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Ayú Prado won’t judge the Financial Pacific case

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Ayú
José Ayú Prado, right, meeting with the man who appointed him, Ricardo Martinelli. At the time, at the end of February of 2014, the meeting was billed as a matter of President Martinelli, along with then Minister of the Presidency Roberto Henríquez and then Minister of Economy and Finance Frank De Lima, informing themselves of the judiciary system’s plans in many areas, including court facilities construction, modernization of court procedures, court personnel matters, the judiciary’s image and more. By many traditions this was an undue intrusion of the executive into judicial matters, especially because Martinelli was due to be out of office in a few months, before the next year’s court budget was to be passed. Martinelli has fled the country, Henríquez is forbidden to leave the country while criminal investigations proceed against him, De Lima is in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges and bribery, kickbacks and money laundering in the courts construction program are the subject of another set of scandals that have several people in jail and have reached into the Panama Canal Authority. Photo by the Supreme Court.

Ayú Prado, under tremendous public pressure, bows out as the judge in the high court criminal proceedings against Ricardo Martinelli over a Financial Pacific affair that’s likely to blow up into several known and new directions

The end of a move more brazen than Panamanians tolerate these days

by Eric Jackson

Right. When he was attorney general José Ayú Prado allegedly made an in-person intervention to coerce an incarcerated key witness in the Financial Pacific case, Mayte Pellegrini, to retract her statements implicated then President Ricardo Martinelli in the Financial Pacific scandal. Shortly thereafter Martinelli appointed Ayú Prado as a Supreme Court magistrate. After the collapse of Martinelli’s proxy re-election plans and the start of serious investigation, witnesses and documents have corroborated Pellegrini’s statements that Ayú Prado had suppressed and criminal proceedings against Martinelli over the Financial Pacific matter are pending before the Supreme Court. So Ayú Prado’s colleagues, most of them fellow Martinelli appointees, made Ayú Prado the judge in that case. The magistrate vehemently denied any conflict of interest. The formal investigation unstarted, he belittled the scandal as a small matter of just one bank account. And virtually all of Panamanian society demanded that he step away from the case.

Ayú Prado is one of General Noriega’s old prosecutors and may truly have not understood the fuss. But most Panamanians are too young to remember the dictatorship and those who are not mostly want to see the open amorality of government in those times relegated to the past. Polls show that a huge majority of Panamanians wants to bring Ricardo Martinelli to justice and that an even larger percentage of the nation disdains the Supreme Court. If the magistrates got it about the confluence of public opinion and traditionally stated judicial norms about conflicts of interest, they pretended not to when they designated Ayú Prado as the judge in the Financial Pacific case. But after a great hue and cry — one without street demonstrations or much shouting, but of statements of condemnation from almost every quarter of Panamanian society — on October 8 Ayú Prado asked his colleagues to allow him to recuse himself from the case and they by a 7-1 vote consented.

Luis Mario Carrasco, the suplente for Martín Torrijos appointee Jerónimo Mejía, was designated as the replacement for Ayú Prado to act as judge. Carrasco was the one vote against allowing Ayú Prado to recuse himself. Remaining on the case to act as investigating prosecutor is Martinelli appointee Hernán De León.

As a parting shot, Ayú Prado moved that the Financial Pacific case be tried under the old inquisitory system of criminal procedure, based on that argument that everything that is to be investigated happened in 2009 and 2010, before the current accusatory procedure went into efect. That matter is yet to be decided, but what it could mean is that most of the Financial Pacific scandal — the High Spirit account of which Pellegrini first spoke, the November 2012 disappearance of Securities Market Superintendency SMV) analyst Vernon Ramos while he was investigating Pellegrini’s statements, 2012 obstructions of justice in the case by the now imprisoned former high court magistrate Alejandro Moncada Luna and by Ayú Prado, the insertion of now imprisoned Banco Universal loan officer Ignacio Fábrega into Financial Pacific to act as a mole who says he reported to Martinelli and then Tourism Minister and key political operative Salomón Shamah about SMV investigations involving Martinelli, allegations that Martinelli and Shamah bought secret stakes in the brokerage house, the stabbing on the street of Ramos’s successor in the SMV investigation Gustavo Gordón and the apparent tandem roles of Financial Pacific and Banco Universal as money laundering mills and public corruption clearinghouses — would be excluded from the possibility of investigation as part of the Martinelli case regardless of whether evidence in a more narrow probe came to point at the ex-president in any of these matters. Neither the accusatory nor the inquisitory rules of criminal procedure serve to limit the scope of a criminal investigation in this way.

