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US Social Security & federal benefits / Seguro Social de EEUU, etc.

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This visit does not deal with passports but you will need one to participate
Esta visita no trata con pasaportes pero necesitará uno para participar

US Social Security Services and other Federal Benefits
Panama City – February 3-7, 2020

The US Embassy in Panama is pleased to announce that representatives from the Regional Federal Benefits Unit will visit Panama City to offer services for beneficiaries or individuals with questions about US Social Security and other federal benefits.

Where: Center for English Language Immersion (CELI) – Via España, Edificio Cromos, 2do piso.

When: February 3 – 6 (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
February 7 (8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

NOTE: No appointments necessary, BUT PLEASE BE PREPARED TO WAIT.

What to bring:

Please bring originals AND legible copies of all documents to be submitted:

Social Security Benefits: Bring originals and copies of the following for all applicants:
• Birth Certificate
• Passport
• Marriage and/or death certificates – if applying for auxiliary or survivor’s benefits

SSA Proof of Life Study: In 2019, Social Security Administration (SSA) mailed a questionnaire to beneficiaries whose social security number (SSN) ended in 50 to 99 and beneficiaries over the age of 90. Please bring a copy of your passport and a completed SSA-7162, if you have had your benefits suspended.

SSN Card Application: Bring a copy of your valid US passport, Certificate of Birth Abroad, or original birth certificate and completed form SS-5FS.

Change of Address for Social Security: Bring your current passport.

Medicare Part B Enrollment/Cancellation:
• To enroll in Medicare, you should complete and sign this CMS-40B
• To cancel your enrollment please complete and sign this CMS-1763
To learn more about the services offered by the Regional Federal Benefits Unit visit:
https://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/

The best way to contact the Regional Federal Benefits Unit is by using their online inquiry form: http://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/fbu-inquiry-form/

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.

 


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Servicios de Seguro Social de EEUU y otros beneficios
Panama City – del 3 al 7 de Febrero del 2020

La Embajada de los Estados Unidos en la ciudad de Panama se complace en anunciar que representantes de la Unidad Regional de Beneficios Federales visitarán Panama para ofrecer servicios a beneficiarios o personas con preguntas del Seguro Social de los EEUU y otros beneficios federales. También recibirán aplicaciones para tarjetas de número de seguro social y formularios de Supervivencia (FEQ).

Dónde: Center for English Language Immersion (CELI) – Via España, Edificio Cromos, 2do piso.

Cuando: Febrero 3 – 6 (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
Febrero 7 (8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

Nota: No se necesitan citas, PERO ESTÉ PREPARADO PARA ESPERAR

Que traer:

Por favor traiga originales Y copias legibles de todos documentos:

Beneficios del Seguro Social: Deben traer los originales y copias para todos los solicitantes:
Certificado de nacimiento
Pasaporte
Certificado de matrimonio y/o defunción en caso de aplicar para beneficios auxiliares o beneficios de sobreviviente

Fe de vida: En 2019, la Administración de Seguro Social de los EEUU envió formularios de supervivencias a aquellos beneficiarios recibiendo su propio beneficio y cuyo número de Seguro Social termina en 50-99 y a beneficiarios mayores de 90 años.Por favor traer copia de pasaporte y formulario SSA-7162 completado, si sus beneficios aún se encuentras suspendidos por esa razón.

Aplicar para la tarjeta de Número de Seguro Social: Traer copia del pasaporte de EEUU vigente y el formulario SS-5FS completo.

Cambiar la dirección para el Seguro Social: Traer su pasaporte vigente y copia de este.

Cancelar o inscribirse en Medicare Parte B:
Para inscribirse, complete y firme el formulario CMS-40B
Para cancelar su inscripción complete y firme el formulario CMS-1763

Para conocer más sobre los servicios que ofrece la Oficina Regional de Beneficios Federales, por favor visite: https://cr.usembassy.gov/es/u-s-citizen-services-es/social-security-es/

La mejor manera de contactar La Unidad de Beneficios Federales es usando el formulario en internet FBU formulario | Embajada de EE.UU. en Costa Rica

  

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Metales traza en los huevos de tortuga

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turtle egg vendor
Venta de huevos de tortuga. Foto por Argelis Ruíz.

