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World music at the jazz festival (1): The Black Tea Project

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beat
‘I dunno what it is, Dick, but I give it 100. I like the beat.’

The Black Tea Project’s seminar at the Panama Jazz Festival

by Eric Jackson

Is it crude, boorish and downright incorrect to call ANYTHING coming out of Panama “world music?” What IS that stuff, anyway? Is it music that’s not based on the Western eight-note scale or its accompanying notions about tempo? Is it stuff played on traditional instruments not of European origin? Is it the folk music of folks whose lives are considered unworthy of notice in the hallowed halls of the major US television corporations? Does the guy playing on a synthesizer for Palestinian dabke qualify? What about Cusco, those Germans who played a fusion largely informed by Andean music on electronic instruments? Or is that latter stuff “cross-cultural fusion” when acoustic or “new age” when electronic?

Having noted the semantic issues, for this reporter’s present purpose let’s take “world music” to be those sounds of or informed by cultures alien to those considered relevant by those who compile the playlists of any commercial radio station that you are likely to hear. Like, for example the rhythms that the Black Tea Project’s percussionist Osvaldo Jorge learned while studying in India. Like the sounds that the band’s co-founder Graciela “Chelín” Núñez hears, likes and plays when she’s out of the classical violinist mode at which she has excelled.

Like another noteworthy and eclectic Panamanian band of shifting composition, Rómulo Castro’s Grupo Tuira, the lineup at the Black Tea Project has constants but it’s hardly ever the same from one gig to the next. It’s Graciela and Osvaldo, and whoever else at the moment. For the Black Tea Project’s workshop at the Panama Jazz Festival, it was the usual two plus vocalist Valentina Sousa and guitarist Adrián Alvarado. Sousa is a native of Chitre who moved to Italy as an adolescent and later went to Spain. Alvarado was born in Brazil but has spent years of his life in Germany and Spain.

Jorge plays the tablas and the hang, which would tend to be defined as world music instruments in this hemisphere, as well as other percussion instruments more familiar to Panamanian audiences. On the whiteboard he charted out beats unlike anything that which a Panamanian kid preparing to march in one of the November parades would be taught in school.

Is “música típica” played on an accordion? That is the emblematic instrument of Panamanian cumbia these days, but once the violin was more common in that genre, and violinist Núñez has long been at the interface of classical music and this country’s folk traditions. But with the Black Tea Project she goes farther afield.

How far, at this session Valentina Sousa mentioned a couple of influences, the Kurdish family band The Kamkars and the Moroccan tribal Gnawa music that has over the years diffused into other places and cultures. Speaking mainly with his guitar, Alvarado pointed out Spain’s flamenco tradition in passing. In Spain, political and cultural conservatives tend to be in denial about flamenco’s roots, arguing that the oldest written records available to them go back a little more than 200 years and say that it was from Andalusia and old back then. But of course, 200 years ago Spain was just coming out of the centuries of censorship by the Spanish Inquisition, in which any positive mention of the non-Western Moorish and Roma cultures tended to be suppressed. The better flamenco scholars acknowledge the important Roma (Gypsy) role in that genre’s origins. The Roma people and culture, of course, originated in India.

Before getting into any of that, however, there was a surprise addition to the lesson plan. An electronic part was missing, so this performance, in a room with white noise from an air conditioner, would have to be acoustic despite plans for its electronic amplification. Thus the positions where the musicians played and the directions in which they faced had to be shifted around, and with this a mini-lecture about the differences between acoustic and amplified performances, and an implicit lesson in going on with the show in the face of surprises.

It was, as usual, the good stuff.

 

Chelín
What to do when suddenly acoustic, not as was planned?

 

Black Tea Project
Back to the lesson plan.

 

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Comparative media cultures

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CCI, Carta abierta a Rubén De León

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her
Ya ella dice…

Carta abierta a Rubén De León

por Ciudadanos Contra la Impunidad (CCI)

Panamá, 23 de enero de 2017
Ciudadano
H.D. RUBÉN DE LEÓN
Presidente de la
Asamblea Nacional de Diputados
E. S. D.