In a series of terse statements earlier this year, the founder of Panama’s Bolsa de Valores securities exchange, Roberto Brenes, suggested a number of things about the scope of the Financial Pacific case. He thinks that the performance of the government’s anti-money laundering Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) ought to be examined. He said that if the case if fully understood, there will likely be “a domino theory.” Although courts and law enforcement have dismissed the Ramos disappearance and Gordón’s stabbing as mysterious and probably random events in an often violent society, Brenes puts them squarely within the context of the Financial Pacific scandal. He said that money laundering and bribery cases were most likely central features of what went on at Financial Pacific.

Actually, it may well be worse than what Brenes lets on. Already a man was arrested for breaking into and erasing Financial Pacific computer files when the brokerage was under SMV intervention. Martinelli’s brother-in-law Aaron Mizrachi was both part of the High Spirit account through which insider trades in Petaquilla gold mining stock were conducted and was a key player in Martinelli’s acquisition of hardware, software and expertise for the former president’s illegal electronic eavesdropping and computer hacking operations. In and around Financial Pacific were Martinelli-assisted land grabbers who through questionable hydroelectric dam projects and other schemes dispossessed rural and urban communities with little or no compensation for those driven from their homes. Financial Pacific invested in foreign-run Ponzi schemes. There are many links between Financial Pacific and Banco Universal, many links between that bank and acts of public corruption during the previous administration and a cast of characters the reaches into some of Panama’s richest and most powerful families — some of whom are also intimately tied to Panama’s other stock brokerages.  This then leads to questions about the Bolsa de Valores itself — how is it that we have a securities market where there is so little relationship between the prices of stocks and bonds and the values that underly them? A domino effect, indeed. It probably is not just Ricardo Martinelli who wants a severely limited Financial Pacific criminal investigation.

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Decentralization advances: won’t raise tax assessments but unlikely to be viable

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Muni
The Municipal Affairs Committee slogs through a process that reduced some reasonable fears, but at the expense of developing a workable decentralization plan. Photo by the Asamblea Nacional.

Proposal would finance local governments through nationally controlled property taxes

Committee approves decentralization lite

by Eric Jackson

The National Assembly’s Municipal Affairs Committee has had its whack at a decentralization law sent to it by President Varela. It chopped out sections that could be construed to allow local governments to reassess real estate values for the purpose of property taxes, and on October 8 passed the proposed law on to the full legislature. The committee vote was unanimous. More amendments could still be made.

The Martinelli administration had threatened  a property tax reassessment plan that was not about correcting the gross discrepancies in assessed values that favored rich neighborhoods but about using taxes to force the sale of certain areas to Martinelli’s speculator friends. That move did much to set the business community against Martinelli and assure his 2014 defeat.

The possibility of a new version of such a plan was raised by committee chair Javier “Patacón” Ortega (anti-Robinson PRD from Panama City) and by deputies accusing Ortega of weakness in the face of such a threat. For his part President Varela protested that it was never his intention to raise anyone’s property taxes. At this point we have a decentralization proposal that would transfer certain responsibilities to municipalities but leave municipal finance largely under the national government’s control.

A bit of history is in order to understand decentralization in Panamanian government and its various failures. The basic points of departure are the October 11, 1968 coup d’etat, the 1972 constitutional convention and the December 20, 1989 US invasion. The old Guardia Nacional would set limits on what the politicians could do between the 1941 overthrow of Germanophile Arnulfo Arias shortly before US entry into World War II and the seizure of power from Arnulfo Arias in 1968. In the 40s, 50s and 60s many things were tried, few of them systematically thought out or particularly enduring. With the possible exceptions of Arias and his nemesis General Remón — who became President Remón and was then assassinated — it was a government of squabbling cousins looking for momentary and usually pecuniary advantage, with the Guardia and sometimes the US Embassy as referees.

Is there such an ideology as “Torrijismo?” When Guardia officers led by Omar Torrijos and Boris Martínez seized power, they were mainly concerned about Arnulfo Arias’s intentions to disrupt their lives by altering the seniority system and thus their places in line to be promoted. It can reasonably be said that Torrijos shared some ideas pioneered by Remón, a modestly social reforming militarism that would not much upset the Americans. Remón did, for example, open up the officer corps to young men from humble backgrounds and eliminate some of the racial prejudice that had kept senior civil service and diplomatic posts largely in the hands of members of Panama’s white minority.