Metales traza en los huevos de tortuga baula podrían afectar a los consumidores

por Sonia Tejada — STRI


Los huevos de tortuga baula (Dermochelys coriacea) que anidan en las playas de Bocas del Toro en el Caribe panameño podrían ser perjudiciales para el consumidor. Según un estudio realizado por el Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI) y otras instituciones, estos contienen altas concentraciones de metales traza y su consumo podría presentar riesgos para la salud de las comunidades locales. Evitar el consumo de huevos de tortuga baula sería beneficioso para los consumidores y la conservación de esta especie en peligro de extinción.

Los huevos de tortuga baula no son dañinos por naturaleza. La acumulación de metales traza en ellos refleja la contaminación en el ambiente al que están expuestas las hembras a lo largo de sus rutas migratorias. Debido a su longevidad y madurez tardía, las tortugas marinas pueden acumular cantidades significativas de metales a medida que crecen. Para las tortugas baula que anidan en Bocas del Toro, el golfo de México es una zona potencial de riesgo de contaminación. Este golfo es un área importante de alimentación para la especie, pero también está muy contaminado por la agricultura, la industria y las instalaciones petroleras.

Esto se vio reflejado en las mediciones tomadas sobre huevos recién puestos en Panamá. Se revelaron concentraciones más elevadas de hierro, zinc, arsénico, selenio y estroncio que las reportadas anteriormente para esta especie. Los valores de arsénico fueron los más altos encontrados en huevos de cualquier especie de tortuga marina, mientras que los de mercurio y zinc estuvieron por encima de los estándares internacionales para niños. Estos resultados demuestran que la ingesta ilegal de huevos de tortuga baula presenta riesgos para la salud de las comunidades locales, incluyendo un mayor riesgo carcinogénico para adultos y niños.

Estos potenciales riesgos para la salud no son exclusivos de los huevos de esta especie de tortuga. Un estudio de 2016 realizado por investigadores de STRI analizó los huevos de tortuga verde (Chelonia mydas) y tortuga golfina (Lepidochelys olivacea) del Pacífico panameño y también encontró altas concentraciones de metales tóxicos en ellos, como manganeso, hierro, cobre, zinc, arsénico, cadmio y mercurio.

Mientras tanto, los esfuerzos para detener o reducir la colecta ilegal de huevos de tortuga marina han fracasado en muchos países. En las playas de Changuinola en Bocas del Toro, se explota un alto porcentaje de nidos de tortugas marinas durante la temporada de anidación. Para muchos pobladores locales, estos representan una importante fuente de alimentos y una forma de generar ingresos. Al mismo tiempo, es una gran amenaza para la supervivencia de las poblaciones de tortugas.

“La conservación de las tortugas marinas se ha visto comprometida durante décadas por la explotación regional y local, con pocas medidas de protección exitosas”, comentó Héctor M. Guzmán, investigador de STRI y autor principal del estudio. “Las poblaciones, en lugar de recuperarse, siguen viéndose afectadas por la pesca incidental y la colecta ilegal de huevos”.

Las poblaciones de tortugas baula en esta región (noroeste del Atlántico) ya se consideran vulnerables, pero en otras regiones oceánicas la situación es más grave. La recolección de huevos y la destrucción de sus hábitats de anidación han afectado gravemente a las poblaciones del Pacífico oriental, que se consideran en peligro crítico. Es decir, se enfrentan a un riesgo extremadamente alto de extinción.

“Nuestro estudio demostró que existe un riesgo severo al comer huevos de tortuga debido a la acumulación de ciertos metales con impactos desconocidos a largo plazo”, comentó Stefanie Kaiser, bióloga de la Universität Hamburg y coautora del estudio. “Claramente, los huevos de tortuga no están hechos para el consumo humano, y tanto los residentes locales como las poblaciones de tortugas marinas se beneficiarían de detener la explotación y el consumo de huevos”.

Los investigadores recomiendan que los conservacionistas centren su atención en los efectos sobre la salud humana del consumo de huevos de tortuga como un enfoque alternativo para desalentar la colecta ilegal de huevos. Sugieren además iniciativas de educación en salud pública que aumenten la concienciación entre los médicos locales, los trabajadores de la salud y el público sobre estos riesgos.

