seguirá la tónica de Benedicto XV, a quien la derrotada Turquía erigió una estatua (poco usual, en un país musulmán), con una placa al pie que le alababa “como un benefactor de toda la gente, sin importar su nación o credo“.

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Bill Clinton coming to cut a ribbon on a windmill park

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wind
From a distance in the next district over, the windmill farm outside Penonome. Photo by Eric Jackson.

Bill Clinton’s coming to inaugurate a windmill park — but with whom and what do we deal?

by Eric Jackson

Former US President Bill Clinton will be in Panama on November 10 to dedicate the next phase of a windmill park in Penonome district, east of the town of Penonome. The company involved is Union Eolica Panameña SA (UEP), which was widely reported to be a subsidiary of Spain’s Union Eolica Española back when it began to get energy generation concessions from Panama during the Martinelli administration, and is still described as such in recent reports. The several-phase windmill farm project contemplates an eventual 113 windmills that will generate about 10 percent of Panama’s electricity, depending on the season, with a greater share during dry months when the nation’s hydroelectric dams are less productive.

So, who is the parent company in Spain? Actually, Union Eolica Española was dissolved in 2012. Look a bit deeper and you find it reported that a majority share — with hard to identify minority stakeholders, is now owned by InterEnergy Holdings LP, a private equity fund based in the corporate secrecy shrouds of the Cayman Islands. But we do more or less know who InterEnergy Holdings is: Rolando González Bunster, the former VP in charge of international operations for Gulf & Western Industries. The Argentine-born businessman splits his time between homes in Greenwich, Connecticut and the Dominican Republic and controls vast assets in the DR, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Argentina and Panama. He is a member of the board of directors of the Clinton Foundation.

In the 1980s González Bunster was a central player in the privatization of the Dominican energy sector, and earlier this year was accused by the Dominican Alliance Against Corruption (ADOCCO) of defrauding the government of taxes and fees to the tune of some $90 million by grossly inflating management costs — and thus understating profits — of the EGE HAINA and EGE ITABO companies that were spun off of the old public electric company. The allegation had been made in public for at least two years before that. The two private entities would according to the privatization deal owe the government’s Heritage Fund for Reformed Enterprises (FONPER) a share of profits and in any case be liable to the state treasury for income taxes on profits. Prosecutors have not seen fit to file any charges and InterEnergy dismissed the allegations against its CEO and several directors of its Dominican subsidiaries as “baseless.”

The business exec’s daughter Carolina González Bunster, who graduated from Georgetown in 2008, then went to work for Goldman Sachs in Dubai before returning to the United States to take a job with the Clinton Foundation, calls Bill Clinton a mentor. The former president attended her 2014 wedding to equity fund manager Stefano Bonfiglio at the González Bunster home in the Dominican Republic.

By various accounts the Chinese company that made the windmills that are installed in Penonome, Goldwind International Holdings (HK) Limited, holds a minority stake in the project. Of the reported $564 million that has been or will be invested in the Penonome windmill park, at least $300 million comes from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a division of the World Bank. The Inter-American Development Bank, Panama’s state-owned Caja de Ahorros and Banco Nacional de Panama and several private lenders are also involved in the financing, in a deal brokered among Bill Clinton, Rolando González Bunster and Ricardo Martinelli in 2013 under the auspices of the Energy Committee of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Which of the lenders is supposed to manage the disbursement of investment funds? The institution that was designated to perform that role in 2013, the New York branch of Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento SA, is no more. Banco Espirito Santo fell in a spectacular collapse that involved a European Union and Portuguese government bailout and sale to a new entity, and which has the bank’s former CEO Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Salgado under house arrest awaiting trial on charges of keeping false business records, forgery of documents, breach of fiduciary duty, tax fraud, corruption of public officials and money laundering. The New York investment banking part of the business was sold off to a Chinese company, Haitong Securities. The Chinese brokerage is moving into the banking business and has a securities market presence in Panama, but it appears that its role in the Penonome windmill farm is as an arranger and bookrunner rather than a manager and that it is performing these tasks via its Brazilian subsidiary.

Is there carbon credit income involved in the project? It would be surprising if there were not, but none of the parties are mentioning this in their online statements.

Is this the progressive and green face of globalized capitalism, in keeping with the environmental assurances given by Washington at the time that the US Congress was persuaded by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others to ratify the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement? Perhaps, but maybe not. This past May UEP went to Panama’s Supreme Court of Justice seeking exemption from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment. Those were the terms of its deal with the Martinelli administration, the company asserted. A decision on that claim has yet to be announced.