But the officers who took power in 1968 didn’t have much of a plan other than their places in the promotion line. Infighting that sent Martínez into exile and raised the profile of intelligence chief Manuel Antonio Noriega altered that list anyway, as Torrijos assumed control. Torrijos did care about his place in history and determined to oversee the transfer of the Canal Zone and the Panama Canal to Panama. For this purpose he offered various deals. To those sectors of the left and the labor movement that would accept it, he offered relief from the old repression and exclusion and passed a labor code that effectively legalized unions. He was quite brutal to the radicals who didn’t play along — more than 100 were killed or disappeared over the 21 years of the dictatorship. To business sectors that would play along he offered some new opportunities, sometimes at the expense of those who didn’t play along.

To negotiate with the Americans it was convenient for General Torrijos to have some semblance of constitutional rule and for this he called the representantes — more or less city council members — who had been elected in 1968 to a convention. This 1972 gathering drafted our current constitution to military specifications. It was essentially a political patronage deal — the offer to the representantes was to accept the military command as the true power and in exchange see their rank and prestige restored and receive some money to spread around among their constituents. As it was a deal with the lowest level local officials it was inherently decentralizing to that extent. Real power, though, particularly the power to tax and to distribute the proceeds, remained with the national government that was under military control.

After the Panama Canal treaties were enacted and began to be implemented, more resources became available to dole out to local officials. After Torrijos died, Noriega forced his way to the top and relations with the United States soured. Sanctions were imposed and during those years there were few benefits to be shared with local officials.

Come the invasion and Panama was prostrate. A reasonably honest but bumbling President Guillermo Endara was surrounded by an entourage that included a lot of people who figured that it was their turn to steal. It was a time of chaotic turf battles, crumbling public services and the atomization rather than diminution of corruption. An attempt at major reform of the dictatorship’s constitution failed. Since Endara’s time the general trend in all administrations until the current one has been toward centralizing both political patronage and public corruption in the executive branch.

We had two “ghost presidencies” — people who voted for Arnulfo Arias’s much younger widow Mireya Moscoso expecting Arnulfo and got far less, then people who voted for Omar Torrijos’s son Martín Torrijos expecting Omar and got a president neither so brilliant nor so complex as his father.

As the Martín Torrijos administration approached its end, what did the US-educated son of the general who is a nationalist icon to many Panamanians do? He and his party passed a lame duck decentralization law based on perhaps the most dysfunctional aspect of the US political system, local government financed by property taxes.

The incoming Martinelli administration quickly suspended that law for its duration. Ricardo Martinelli intended to aggrandize himself and perpetuate himself in power, largely by concentrating all public contracting in his hands on a no-bid basis with overcharges and kickbacks to himself, his minions and his political slush funds. When the crudely corrupt and not too competent Bosco Vallarino attempted to grab a bit of the action by rigging garbage truck purchases through the Panama City mayor’s office, Martinelli promptly marginalized and then deposed him.

Those years over, Martinelli has fled the country and Vallarino is under house arrest. Varela has revived the promise of decentralized government. But as presently amended, the powers of local governments to raise money come nowhere close to meeting the costs of the responsibilities that they will be expected to take on. It may also be the case that, due to promises made to alleviate real fears of people being forced out of their homes by higher property tax bills that they can’t afford, a set of tax assessments that bears little resemblance to market values will be frozen into place for some time to come. However, that situation may not be sustainable in the face of a slowing national economy and frequent warnings by international financial institutions that Panama needs to collect more taxes.

 

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Harrington, Cuentos para la exportación

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prensa
El diputado Juan Bautista Moya presenta “un anteproyecto para dignificar la carrera de periodismo.” Foto por la Asamblea Nacional.

La Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa y el acceso de la información en poder del Estado

Cuentos para la exportación

por Kevin Harrington-Shelton
Hasta un ciego sabe cuando está desnudo.
Rashi (in re: Génesis 2)

Los medios del gobierno se disparan en el pie con el reciente Informe de la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (http://www.sipiapa.org/asamblea/panama-147/). Reflejando su habitual tónica de mantener al panameño distraído en nimiedades para no pisar los callos de sus stakeholders, con premisas enfatiza items de menor importancia (distribución de la pauta publicitaria gubernamental, ley de periodista propuesta), y cierran confesando que “cumplido un año de gobierno de la nueva administración se observa menos hostilidad hacia los medios de comunicación”.