“Debemos abrir los ojos ante los posibles efectos tóxicos del consumo de huevos en la salud humana”, comentó Guzmán. “Es necesario crear conciencia pública país por país, pero también necesitamos el apoyo de nuestras instituciones de salud y medio ambiente para comunicar el mensaje”.

Los miembros del equipo de investigación están afiliados al Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales, al Centro de Historia Natural de la Universidad de Hamburgo y al Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra y Planetarias de la Universidad McGill. La investigación fue financiada por el Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales, Gas Natural Fenosa Panamá (ahora Naturgy Panamá) y la Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de Panamá.

 

Guzman, H.M., Kaiser, S., van Hinsberg, V.J. (2019). Accumulation of trace elements in leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) eggs from the south-western Caribbean indicates potential health risks to consumers. Chemosphere, vol. 26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125424

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¿Wappin? Sicarios

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hit
Electronically altered photo from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office.

Music for when you don’t know if or when the hit man comes
Música para cuando no sabes si o cuándo llega el sicario

Rubén Blades – Sicarios
https://youtu.be/sF2InmynRjE

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness at the Edge of Town
https://youtu.be/0LpdEyGhNxM

Congreso – Manifiesto
https://youtu.be/CzPTDBN9oEE

Mad Professor & Aisha – Jah Protect I
https://youtu.be/HjQn0hjudfo

Mon Laferte – Gavilán
https://youtu.be/RRVfJreUv9E

Cienfue – Shining In The Dark
https://youtu.be/nWQWe_AzjHs

Guafa Trío & Marta Gómez – La Raíz
https://youtu.be/zpTJELrPe1M

Playing for Change – No Woman, No Cry
https://youtu.be/eXwoSwaJwLQ

Lana Del Rey – Doin’ Time
https://youtu.be/qolmz4FlnZ0

Séptima Raíz – Deja Vu 2020
https://youtu.be/gCuBFzhKCUY

Café Tacvba – Volver A Comenzar
https://youtu.be/u-qgYznLyYA

Koffee – Toast
https://youtu.be/p8HoEvDh70Y

Enrique Bunbury & Carla Morrison – Porque las cosas cambian
https://youtu.be/uOK5Q6csXiI

Señor Loop – El Mono y la Culebra
https://youtu.be/VbBQZdStpSY

Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
https://youtu.be/8kl6q_9qZOs

 

Contact us by email at fund4thepanamanews@gmail.com

 

To fend off hackers, organized trolls and other online vandalism, our website comments feature is switched off. Instead, come to our Facebook page to join in the discussion.

Para defendernos de los piratas informáticos, los trolls organizados y otros actos de vandalismo en línea, la función de comentarios de nuestro sitio web está desactivada. En cambio, ven a nuestra página de Facebook para unirte a la discusión.  

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Jackson, The Day of The Martyrs at the end of the day

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January 9, 1964

The Day of The Martyrs,
at the end of the day

by Eric Jackson

It was actually several days, although the violence started on January 9 and that’s the day set aside to observe these events. And do we get into historiography? That was a breaking point, at which the end of the Canal Zone was irrevocably sure to happen. But there is a longer view in Panamanian history about the “generational struggle,” an anti-colonial movement that began with futile opposition to the Hay – Buneau-Varilla Treaty negotiated by a Frenchman with a conflict of interest.

The 1903 separation from Colombia was essentially a coup organized by the Panama Railroad Company, the Conservative Party on the isthmus with a few Liberals in name mostly participating and the military backing of the United States. The Conservatives owned the treaty and within a decade were moribund. They were gone by the early 1920s.

However, by the time that the Liberals were taking over the canal construction was about done, the massive wave of West Indian immigration and the US military bases were facts of life and Liberals were hiving off into factions with different ideas about what to do with this Republic of Panama and kicking the Americans out not being a priority with any of them. Outside of the Liberal paradigm there was a radical one that was crushed when US forces were called in to suppress the 1925 Panama City rent strike, and in that same year there was a bloody little race war that with US intervention and mediation established that the Guna lands and people would have a great deal of autonomy.