Martinelli won’t be in Penonome for the ribbon cutting. By most accounts other than his own, he ran a grossly corrupt government between 2009 and 2014 and is facing multiple criminal charges before Panama’s Supreme Court, including for theft on a grand scale, illegal wiretapping, international insider stock trading, money laundering and other offenses. He lives in self-imposed exile in Miami.

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¿Wappin? A Saturday night between holidays

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Joe
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Photo by Jackman Chiu.

¿Wappin? A Saturday night between holidays

Marvelettes – Dont Mess With Bill
https://youtu.be/OVsW_6AomOQ

Maná – Ironía
https://youtu.be/AYNdyHkycsY

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – Livin’ In The Jungle
https://youtu.be/xD8tu77WxXA

The Lowrider Band – The World Is A Ghetto
https://youtu.be/rsxFvlbu5Xg

Motherland – Natalie Merchant
https://youtu.be/A2JbLUVt0Z0

Santana – Samba Pa Ti
https://youtu.be/ACdwCIld3kE

Café Tacvba – Esta Vez
https://youtu.be/3a8q_SL9RRE

Lenny Kravitz – The Chamber
https://youtu.be/jAHlQ77lm10

Sia – Alive
https://youtu.be/t2NgsJrrAyM

Adele – Hello
https://youtu.be/YQHsXMglC9A

Patti Smith – People Have The Power
https://youtu.be/pPR-HyGj2d0

Zoé – Últimos Días
https://youtu.be/AJkJ6jBStuU

Zahara – Country Girl
https://youtu.be/YUTi1NTTcSE

Neil Young – Harvest Moon
https://youtu.be/n2MtEsrcTTs

Gondwana – Festival de Viña 2001
https://youtu.be/gA5-q6m2MXg

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Scenes from the Democratic Candidates’ Forum in South Carolina

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Dems
Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders in South Carolina.

The Democrats in South Carolina

There are three candidates left in the race and we can get into arguments aboout whether “really” there are only two or there is only one, but the first votes won’t be cast for months and then other dynamics will set in. In South Carolina a little more than half of the Democrats are African-American and one poll taken a week before the forum showed Hillary Clinton with about a four to one advantage over Bernie Sanders in that sector. If Sanders can break off at least a quarter of Clinton’s black support and have those voters cross over to him, or if he can be the beneficiary of an extraordinary turnout by younger black voters, he will have a chance to win the South Carolina primary. If Clinton can maintain her lead, she will be hard to beat.

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The Panama News blog links, November 6, 2015

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The Panama News blog links, November 6, 2015

Splash 24/7, Delays of up to 10 days at the Panama Canal

Fortune, The new Panama Canal is leaking water — and money

El Espectador, Ampliación del Canal de Panamá podría retrasarse aún más

SeaTrade Maritime News, First LNG-powered vessel transits the Panama Canal

Al Jazeera, Nicaragua commission gives go-ahead for canal project

IPS, Nicaragua’s canal a nightmare for environmentalists

Nunatsiaq News, Finnish icebreakers arrive after late-season NW Passage transit

CBC, Chinese company plans Arctic shipping route through Russia

Mi Diario, Oro para Panamá en Juegos Mundiales Indígenas

CubaDebate, Urquiola dirigirá equipo de béisbol de Chiriquí

AP: Fired by Panama condo owners, Trump demands $75 million

ANP, Plantean cable de luz submarino entre Panamá y Colombia

Des Moines Register, Iowa coffee shop has a farm in Panama

Video, Empresas interesadas en la exploración de petróleo en el caribe panameño

Jamaica Gleaner, Investors win billion-dollar judgment against Panamanian company

OK Diario, Los Pujol escondían en Panamá más de €2.400 millones

LaInformacion, Pujol Jr. cerró su sociedad después de la confesión de su padre

Finanzas, El clan Pujol ha dispersado en 10 paraísos fiscales su fortuna

EFE, Panamá extradita a España a rusos acusados de lavando dinero para Obiang

El País, The long hunt for the Kokorevs

EFE: Blanqueo de capitales por redes sociales, nueva alerta para el Istmo

KTVA, Alaska surgeon who hid money here convicted of tax evasion and fraud

AFP, Panamá condiciona intercambio de información fiscal con OCDE

EFE, Panama money launderers said to link Chapo and FARC busted

Gambling Insider, US racketeering conviction for gambling via Panama

Senator Bernie Sanders, The complete text of the proposed TPP agreement

AFP/CNN, Martinelli compara a Varela con Maduro y dice que volverá a Panamá

Greenwald: Pro-Clinton group censored on Israel, into warped militarism

Nation of Change, Koch brothers’ foundation network explained

The Guardian, College apologizes to leftist professor fired in 1962

STRI, Bat man IDs bats by smell alone

Video, Howler monkeys chase off a lone male visitor

Mongabay, Galapagos “gold rush” for shark fins and sea cucumbers

Jones, Chile’s new marine reserve

Caribbean News Now!, Caribbean called on to adopt climate resilient food systems

Gandásegui, Protesta social o terrorismo

Beluche, ¿Presos políticos en Panamá?