Diputado Presidente:

En tiempos de escándalos y corrupción masiva (ODEBRECHT y otros), la experiencia nos enseña que la legislación penal no debe ser modificada ni adicionada, porque la tendencia legislativa es la de favorecer a las personas beneficiadas con tales actos de corrupción, aprovechándose del conocido principio constitucional de que la ley más favorable al delincuente tiene preferencia en su aplicación; de modo tal que la inclusión de última hora en la legislación penal de una normativa a todas luces inconstitucional y perversa, siempre habrá de favorecer a los corruptos, porque la declaratoria de inconstitucionalidad de dicha normativa no tiene efecto retroactivo para impedir que este acto injusto prevalezca (ver artículo 46 de la Constitución y 2573 del Código Judicial).

Con vista a lo anterior y a fin de que no se perpetre un fraude legislativo que garantice impunidad a los atracadores de los recursos del Estado e interpretando el gran repudio nacional a la modificación en ciernes al Código Penal, le solicito que le dé trámite de devolución a primer debate al Proyecto de Ley No. 245, a fin de que sea devuelto inmediatamente a los proponentes del Órgano Judicial, en vista de que el indicado escándalo y corrupción masiva de dudosa investigación actual y que involucra a varios gobiernos y a los aprobadores del presupuesto nacional, no alcance un fin feliz de impunidad, que es lo que tiene a este pueblo en vilo y que sufre de grandes necesidades insatisfechas por lustros, mientras una minoría se ha dedicado a saquear las arcas públicas con ventaja y en contubernio, como es en el caso de ODEBRECHT y otros.

Atentamente,

CIUDADANOS CONTRA LA IMPUNIDAD (CCI)

(Firmado por 56 personas y más, incluyendo ex-diputados, ex-ministros y ex-magistrados, de varios partidos e independientes)

 

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Editorial: Many excuses, no excuse — expose and punish all Odebrecht bribes

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demo
Show your respect for Panama: be at the El Carmen Church on Via España this Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Respect Panama, respect yourself

Will we be told that nothing ever changes, that in Panama nothing CAN change?

Will the English-speaking community, citizens and foreign residents alike, stand accused of being a hostile fifth column in Panamanian society if we say anything?

Will we be told that the whole banking and corporate secrecy game was something Panama learned from Switzerland and the United Kingdom, but nobody ever picks on them?

Will we be urged to accept Vladimir Putin’s opinion that the Panama Papers were the product of a US hacking operation aimed at his country, and that it’s a terrible injustice for Panama to be caught in the cyber-crossfire of American and Russian rivalry?

Should we buy the argument that those in power in Washington are hypocrites who took in the formerly ruling kleptocrat Ricardo Martinelli and his stolen millions while denigrating Panama as a money laundering center and refuge for international criminals?

Should we point to the Odebrecht contributions to Jeb Bush’s foundation, and to Miami Democrat Xavier Suarez’s PAC, which were followed by the awarding of huge public works contracts to Odebrecht by the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County when those men were running those jurisdictions?

Should be point to the American domestic money laundering centers of Delaware and Wyoming, and to the US foreign policy of attracting foreign hoodlums who bring a lot of money to the USA?

We could do all of that and more. We could even reasonably talk about Brazilian imperialism and how Panama shouldn’t have to pay the price for its offenses.

But Panamanian public officials of three administrations took bribes and kickbacks from Odebrecht. That’s against the law, but the Electoral Tribunal says that the law keeps Odebrecht’s spending on Panamanian politicians’ campaigns secret, the legislature is in the process of passing a law that would set up a generous plea bargain with Odebrecht as a bar to investigations or prosecutions of those public officials who took their bribes, and President Varela signed a law that said that whatever foreign courts find out about Odebrecht doesn’t matter here. The political caste’s response to demands for full transparency and full accountability range from sneering put-downs to nationalistic posturing to pleas for the “rule of law.”