Liberal Rodolfo Chiari had called in the Americans to settle Panama’s problems in 1925. Another Liberal faction split off into the racist Accion Comunal movement, led by the Arias Madrid brothers. As the worldwide economic crisis deepened they made their coup move but were kept out of power by the Americans at first. They were, however, allowed to be elected and dominated Panamanian politics in the 1930s. And they had this notion that to balance US power, they’d cozy up to the rising European fascists in Italy, Germany and Spain.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was pulling in another direction with his Good Neighbor Policy toward Latin America. However, when Arnulfo Arias, one of Hitler’s friends, was president of Panama there were Lend/Lease shipments going through the Panama Canal from the West Coast of North America bound for Great Britain, and German U-boats lurking in the Caribbean right off of Colon. That was intolerable and Roosevelt orchestrated a coup to remove Arias. The social reforming Guardia officer that was part of that, and then power broker until his death, José A. Remón, brought bright young men from poor and middle class families into the officer corps and was as a practical matter the founder of a tradition that got its name from another later officer, one Omar Torrijos Herrera.

The United States turned the entire isthmus into a fortress, with new roads and gun emplacements ready to resist Axis landings that never happened. (One World War II road in particular, the Trans-Isthmian Highway linking Colon to Panama City, was to have profound demographic and economic importance.) And after the war was over Harry Truman wanted to make the US bases network permanent. The generational struggle resumed, with a new set of student activists and another generation of diplomats objecting to the proposed Filos-Hines Treaty that would establish those bases. Popular opinion was mobilized, Remón weighed in against the treaty and in December of 1947 it was rejected by the National Assembly. Truman never forgave Panamanian.

The next US president, however, was Dwight D. Eisenhower who had been stationed in the Canal Zone in the 1920s. He knew the various social strata of Panamanian society and the Canal Zone’s civilian population, including the black West Indian majority and the white minority that was often unfriendly toward soldiers. Having been the man behind the scenes for various coups d’etat, Remón got himself elected president and he and Eisenhower saw eye-to-eye. The agreement, which modified some of the terms of the 1903 treat in Panama’s favor, sought to end discrimination against West Indians and Panamanians in the Canal Zone – West Indians born in Panama having become citizens by way of the 1946 post-fascist constitution. It was looked at as a first step. Remón was assassinated before it could be signed by notwithstanding the ensuing confusion in Panama (the crime remains unsolved), the 1955 Remón-Eisenhower Treaty was ratified.

There came the Cuban Revolution and various would-be imitations, the buildup of the Canal Zone as a regional counter-insurgency bastion and John F. Kennedy’s double-edged policy of the Alliance for Progress and assassination plots. There were little expressions of the Cold War among Panamanians but the most common position was that for a growing commercial and transportation center that Panama was, communism was impractical and undesirable, but Castro holding out against all the US pressure was admirable. And meanwhile, Kennedy continued along the path of US relations with Panama that Eisenhower had begun. Just before his death he agreed that the Panamanian flag would fly next to the US flag in the Canal Zone.

Johnson, upon suddenly taking office, reviewed a lot of Kennedy policies, starting with the end of the Murder Incorporated operatio ns directed from the White House. He put the agreement about flags on hold while he and his team considered it, not renouncing the deal but ordering that American flags at schools, police stations, post offices and other civilian sites would not be flown during this review.

That lit the fuse for white Zonian flag-raising demonstrations and prompted a response from a new generation of Panamanians. The upshot was The Day of The Martyrs, several days of chaotic demonstrations in many parts of the isthmus, at the end of which 23 Panamanians and four Americans lay dead and bilateral relations were broken. It is said that the last straw that made President Roberto Chiari break diplomatic relations with Washington was a crowd blaming him and styling him as an American puppet – as in, he saw it as Americans on the isthmus were making him look bad to his own people.

The die was surely cast then. The Americans would be gradually leaving. It took several changes of government in each country, but on each side the basic approach of an end to the Canal Zone and the eventual closure of US military bases was pursued throughout. A former US Navy submarine skipper and a Panamanian general to reach the ultimate agreement via the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties. Took another generation after that for their agreement to be implemented.