Casullo, Argentina’s Cambiemos

Wallerstein, The important Canadian elections

Karszenbaum, Bibi y la nueva historia de la Shoá

Weisman, Rethinking the neo-con threat

Vatican Radio, Pope: Church is called to serve, not to be served

Boff, La religión puede hacer el bien mejor y también el mal peor

Huffington Post, Court ruling could pave way for marijuana legalization in Mexico

WOLA, Increased incarceration for drug offenses in the Americas

Video, Colombian court approves gay and lesbian adoptions

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Flag Day in Panama, 2015

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San Carlos. Photo © Michael Nixon.

Flag Day in Panama

BA PC
Balboa Academy marching in Panama City. Photo by Billy Foster.

 

The principal. Photo by Billy Foster.
The principal. Photo by Billy Foster.

 

Boquete. Photo by the Alcaldia.
Boquete. Photo by the Alcaldia.

 

Boquete. Photo by the Junta Comunal of Alto Boquete.
Boquete. Photo by the Junta Comunal of Alto Boquete.

 

Panama City. Photo by Allan Hawkins V.
Panama City. Photo by Allan Hawkins V.

 

PC AH1
Panama City. Photo by Allan HAwkins V.

 

PC AH 3
Panama City. Photo by Allan Hawknis V.

 

PC AH 4
Panama City. Photo by Allan Hawkins V.

 

SC 2
San Carlos. Photo © by Michael Nixon.

 

At the Presidencia.

 

In La Cabima.

 

In San Miguelito.

 

In Condado del Rey.

 

The Bomberos in Panama City.
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Jackson, So what about this flag?

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bandera
The flag, on a day when many in the city have taken off for the beach. Photo by Chris Taylor

So what about this flag?

by Eric Jackson

If there is anything to the legend that on Mount Sinai God inscribed on a tablet instructions that his people should not worship idols or take graven images as substitutes, we can still argue about what that meant and why, and even argue about whether it is permissible to pose such questions. I take it as an assertion that there is but one god — call that supernatural person Eloim as the ancient Hebrews once did or Allah as the Arabic name recognized by Muslims, or Jah or Yaweh or Jehovah or so on — but the important thing is not to let some human being who deals in symbols substitute his or her imagery and beliefs for a divinely ordered nature of things. Believe it or don’t believe it, but it seems to this writer that the swap of shallow and manipulable symbolism for more profound truths was the gist of what was forbidden.

Isn’t it also like that with a nation’s symbols?

I’m a Panagringo, a US-Panamanian dual citizen. I know how so many Americans (in the narrow sense of the word) get about the US national symbols. For so many it’s about how not supporting corporate economic interests or foreign wars or torture or assassination is taken to be something like spitting on the flag. For folks like that freedom and democracy, rather than being real values that sometimes oppose one another, become a unitary and vacuous partisan slogan. You hardly ever convince people like that in an election campaign. Generally the best you can do is to defeat them.

But what about the Panamanian tricolor, the same colors as Old Glory, but the symbol of an entirely different nation with a different culture, history and set of commonly held values? Did people die for the Panamanian flag on the Day of the Martyrs? Did Panama become truly sovereign, an adult member of the family of nations, when they took down the American flag at the Panama Canal Administration Building for the last time, leaving Panama’s flag as the only one flying?

People died during the events of January 1964 for various reasons, some just because they were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But notwithstanding a scuffle in front of a high school flagpole in which a flag was torn, it really wasn’t about that. It was about Panama being divided in two by a foreign enclave that included a lot of people who didn’t like Panamanians and who would sometimes go out of their way to be abusive. It was about a set of rules often enforced by people who harbored no ill will whatsoever, but rules that said that Panamanians were not particularly welcome on part of the isthmus. The flags were just symbols. The national grievances and popular aspirations were the real issues.

Does the Panamanian flag flying alone at the Admin Building put a lump in the throat of every patriotic Panamanian? Don’t let that lump grow so large that it impairs your vision. The Panama Canal Authority plays all sorts of corny information control games, but neither those nor any sense of pride ought to obscure the reality that the canal — the nation’s principal public asset — is not well managed.

Should Panamanians be terribly upset that the Ministry of Education published a graphic that had the Panamanian flag flying backwards? Probably no more upset than Zonians were about the Canal Zone stamp boasting of the new bridge over the canal, but with the bridge missing from the picture. Stuff happens, but if our public schools can’t get flag etiquette right, that’s the least of their troubles. We have a terrible school system, one of the worst in the world, and only some major wise investments and determined policy decisions will change that.