The people who took these bribes committed theft on a grand scale. They rigged bidding processes so that Panamanians were overcharged for public works, with a portion of the proceeds of their crimes lining their pockets. They cheated bidders of many nations out of fair participation in public bidding. They short-changed our schools, our roads, our public health care system, our police and fire protection and more.

Might some of the politicians who took campaign money from Odebrecht plead that they shared it around at election time? What they mean is that they corrupted our public institutions by purchasing votes from those Panamanians so unpatriotic as to sell their country for small amounts of cash, building materials, household appliances or other merchandise.

Panama does need to take the world economy and international sensibilities into account, but those things and the wrongs of other places are of secondary importance. What matters now is that Panama has been the victim of crimes on a scale much larger than those that get Panamanians thrown into hellish prisons for long years. We need to identify all of the criminals and bring them to justice. If the system can’t handle it, we need a new system.

Be there on Wednesday, and for the next thing after that. Don’t expect justice to come quickly and easily — but demand it. Demand it if you are a citizen, for sure. And if you are a non-citizen resident, don’t go excusing it because that would ge the essence of disrespecting Panama — and yourself, because you live here and you were also affected by these crimes.

The sticky fingers want you to believe that Panama can never change. But it has, it does and it can. The country used to be a battleground for Colombia’s internal conflicts. The country used to be divided by a US enclave. The country used to have an abusive military dictator. We can argue about whether the ways that we got out of those situations were the best, but Panama can change. It’s better if Panamanians change things rather than waiting for other countries with their own priorities to impose changes upon us.

 

Bear in mind

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
Albert Einstein

 

The most important feature of a secrecy jurisdiction — and it is a defining one — is that local politics is captured by financial services interests (or sometimes criminals, or sometimes both), and meaningful opposition to the offshore business model has been eliminated.
Nicholas Shaxson

 

You can’t find any true closeness in Hollywood, because everybody does the fake closeness so well.
Carrie Fisher

 

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What Republicans are saying

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What Republicans are saying

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Democrats are saying

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What Democrats are saying

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The government’s growing Odebrecht problem

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MOVIN
Capitalist propaganda: “The payment of bribes ends in the raising of taxes.” (They meant to say “de” rather than “se.” So says the Independent Movement (MOVIN), led by some of the richest Panamanians and a backer of President Varela’s 2014 campaign. But they have fallen out because MOVIN accuses Varela of failing to fight corruption. A tweet from MOVIN’s Twitter feed.

Odebrecht scandal goes much deeper than Uncle Sam
says that it does, fuels growing indignation here

by Eric Jackson
Declare corruption offenses to be crimes against humanity, in order that there is no statute of limitations.
from a Kiwanis Club of Panama communique

It would seem to be a set of mixed messages in the waning days of the Obama administration. Panama’s former President Ricardo Martinelli was allowed to live in an upscale apartment in Miami, posting taunting Twitter messages aimed back here despite an INTERPOL red letter warrant for his arrest. At the same time the US Department of Justice announced an out-of-court bribery settlement with the giant Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, the consent judgment for which mentioned $59 million in bribes paid to Panamanian public officials, via four unnamed persons, between 2010 and 2014. All of those bribes would have been to secure Panamanian government contracts during the Martinelli administration.

It wouuld all seem readily explicable to somebody who had been a student in one of former professor Obama’s constitutional law classes. One crime does not mean much about another crime, offenses committed in the context of a president’s administration do not necessarily implicate that president, a plea bargain by one person or company does not bind somebody who is not a party to that settlement, there are due process rights in extradition cases and so on. However, a bit of knowledge about the many other corruption cases ongoing in Panama and the ways that the Martinelli administration worked, plus revelations from Brazilian and Swiss government authorities and news media, will inform a reading of the information and plea agreement published by the US Department of Justice. They have denied it, but two of the four unnamed persons cited as having received some of this bribe money appear to be the former president’s two sons. Moreover, it is likely that Odebrecht paid bribes to bag people, with the understanding that they would be passed on to higher officials in the government.