So what was significance of January 9, 1964? It was the culmination of a 60-year movement to end an American colonial enclave in Panama, and a turning point and special milestone in a 50-year process of devolving that colony to Panama. The vindication of the 1904 opponents of a treaty concocted behind Panama’s back, and a later and overlapping peace process started by two military men in the mid-50s. The day may be celebrated as the heroic sacrifice of some mostly young Panamanians, but more properly it should be seen at the climax of a national project for which members of several generations of Panamanians spent much of their lives’ efforts.

Unfinished business? You bet! But that’s another set of stories.

 

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Hightower, Felonious democracy

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piranha school
The leaders of our democracy don’t actually like it when people participate, but Americans are a rebellious bunch. “Kayaktivists” rally against fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland. Photo by Rick Rappaport.

Felonious democracy

by Jim Hightower – OtherWords

The awful truth about the corporate and governmental power elites in our democratic society is that they really don’t like democracy at all. They prefer to rule by buying lawmakers, hiring lobbyists, running Orwellian PR campaigns, and relying on authoritarian police power to control people.

They pay lip service to our right to protest, but they mean we should send polite emails, letters, and phone calls to our congress critters — about as effective as screaming “stop it” at a category 5 hurricane. But Americans are innately rebellious, so ultimately they push back against the stupidity and avarice of elites.

Witness the 31 members of Greenpeace who, last fall, dared to exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble and speak out forcefully against the fossil fuel industry’s destruction of humanity’s living environment.

To be heard, these stalwarts amplified their voice with a creative direct-action protest: They teamed up to dangle 11 of their members from a massive 440-foot-high bridge spanning the Houston Ship Channel, the largest petrochemical waterway in the United States.

The idea was to momentarily stop the 700,000 barrels of climate-altering oil that Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and others ship out under this one bridge every day, thus dramatizing the destructive scale of fossil fuel use. It worked. For some 18 hours, the activists stayed suspended and no tankers moved through the channel.

But the larger political message was that if just 11 inveterate democracy protesters can stall the Big Oil colossus, the great majority of people who want to stop climate destruction for good can do it by rising up in force. For posing that threat, the climbers face felony charges — but they’re undeterred.

As one of the bridge climbers put it: “I want to show people that we have power to pressure our politicians and change our system. We know there’s a better world out there, but we have to demand it.”

 

Contact us by email at fund4thepanamanews@gmail.com

 

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Beluche, 9 de enero

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9 de Enero: Día de la Independencia

por Olmedo Beluche

(Discurso pronunciado en el acto oficial de la Universidad de Panamá el 9 de Enero de 2018).

Para empezar, dos afirmaciones axiomáticas sobre el 9 de Enero de 1964, que sin embargo se las pasa por alto constantemente: uno, ese día hubo una verdadera revolución popular antiimperialista en Panamá y, dos, fue nuestra verdadera gesta por la independencia nacional del siglo XX.

El 9 de Enero no fue una protesta más en la larga lista de movilizaciones populares panameñas contra la presencia norteamericana. Por su masividad, combatividad y heroísmo popular fue una revolución, en todo el sentido legítimo de la palabra, y constituyó un verdadero salto adelante hacia la independencia nacional del tutelaje colonial. Fue un acontecimiento a partir del cual hubo un antes y un después. Por eso fue una revolución popular antiimperialista y descolonizadora.

Si comparamos el 9 de Enero con el 3 de Noviembre de 1903, fecha que la oligarquía gobernante nos ha presentado como el día de la independencia, vemos las diferencias que resaltan con claridad y desenmascaran aquella conspiración de una élite con intereses foráneos por la que imperialismo yanqui nos separó de Colombia, no para hacernos libres y soberanos, sino para apropiarse del territorio, el canal y convertirnos en protectorado.