No así hacia la ciudadanía en general. Casi no tocan sobre un pilar de la democracia que sí preocupó al resto del hemisferio. A saber, que “en varios países del área, entre ellos Panamá, se han incrementado las limitaciones al acceso de la información en poder del Estado.” Tal como explican los recientes linchamientos mediáticos, a nuestros medios co-optados con un selectivo paso-expedito a primicias sobre información dable (y no-dable) no les interesa aquella institución de control ciudadano que representa el habeas data para los demás panameños.

De hecho fue La Prensa quien aplaudió –a rabiar– la derogación de la reglamentación de la ley de Transparencia, en cuanto tomó posesión el presidente Martín Torrijos. No es de sorprender pues las bellezas que engendró ese gobierno, particularmente con relación a ICA, PYCSA y a Odebrecht.

Y ahora, a título de zarina anti-corrupción, la egresada de una subsidiaria de La Prensa no ha dicho ni pío sobre un atentado a la credibilidad de dicha garantía constitucional. En un habeas data contra la HD Ana Matilde Gómez (por incumplimiento de la Ley de Transparencia en un caso contra el ex-presidente Ricardo Martinelli, para escurrir el bulto la Corte Suprema en la Comisión de Credenciales) discurrió –unánimemente– que mi petición de información no debió haber sido depositada en el despacho que la Asamblea tiene dispuesto en su entrada para el recibo de correspondencia oficial, sino en las dulces y delicadas manos de la propia diputada. Los detalles medulares del caso aparecen transcritos en el fallo en sí, por lo que doña Angélica Maytín bien podría leerlo a bordo en uno de sus viajes extra-continentales.

 

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What Latin American leaders said at the UN (2)

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Solís
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera addresses the United Nations. UN photo.

What Latin American leaders said at the UN (2)

Costa Rica

 

Paraguay

 

Dominican Republic

 

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The Panama News blog links, October 6, 2015

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The Panama News blog links, October 6, 2015

ABC News, Former Panamanian President Eric Delvalle dies

JOC, Panamanian ports eye more transshipment

El Confidencial, Sacyr explique

Global Trade, NWP sea ice still too thick for regular shipping

The Guardian, Chinese mogul behind Nicaragua canal lost 85% of his fortune

International Policy Digest, A Man, A Plan, A Fraud…Panama!

Straits Times, China’s Latin America plans derailed?

AFP, Colombia oferta bloques petroleros en zonas en disputa con Nicaragua

Reuters, Colombia y Panamá extienden negociación sobre información financiera

Chicago Tribune, Brazil’s currency plunge has Panama looking for Cuban tourists

EFE, Huawei abre en Panamá su sexto centro de distribución del mundo

AzerNews, Azerbaijan desirable partner for investments in Panama

SeeNews Renewables, SkyPower plans billion-dollar solar investment in Panama

Canadian Mining Journal, First Quantum cuts costs at Cobre Panama

Chiriqui Chatter, US Social Security beneficiaries need to prove they are alive

STRI, Colorful caterpillar chemists may signal new useful plant compounds

Science 2.0, Ancient flea bacteria may be the ancestor of bubonic plague

Smithsonian, How nature inspired Nobel Prize winners to fight parasites

Geekwhisperer, The shootings are not senseless

Maurer, High Hitler

Via Campesina, ¿El Tratado de semillas como herramienta de biopiratería?

The Guardian, Facebook to beam to remote African regions by satellite

The Independent, TPP threatens Internet freedom

Stiglitz & Hersh, The TPP free trade charade

New Republic, WikiLeaks just exposed a TiSA treaty detail

SwissLeaks Reviewed, Developing countries the biggest victims

Taibbi, Wells Fargo’s master spin job

Keller, Finger on the grenade

RAWA, A nurse’s tale of the Kunduz hospital bombing

ADITAL, 40 años de la Operación Cóndor

The New Yorker, The pointless cowardice of John Boehner

Video, Bernie Sanders’s anti-establishment wave

Miami Herald, Clinton draws early support but also ambivalence

i24news, Trump: arm teachers to stop school shootings

Futbol Centroamérica, Jaime Penedo rompe el silencio

Examiner, Canada beats Panama in Olympic men’s soccer qualifying

The Ring, Anselmo Moreno proves he belongs

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What Caribbean leaders said at the UN General Assembly

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Gonsalves
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines addresses the United Nations General Assembly. UN Photo.