The Varela administration was not helped by Vice President Isabel De Saint Malo’s declaration that it had been a whispered secret for years that Odebrecht was paying bribes to Panamanian public officials. Why, then, with the former CEO of Odebrecht in a Brazilian prison at the time, did the administration she serves promote and secure the passage of a law providing that the findings of foreign courts do not affect the ability of companies to bid on Panamanian public contracts?

Nor did the declaration by Comptroller General Federico Humbert that it was more than $59 million in bribes, with more than four people involved, serve to assuage public doubts that justice would be served. When Odebrecht won the contract for Line 2 of the Metro commuter train system — not on the lowest bid, but on a set of arcane specifications written and judged by among others a former Odebrecht consultant — why did Humbert approve that contract?

Then Attorney General Kenia Porcell held a weird press conference in which she said that she had a “verbal” agreement — whether written or oral she didn’t say, but one would presume set forth in words rather than an unspoken and unwritten tacit deal — that Odebrecht would pay $59 million to the government. Not those who received the bribes? Not repayment just by disgorging the money but also by spending years of their lives behind bars? Porcell would not answer any questions at that press conference, but later, amidst a storm of criticism, she did say that she hadn’t signed any agreement with Odebrecht.

Into the controversy came Proposed Law 245, submitted to the legislature this past September by the presiding magistrate of the Supreme Court, José Ayú Prado. That 58-pager is mostly a lot of housekeeping to implement the relatively new accusatory system of criminal procedure. The old inquisitory system did under very limited circumstances allow for plea bargains but the accusatory system makes this easier and more common. There are good and bad things to say about that, but given that the nation’s prison system is mostly inhabited by people who have been convicted of nothing but are awaiting trial, plea bargaining is seen as a way to clear cases more quickly and cut down on the backlogs on the dockets of the criminal courts. As submitted, the proposal was not controversial.

But into the proposal the National Assembly’s Government, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Committee inserted a new article, Article 22 as the proposal was renumbered. It’s specifically about plea bargains ending cases and related investigations. The proposed new article has not been published by on the legislature’s website — only the proposal before the committee amended it. Leaders of the nation’s principal bar association, the Colegio Nacional de Abogados, and prominent anti-corruption activists have cried foul. They say that, for example, Odebrecht would be able to cop a plea and that would end the investigations and cases against all of its accomplices. The chair of the committee that did that is PRD deputy Quibian Panay and in the committee and in the legislature as a whole it is reported that the new article has solid support from the president’s Panameñista Party. (The committee vote and debate on Article 22 is unpublished.)

That’s not just some weird speculation. Percolating up the Panamanian court system there is a ruling that let a member of the Panama Canal Authority’s board of directors, Nicky Corcione, and 14 co-defendants off on money laundering charges. These were the alleged accomplices of former presiding high court magistrate Alejandro Moncada Luna’s bribes and peculations. A court ruled that the plea bargain that Moncada Luna made to go to prison for five years in exchange for guilty pleas on some of the charges against him, with the other charges to be dropped, meant that all further investigations or prosecutions of the disgraced ex-judge’s partners in crime would be barred. Prosecutors are appealing that.

There has been a firestorm of criticism. The Independent Movement, closely aligned with the Motta family, has broken up its alliance with the Varela administration. The Chamber of Commerce has called for a “crusade” against corruption. The Panamanian Business Executives Association (APEDE) has lent its support for the Chamber and called for a January 26 public forum on corruption. The Kiwanis Club, a stalwart in anti-corruption movements here, has issued a stern statement that includes one of the first and strongest specific demands for legal reform at at time when lawyers are agitating for a new constitutional convention: they want to abolish statutes of limitations for public corruption.

Considering that the first contracts between Odebrecht and the Panamanian government were negotiated a decade ago during the Martín Torrijos administration and that new ones were negotiated under the current administration, full disclosure of Odebrechts’s systematic bribery would likely be a political bombshell to blast away all three major parties. (And take away US statutes of limitations and look at the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County, and you’d see Odebrecht scandals ripping both major US political parties too.)