  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre de 1903 se fraguó un acuerdo entre un puñadito de oligarcas panameños, los accionistas de una compañía francesa tramposa, grandes capitalistas de Wall Street y el gobierno imperialista de Teodoro Roosevelt; el 9 de Enero fue un acontecimiento espontáneo en que el pueblo panameño, compuesto en su mayoría por obreros asalariados y sus hijos, la vanguardia estudiantil forjada en la FEP, acudió en masa cuando se enteró de la afrenta a la bandera y a los institutores.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre se impuso la fuerza militar norteamericana con una invasión de al menos 10 acorazados y miles de marines; el 9 de Enero, el pueblo panameño, pese a la falta de armas, puso el pecho a la metralla derrotando moralmente a la fuerza de ocupación.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre el pueblo panameño fue un espectador pasivo de unos hechos que dirigían otros desde las élites; el 9 de Enero entre 40 y 60 mil personas rodearon la Presidencia dela República exigiendo armas al gobierno, el cual, para no entregarlas, se vio obligado a romper relaciones diplomáticas con Estados Unidos, algo impensable para un oligarca como Roberto Chiari.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre no es más que una burda intervención militar extranjera para convertirnos en colonia, que los libros de texto y la propaganda han tratado de ocultar; el 9 de Enero es un acto refulgente de soberanía popular.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre ha tenido que ser cubierto con un manto de falacias históricas, para hacer parecer a nuestros ancestros como anticolombianos y a Colombia como un supuesto imperio explotador; el 9 de Enero es fruto de la diáfana lucha generacional contra las consecuencias del 3 de noviembre, el Tratado Hay Bunau Varilla, las bases militares y la Zona del Canal. Lucha que pasó por gestas como el Movimiento Inquilinario de 1925, el Movimiento Antibases de 1947, la Siembre de Banderas y la Operación Soberanía en los años 50.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre nos heredó falsos héroes pintados de próceres que vivieron la comodidad de ser los dueños del país y murieron en sus camas; el 9 de Enero lo parió la heroicidad de todo un pueblo que no temió morir, que entregó la vida de una veintena de los suyos, que sacrificó los cuerpos de más de 500 heridos capitaneados por jóvenes valientes, algunos que cayeron al fragor de la lucha, como Ascanio Arosemena; otros que fueron asesinados posteriormente como Juan Navas y Floyd Britton.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre nos enajenó la soberanía y los beneficios de nuestro principal recurso, con el Tratado Hay Bunau Varilla, que se firmó no por casualidad 15 días después; el 9 de Enero creo las condiciones para que Estados Unidos aceptaran sentarse a negociar un nuevo tratado que derogara la perpetuidad, las bases militares y traspasara la administración del canal a nuestra república.
  • Mientras los apologistas del 3 de Noviembre procuran infundir un seudo nacionalismo plagado de chauvinismo y anticolombianismo y exaltación por la intervención norteamericana que “nos salvó” (dicen); el 9 de Enero es producto de un acendrado antiimperialismo de rasgos bolivarianos fraguado en la conciencia de nuestros obreros y estudiantes por acontecimientos como el golpe de estado contra Jacobo Arbenz, tramado por la United Fruit, el golpe contra Perón dirigido por el embajador norteamericano y la gloriosa Revolución Cubana.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre produjo instituciones débiles y corruptas controladas por una docena de familias; el 9 de Enero produjo el atisbo de lo que será la democracia obrera y popular, cuando decenas de miles se autoorganizaron en los llamados Comités de Defensa de la Soberanía, unos para llevar heridos al hospital, otros para donar sangre, otros para buscar armas, otros para combatir.
  • Mientras el 3 de Noviembre dio por fruto un país pauperizado a partir de 1914, cuando se inauguró el canal, con una zona con la que no se podía comerciar y una anualidad tan ridícula que los gobiernos con algo de dignidad la rechazaron; el fruto del 9 de Enero es un país con un canal y unas áreas revertidas que han catapultado el crecimiento económico y aportado decenas de miles de millones al fisco. Si no aporta más y si está administrado el canal por una élite oligárquica, es producto de otro acontecimiento que no analizaremos aquí: la invasión del 20 de Diciembre de 1989, a la que le debemos esta pseudodemocracia corrupta, estos planes económicos neoliberales y los acuerdos de seguridad que violan la soberanía.

En esta conmemoración de la Gesta Heroica del 9 de Enero de 1964, miramos hacia ella no en actitud de mera contemplación, sino para comprender, aprender y actuar conforme a los principios, la determinación y el valor que movió a nuestros verdaderos próceres: los Mártires del 9 de Enero.