Pay your respects to the flag when in Panama on this day, if you are a Panamanian as shorthand — but not a substitute for — respect for the country and people for which it stands. If you are a foreigner, show deference to the people among whom you live, including their symbols. Let’s keep it all real. Flag Day is about Panama and Panamanians, not an abstract three-color design on a piece of cloth.

Independence Day in Panama, 2015

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video of the national anthem in Juan Diaz by Allan Hawkins V.

Independence Day in Panama

Raising the flag in Colon. Photo by the Alcaldia de Colon.
Raising the flag in Colon. Photo by the Alcaldia.
Dianas at the Presdencia. Photo by the Presidencia.
Dianas at the Presdencia. Photo by the Presidencia.
santeños
Marching in Los Santos. Photo by the Bomberos.
Boquete
City workers parade through Boquete. Photo by the Alcaldia.
by the statue
Gathering in the Casco Viejo. Photo by Chris Taylor.
The parade begins in the Casco Viejo. Photo by the Bomberos.
The parade begins in the Casco Viejo. Photo by the Bomberos.
Polleras sí, Instagram no. Photo by Chris Taylor.
Polleras sí, Instagram no. Photo by Chris Taylor.
note the bushy red tails
Assuming the position. Photo by the Presidencia.
Anglican kids
Colegio Episcopal kids. Photo by Chris Taylor.
El Hogar band
Banda El Hogar, one of Panama’s independent bands, a tradition that the previous administration tried mightily to suppress. Photo by the Presidencia.
the masses
The crowd along the Cinta Costera. Photo by Chris Taylor.
mi gente
Drummer in Juan Diaz. Photo by Allan Hawkns V.
Genaro y Saúl
Labor leaders Genaro López and Saúl Méndez. Photo by FRENADESO.
the heat
Cops in Juan Diaz. Photo by Allan Hawkins V.
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Harrington, The three monkeys

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JCV and cops in Chiriqui
President Varela meets Security Minister Aguilera and police commanders in Chiriqui. Photo by the Ministerio de Seguridad.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil!

by Kevin Harrington-Shelton
There is no reason to think there will be less corruption in this government, than in any previous government.
Barbara Stephenson (via WikiLeaks)

President Juan Carlos Varela spent the better part of this week grandstanding against crime in Chiriqui. Violence there is nothing new, but this episode does show up how the president shirks from taking any stance on a problem as a matter of course — thus making matters worse.

In the event, the heart of this particular problem has been previously documented. The 31 March 2011 issue of El Panama America carried an interview with a former National Police Director, focusing on a major cause of disorder in Chiriqui. Questioned as to a then revealed cable, don Gustavo Pérez de la Ossa states “there are no evidence” substantiating what an August17, 2009 US embassy cable stated had been garnered “from official Panamanian sources.” With her brush then-ambassador Barbara Stephenson painted a word picture of having “credible information that a network of corrupt National Police line officers, as well as politicians, who smuggle drugs and weapons crossborder with Costa Rica, in vehicles with government plates” (as El Panama America summed it up, with a duty of care regarding a presumption of innocence omitted in the official in-house embassy cable, which identifies one lieutenant colonel by name.) Yet shortly thereafter, said officer received a scholarship for continuing military education in the USA plus a desk job on his promotion to Panama City headquarters upon his return. This volte-face suggests Uncle Sam has sundry “Tailors of Panama” within local military ranks — village gossips who regularly deliver stories about competing peers which are rather economical with the truth. Or worse.

Little would appear to have changed since in the frontier no-man’s land — even with Washington´s darling SENAFRONT border police — where police code “Sierra 97” for absolute radio silence and “Eyes left!” is the norm for staff on routine border patrols: “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” Even if Robert Lady is not about.

And dereliction of duty is not limited to border police. As commander in chief, Mr. Varela should be better advised: it reflects poorly on his credibility to keep kicking the can. In order to lead effectively, he needs face up to his duty to impose discipline among his civil and military subordinates — and not simply hope that problems go away by themselves. He is perceived as increasing police pay and perks just as levels of violence surge throughout Panama. Lest, in the tattler role he cultivated as vice president — wherein he rendered to US Embassy alarming reports on the canal expansion which he still refuses to share with his people — a less tactful diplomat might now remind him of Caesar’s divorce plea: “My wife ought not even to be under suspicion.”

Those of us who eat three square meals a day bear an obligation to those who do not, as well as to discharge it by bearing witness to the rule of law as it should be carried out — with probity.

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Cantus benefit for Spay Panama, December 13

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will the do The Birdor will the do The Dog

 

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