What Caribbean leaders said

Barbados

Guyana

Haiti

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Antigua and Barbuda

Saint Kitts and Nevis

 

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Guns, here and there

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Amelia Foxwell, of Florida's Charter Oaks militia and then paramilitary efforts to patrol the US border against Mexicans, who then came to Bocas del Toro with her partner Darren Wilburn to establish Z7 Tactical, which offered home defense courses, weapons training and advice on how to torture suspected thieves into giving information. Panama's Policia Nacional, who aim to protect the government's monopoly on legal violence and their role as the department that handles that sort of thing, were not amused. At first the sergeant asked Wiburn to come to the station to talk, but he said he's only talk to the local police commander. Then a squad of police officers carrying AK47s came to escort Wilburn and Foxwell to the police station, where they were advised to leave Panama -- which they did.
Amelia Foxwell, of Florida’s Charter Oaks militia and then paramilitary efforts to patrol the US border against Mexicans, came to Bocas del Toro with her partner Darren Wilburn in 2013 to establish Z7 Tactical, which offered home defense courses, weapons training and advice on torturing suspected thieves into giving information. Panama’s Policia Nacional, who aim to protect the government’s monopoly on legal violence and their role as the department that handles that sort of thing, were not amused. At first the sergeant asked Wiburn to come to the station to talk, but he said he’s only talk to the local police commander. Then a squad of police officers carrying AK47s came to escort Wilburn and Foxwell to the police station, where they were advised to leave Panama — which they did. Photo from her former Facebook page.

In the USA people can and do argue about what rights they have as American citizens under the US Constitution, but those don’t apply in Panama

Guns, here and there

by Eric Jackson
Article 16. Naturalized Panamanians are not obliged to take up arms against their state of origin.
Article 38. The residents of Panama have the right to assemble peacefully without arms for legal purposes.
Article 310. All Panamanians are obliged to take up arms to defend national independence and the territorial integrity of the state.
Article 312. Only the government can own weapons and items of war. Prior permission of the Executive is required for their manufacture, importation and exportation. The law shall define weapons which are not considered as of war and regulate their importation, manufacture and use.
Political Constitution of the Republic of Panama

 

Second Amendment. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Constitution of the United States of America

 

On August 4, Security Minister Rodolfo Aguilera arguably stuck his foot in his mouth. Declaring that “Everything seems to indicate that there is no direct correlation in the aphorism that says more guns mean more crime,” he announced that the government would follow the US lead in gun policy and lift the moratorium on importing firearms. Since 2012, only Panama’s security forces have been allowed to import weapons. Aguilera also pointed with approval to  Switzerland, where gun ownership is common and for many citizens mandatory as part of government militia service.

That same day in the United States, two men were arrested and a warrant was put out for a third for a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn that left five people wounded and killed an expectant mother’s unborn fetus. The mass shooting was said to be revenge for an earlier drive-by shooting, both incidents part of a rivalry between two gangs, the Ow Ow Crew and the Gangsta Money Makers. Also that day, the families of 16 of the 26 Sandy Hook massacre victims announced an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit against a murder victim’s estate, in which a young man borrowed weapons from his wealthy “survivalist” mother’s extensive firearms arsenal, killed her, then killed 20 first-grade students and six educators at a local elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The following day Aguilara’s announcement was covered in Panama’s mainstream media. Former legislator Teresita Yániz de Arias, a member of the Partido Popular that is a junior partner in the Varela administration, told El Panama America that the problem of public safety would not be resolved by everybody carrying a weapon. She disputed Aguilera’s take on the situation in the United States. Former National Police chief Rolando Mirones also criticized the idea of importing weapons as an anti-crime measure, and pointed out that as the number of homes with firearms increases so does the use of guns in domestic violence incidents.

That same day in the United States in a theater in Nashville a man armed with a pellet gun, a can of pepper spray and a hatchet began attacking members of the movie audience. Three people were injured. A police SWAT team arrived and the man was shot 24 times and killed. Also that day on the Hawaiian island of Maui, a man being questioned about impersonating an immigration officer drew a pistol and began firing at police, wounding one. Three officers fired back, hitting the man 11 times and killing him. The dead man had been federally licensed as a firearms dealer. Also on August 5, members of the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin held a vigil to remember the murders on that date in 2012 of six members of the congregation at their local gurdwara and the wounding of four others by a member of the international neofascist Hammerskins organization.