Con ellos y su ejemplo, seguimos luchando por soberanía, por independencia, por democracia y sobre todo firmes con el grito de guerra: ¡BASES NO!

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New lineup in Panamanian justice’s big leagues — will it matter?

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maribel
Magistrate Maribel Cornejo’s first day on the job, with encouragement from Archbishop Ulloa. Supreme Court photo.

Pivot time for Panamanian justice, or… ?

by Eric Jackson

Two main events, perhaps watersheds, are beginning to make themselves felt down the lines of Panamanian criminal justice.

Two of the three magistrates of the Supreme Court’s penal bench were appointed by the president and ratified by the legislature in December. Along with a third magistrate on the administrative bench and a number of new suplentes (alternate magistrates), they are settling into their new offices at the high court on Ancon Hill. At the first of the year the former attorney general, Kenia Porcell, left that post under a cloud of scandal with presidential appointee Eduardo Ulloa stepping in to serve the remainder of her term.

The new lineup faces some old cases on appeal, and some cases against those who have just been replaced. Some of these include:

Ricky Martinelli’s voyeurism

A trial court ruling throwing out the eavesdropping and theft case because of a specious finding that evidence sent below by the Supreme Court is inadmissible is, by previously ordinary procedures, not subject to reversal on appeal. Nevertheless it is to be heard on motions by several parties by a three-woman criminal bench panel of new magistrates María Eugenia López Arias and Maribel Cornejo, plus Asunción Alonso, the suplente for recused magistrate José Ayú Prado. Procedurally, there are several motions in this matter, including a straight-up appeal of last August’s not guilty verdict, motions to annul the verdict and consider the evidence on all court records in the case de novo filed by the anti-corruption prosecutor and one of the private complainants, and concurring motions using different arguments by several other private complainants.

These matters were before the bench before López and Cornejo took office. The drafting of an opinion was in the hands of now former suplente Wilfredo Sáenz, who was the alternate for now former magistrate Harry Díaz. Sáenz did write an opinion in the case, which was not heard during the holidays by the mostly lame duck panel then assembled. This draft has been handed over to Cornejo, who is the ponente (rapporteur) and who might scrap or alter it, or pass it on unchanged to the rest of the panel for consideration.

Panamanian law, based on the Civil Code which goes back through the Napoleonic Code to Roman Law, unlike the Anglo-American Common Law, places little authority on precedent. But here there were very unusual rulings on procedure and evidence validating practices that allow the courts to be overpowered and timed out, and which would allow lower courts to defy Supreme Court orders with respect to cases that they remand. This appeal and motion to quash the verdict, based on procedure in the first instance as it may be, could have rare weight as precedent. Especially so, as the Code of Criminal Procedure is relatively new and it can be said that the panel faces a case of first impression.

So what if the three women suppress the lower court’s ruling, review the sum of all evidence in all proceedings about Martinelli, and accept the trial prosecutor’s demand before the lower court?

The case is first about him directly intercepting the communications and in some cases turning computers or cell phones into room bugs aimed at 150 specific people but affecting thousands with whom those targets of the ex-president’s wrath or curiosity communicated. (Expand the room bug part of it along the lines of testimony that the most salacious recordings were specially delivered to Martinelli and it might be a Internet pornography case, but that has not been specifically charged.) The other things that have been specifically charged is that Martinelli stole the mostly Israeli equipment and programs to run the Pegasus eavesdropping system, which have never been recovered and may still be in use.

Down below, the trial court asked for a 22-year prison sentence. If the ladies of the penal bench approve and impose such a sentence, it can be anticipated that Ricky Martinelli will start up with his health complaints again and perhaps the magistrates will anticipate that with orders about it. If things go very badly for Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, he could go to a hellish mainline penitentiary for the rest of his life, and if in need of hospitalization do that time in the prison ward at Santo Tomas Hospital rather than in some luxury private hospital suite.

The VarelaLeaks complications

Are these related to Martinelli’s spy equipment issue as discussed above? It’s one of Panama’s great mysteries.

SOMEBODY hacked into former president Juan Carlos Varela’s WhatsApp communications on his cell phone. Most alarmingly for a lot of people, there were discussions between now former attorney general Kenia Porcell and Varela about cases before – or kept out of – the justice system.