Administrative Prosecutor Rigoberto González, looking at the various ongoing Odebrecht contracts, has called upon the Housing Ministry, the Ministry of Public Works and the Metro Secretariat to file criminal complaints so that formal investigations of possible bribes related to current contracts can be started. Housing Minister Mario Etchelcu says he won’t do that, Metro secretary and Canal Affair Minister Robeto Roy says he will do that and Public Works Minister Ramón Arosemena isn’t answering that question.

There will be a test of strength of sorts when an ad hoc Committee Against Impunity holds a rally against corruption at the El Carmen Church on Via España on the afternoon of January 25. If hardly anybody shows up then the politicians will surely figure that everything will blow over and they can rig the system so that the takers of Odebrecht bribes are never identified by name and face. But the calls to identify not only those who took outright bribes, but also those who received campaign contributions from Odebrecht, grow louder and more frequent. The Electoral Tribunal’s explanation that campaign contributions are confidential matters that by law they can’t reveal is ever less accepted. And revelations from abroad about Odebrecht crimes in Panama keep coming, notwithstanding Varela’s law that these mean nothing.

Is corruption the law here? It could be. In effect is has been. But now it’s not just a bunch of gadfly lawyers and leftist agitators who are objecting to that. A crisis appears to be brewing.

Odebrecht
Odebrecht projects in Panama. Graphic by criminals.
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A charming exchange with Rubén Blades

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RB
Rubén Blades. Archive photo by Eric Jackson.

A charming email exchange with Rubén Blades

by Eric Jackson and Rubén Blades

It started out as this email exchange about a recent columm that Blades published, complaining as many do about how the politicians in the legislature are rigging the election rules to keep unpopular parties and individuals on the public gravy train. The column was published on a day when Administrative Prosecutor Rigoberto González called on Attorney General Kenia Porcell to publish the text of her reported plea agreement with Odebrecht. During the days of the email exchange:

– a small but diverse group of veteran anti-corruption activists was calling for a January 25 demonstration at the Iglesia El Carmen and demanding the names of those under investigation for taking Odebrecht bribes;

– the Chamber of Commerce expelled Odebrecht from its membership rolls and called upon all sectors of society to join in a crusade against corruption;

– the Independent Movement (MOVIN) that is composed of some of the wealthiest Panamanians and whose support was critical in getting Juan Carlos Varela elected president called for an audit of all Odebrecht contracts and said that it’s the president’s job to dismantle the culture and mechanisms of corruption surrounding the government and that Varela is not doing this job;

– The Panamanian Business Executives Association (APEDE) jumped on the Chamber’s bandwagon; all three major political parties called to Odebrecht investigations — with respect to the other parties’ wrongdoing; and

– Comptroller General Federico Humbert said that more than the reported $59 million in bribes and more than the reported but unidentified four individuals were involved.

A crisis in the making, or just another “Move along, nothing happened here” moment?

So in light of the situation and in light Blades’s column, this reporter, not wearing a reporter’s hat but as one activist to another, had this email exchange with the entertainer who would run for president again:

Eric Jackson:

If you are serious about running for president you really need to be in front of the El Carmen Church on Wednesday the 25th at 5 p.m. — even if you think most of the people who will present themselves as leaders there are weenies and the opinion may be mutual.

To folks who were in the Detroit area of a certain age, it’s about being “down for the struggle.”

And is your Panamanian legal training so hard-wired as to be about procedure and semantics to the exclusion of substance? If you can rise above that and start talking about key features of what kind of a new constitution Panama needs, it might influence the lawyers and the activists who are right as far as they go to start talking in terms that matter to most people.

Ah, but what kind of political advisor am I? 2016 was quite the up and down year for me, with some personal victories — or should I say come defeats reversed? — but with the huge defeat of the United States giong fascist overshadowing all else.