Aguilera’s announcement was quickly countermanded, although President Varela said nothing for public consumption about it. On August 6 Aguilera and Vice Minister Rogelio Donadío signed a decree extending the gun import moratorium for four more months.

On August 6 in the USA, jury deliberations began in the penalty phase to decide whether James Holmes, who opened fire on a Colorado movie theater audience in 2012, killing 12 people, would get the death penalty or life imprisonment. A lone juror held out against death and Holmes is now doing life without parole.

The decree extending Panama’s gun import ban was not made public until its August 14 publication in the Gaceta Oficial. Police forces continued to be exempt from the ban and firearms businesses that objected to having only the government for customers were given five days to file for reconsideration. The deadline came and went, and the moratorium remains in effect.

On August 14 in the USA, two people in Brown County, Texas were wounded in their sleep when a man outside fired several shotgun blasts into their house. In Ridgeville, South Carolina, a couple were found dead outside a bar, each with a single gunshot wound to the head.

Then on September 16 The Orange County Register published a story about Aguilera’s August 4 announcement, neglecting to report that the policy was quickly changed. Google News and the right-wing US press played up the same story, with the same omission, for several days. Nobody has ever run a correction.

The National Rifle Association also picked up the Register’s story, proclaiming “More guns, less crime — Panama follows US lead.” But the NRA, which is a US organization, ought to have known better. They run or provide assistance to programs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to promote US gun manufacturers’ exports. The international operations are not some anomaly but an important part of their business.

The NRA is largely financed by gun sellers and it defends their corporate interests. Most notably, it runs a highly successful and demonstrably false advertising campaign that promotes the idea that possession of firearms makes a person or a household safe. But in a typical year in the USA, there are some 200 firearms homicides by those who are not law enforcement officers that are ruled to be justifiable. Against that there are some 10,000 criminal homicides with firearms, 20,000 firearms suicides and several times as many accidental firearms deaths as justifiable firearms homicides. Those numbers do not reflect the much greater numbers of assaults and other acts of gun violence that do not result in deaths. A gun in the house makes it more dangerous, not safer, for the people who live there.

And what else happened in the USA on the day that the NRA misrepresented Panamanian public policy? In Charleston, South Carolina, lawyers for white racist gunman Dylan Roof, who killed a state senator and eight other African-Americans in a church there, offered to enter a guilty plea if prosecutors would refrain from asking for the death penalty. In Boston, a man was gunned down in a busy Stop & Shop parking lot in the middle of the day. In Cleveland, people left balloons, toys and a teddy bear at a makeshift shrine on the spot where three-year-old Major Jamari Howard was shot in a drive-shooting the previous evening, later to die in a local hospital.

 

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

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

¿Wappin? Saturday night free form

Lord Kitty – Neighbor
https://youtu.be/0OLtvvb2jLo

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
https://youtu.be/Bag1gUxuU0g

Marta Gómez – Para la guerra nada
https://youtu.be/GBF1sEqGzGw

Natalie Merchant – These Are Days
https://youtu.be/Z-HLxpWGCzc

Zoé – Sedantes
https://youtu.be/bhzl8NwntUw

Frank Zappa – Any Way the Wind Blows
https://youtu.be/Yao-7r7nEZg

Ernie K. Doe – Mother-In-Law
https://youtu.be/dcFkUHvlf5A

Nathi – Nomvula
https://youtu.be/i5HNpfekqoE

Chrissie Hynde – Creep
https://youtu.be/lML2N4xB9GU

Carlos Henríquez & Rubén Blades – Descarga Entre Amigos
https://youtu.be/WGNa0PkjKnA

The Coasters – Poison Ivy
https://youtu.be/ZRfRITVdz4k

Rómulo Castro – L’u d’Aielo
https://youtu.be/pyEU23IgikI

Hozier – Someone New
https://youtu.be/bPJSsAr2iu0

Bomba Estéreo – Somos Dos
https://youtu.be/g-_9Bld7JYc

Negus Roots Meets The Mad Professor
https://youtu.be/mcKSpONyG5w

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A nation insulted

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our missing conflict of interest law comes front and center

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bear in mind…

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

 

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

 

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

 

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