Rubén Blades:

On Wednesday 25 I will be abroad, working for a living, as opposed to many politicians.

As for “the struggle,” I’ve demonstrated a decision to serve my country by giving it five years of my life as a public servant, at the expense of my personal interests. As for the constitutional changes, please don’t be as arrogant as to assume that I would dare show my face as a candidate without any concrete proposals.

We have been studying the situation, a group of friends and myself, for some time now. We are considering changes needed mostly to,
a) eliminate and/or regulate areas that permit corruption and inefficiency within our administrative structure,
b) create the vision and groundwork that will permit a long term national development strategy to be developed, protected and guaranteed in its continuity by the Constitution.

Perhaps you are not listening, or not reading my statements properly, regarding my plans.

I’ve publicly stated, on several occasions that my decision to participate in the 2019 election depends on my capacity in 2017 and 2018 to cancel all my existing debts and obligations and have funds to face life after public service. If that goal is not achieved, it would be irresponsible for me to forfeit my existing obligations and affect those who depend on me. No one else can or would help me in these areas, least of all as we all get older.

As for tomorrow, you people seem to harbor a deep rooted nostalgia for the British monarchy. Now you have a King.

You continue to be a mystery to me, “Eric”. Sometimes your thoughts seem right on, other times not, sort of an intelligence operator, posing as a provocateur, posing as a nut.

Whatever else you do, we hope y’all never stop taking your medicine, hear?

 

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12 scenes from the 2017 Panama Jazz Festival

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1
Dianne Reeves and Romero Lubamo. Says photographer Vic Brown: “In my humble opinion this was the outstanding performance of the festival. There might be a little bias to my statement because I just love Brazilian music and Romero IS Brazilian music. However Dianne’s voice is Bebop, Bosa Nova, Flamenco, R&B, freestyle, and them some. She tore it up and them some.”

12 scenes from the Panama Jazz Festival

photos by Vic Brown and Eric Jackson


2
A teacher, like a community organizer, has a mission to replace herself. Filling Graciela “Chelín” Núñez’s shoes is a tall order for this little girl, but that’s the sort of thing that the Panama Jazz Festivals do. Photo by Eric Jackson.


3
Of the internationally well-known musicians, Esperanza Spalding was arguably the headline act.


4
From Jerusalem with his band, Rony Eytan.


5
When John Patitucci plays with Danilo Pérez, it’s usually on an upright bass. He did so with the Children of the Light at this festival. But here he’s playing the electric bass, which he emphasizes is a different instrument, with his electric guitar quartet.


6
The festival started out with traditional Panamanian music by the Danilo Pérez Foundation’s Conjunto Folklorico.


Bill Dobbins directing the Global Jazz Big Band.


8
From Bocas del Toro, the Beachers. See, Panama is also a Caribbean country and its music reflects that.


9
Osvaldo Jorge expounds on Indian percussion at a master workshop given by the Black Tea Project.


10
Vasilis Kostas does jazz on a bouzouki with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute’s Band.


11
Also with Berklee’s band, Nzinga Bank blows her saxophone.


12
The main point, really — and not just for her. She won a scholarship. Will she be a renowned musician in years to come? Perhaps. But Panama’s education scene has been improved, the global music scene has been enhanced, someone can foresee a better future for herself and we live in a more cultured country.


 

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Gandásegui, Trump llega a la Presidencia

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HIM
Donald Trump. Foto por Gage Skidmore.

Donald Trump llega a la Presidencia de EEUU

por Marco A. Gandásegui, hijo

Después de una larga campaña, inaugurada a mediados de 2015, y superando los obstáculos que parecían invencibles, el magnate de las finanzas especulativas de Manhattan, Donad J. Trump, se convierte mañana en el 45° presidente de EEUU.

Immanuel Wallerstein señala que la presidencia de Trump es “totalmente impredecible. Sólo podemos tener la esperanza que su círculo cero lo modere”. Aún más, el teórico del ‘sistema mundo capitalista’ pronostica que “el 95 por ciento de las políticas que impulse Trump en su primer año serán terribles”. Prueba de ello, los nombramientos que ha hecho en su consejo de Gabinete.

En total son 19 personas, casi todas millonarios o militares, de extracción europea (‘blancos’) y hombres. Una excepción es la multimillonaria Betty DeVos, secretaria de Educación cuyo “objetivo es socavar la educación pública y dar vales escolares para financiar escuelas privadas y religiosas”. Tom Price como secretario de Salud quiere acabar con los servicios de salud para todos (‘Obamacare’). Jeff Sessions, ministro de Justicia, es defensor racista del encarcelamiento masivo. Andrew Puzder, ministro de Trabajo, se opone al aumento del salario mínimo federal.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, secretaria del Interior, apoya la perforación en comarcas indígenas y la apertura de tierras federales. Scott Pruitt nuevo administrador de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental promueve el fin de las regulaciones.

Por el lado de la seguridad (militar), encabeza la lista el general James “Perro Loco” Mattis como secretario de Defensa. Le sigue el general John Kelly, secretario de Seguridad (Homeland Security) y el general Michael Flynn como su consejero de Seguridad Nacional. Mike Pompeo (director de la CIA), propone crear un registro de llamadas domésticas. Rex Tillerson, secretario de Estado, era presidente de la ‘hermana mayor’ Exxon-Mobil, que tiene inversiones multimillonarias en Rusia.

Con este equipo al más alto nivel, no es casual que Michael Klare diga que Trump sólo tiene en mente la reconquista del mundo. En su agenda aparecen cuatro puntos: China, Rusia, Europa y el Medio Oriente. El resto del mundo no existe o tiene una importancia menor. Prometió destruir el llamado Estado Islámico mediante la acción militar.

Con relación a Europa, Trump considera que ese continente está en decadencia y la OTAN es obsoleta. En cambio, en el caso de Rusia, Trump y Putin han declarado que quieren normalizar las relaciones entre los dos países. Según Klare, muchos creen que Tilerson fue nombrado secretario de Estado para estimular las relaciones en el campo energético. Exxon tiene enormes inversiones en el Artico ruso. Además, comparten su aversión a las corrientes islámicas radicales.

El problema número uno en la política exterior del nuevo presidente es China. Pekín se ha convertido en el motor económico del capitalismo del siglo XXI. Sin embargo, aún no ha desplazado a EEUU como potencia hegemónica (poder cultural, militar y financiero). La estrategia de Trump es acorralar a China creando un círculo de bases en su entorno. En el plan tiene un papel central la Federación rusa. Si EEUU logra convertir a Rusia en un aliado subordinado (tipo Alemania y Japón), obtiene tres resultados inmediatos: Cierra militarmente la larga frontera china en el norte, dificulta el desarrollo de las ‘Rutas de Seda’ chinas que tienen a Europa como destino y minimiza la importancia de los recursos energéticos rusos con destino a la industria china.

En términos militares, Trump hereda las fuerzas armadas mejor equipadas de la historia. Según Miguel Barrios, el presidente saliente, Barack Obama, expandió las guerras aéreas y el uso de las fuerzas especiales en todo el mundo. El número de países que cuentan con bases de fuerzas especiales norteamericanas pasaron de 60 en 2009 hasta 138 en 2016 (el 70 por ciento de los países del mundo). En 2016, el gobierno de Obama arrojó al menos 26,171 bombas. Además, Obama logró vender 265 mil millones de dólares en armas, cifra record.

Trump no tiene una política hacia América latina. La muralla en la frontera de México es una concesión a los sectores xenofóbicos que lo apoyaron en las elecciones. Es un enemigo declarado de la Revolución cubana y de los gobiernos progresistas por razones ideológicas. Sin embargo, sus intereses comerciales pueden superar sus prejuicios. Percibe la región al sur del río Bravo como un área para la explotación de sus recursos naturales y humanos. Además, los países de América latina y el Caribe pueden ser útiles en sus planes geopolíticos a escala global.

 

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