There has been grumbling about selective publication of some of the intercepted communications, but none of the principals have outright denied the authenticity of the VarelaLeaks. But still, the provenance of the documents is an issue that will trouble prosecutors and courts to the extent that they are called upon to act on them. (In Common Law jurisdictions this stuff is generally hearsay and inadmissible. In Civil Code jurisdictions there is a lesser barrier to hearsay, which, however, is treated as far less definitive proof. And unlike the US system, there is no “fruit of the poisoned tree” doctrine to exclude the products of investigations based on illegally obtained evidence in Panamanian law.)

Under the Panamanian system the Administrative Prosecutor (Procurador de la Administración) investigates criminal complaints against the Attorney General (Procurador or Procuradora de la República). More than a dozen complaints were filed with the administrative prosecutor, Rigoberto González. Two of these were being actively looked into by González. One, by law professor, radio show host and activist Miguel Antonio Bernal, his cousin and former Seguro Social chief Rolando Villalaz, Donaldo Sousa and others, all lawyers, antedates the VarelaLeaks and accuses Porcell of abuse of authority and may be bolstered by new evidence from the VarelaLeaks. The other, by attorney Enrique González Tejeira, directly flows from the purloined text messages and accuses Porcell of a variety of crimes revolving around the general principle that she attacked the integrity of government institutions by way of her back channel dealings with the former president and actions taken or avoided in light of these.

So González met with the new attorney general, Eduardo Ulloa, to deliver these two case and at least 15 other complaints now that it would not be a matter of Porcell investigating herself. If these proceed from prosecutors’ office to the courts, they may ultimately come before the first ever female dominated penal bench and the high court politics that we have seen over the previous decade or so might be very different. Or might not be.

The Odebrecht case resumes

The First Superior Tribunal has reversed a series of rulings by trial court Judge Oscar Carrasquilla that threw out the criminal investigations into the Odebrecht cases on the grounds that prosecutors had run out of time. However, it was based on what the appeals court said was the judge’s miscalculation of time, which cut off five months from what prosecutors figured that they had left. So the anti-corruption prosecutor gets those five months back.

Surely one or more of the 122 individuals or 416 corporations named will appeal to the Supreme Court, whose penal bench, we have noted above, is under new management.

Added complications come from the VarelaLeaks, which appear to show the former president and the former attorney general conniving to block inquiries into Varela administration figures’ dealings with the hoodlum Brazilian construction conglomerate. Plus, here and in other countries new testimony and new witnesses affecting the case have come to light. Do they hive off the Odebrecht case into another matter with another timeline to deal with new evidence, or consolidate all matters and give prosecutors yet more time for an even more complicated investigation. Or are prosecutors nearly ready to bring at least part of it to trial?

Here again, defendants’ tag team delaying tactics and incongruous lower court decisions have taken a high profile. This case, added to abuses in many other public corruption matters, may lead a changed high court to issue some new administrative rules about such things. Or maybe not.

Judge Loaiza to the rescue again – but it’s being appealed

A little after three in the morning on December 17 12th Penal Court Judge Leslie Loaiza cut loose five high-profile defendants from a case involving the looting of the National Assistance Program (PAN) during the Martinelli administration. This was a fund set up with part of the revenues from Panama Canal tolls, and was used for all sorts of overpriced contracts with kickbacks which were apparently mostly destined for the 2014 Cambio Democratico campaign.

Not enough evidence, Judge Loaiza said, acquitting former PAN director Giacomo Tamburrelli, former Public Works Minister Federico José Suárez, former Education Ministery Lucy Molinar, PAN’s nutrition director Ángel Antonio Famigletti and businessman Rubén Antonio De Ycaza Arias. It was about a $44.9 million contract for the purchase of imported dried foods for the public schools’ lunch programs.

Loaiza has let a lot of public corruption defendants off the hook and is the object of much public suspicion. But he says he’s just enforcing the law based on the evidence presented. The Martinelistas hail his rulings as proof that there never was any corruption in the Martinelli administration but even a lot of Cambio Democratico voters won’t buy that. (They’ll say that it was a corrupt administration, but one that got good things done.)

In any case, the prosecution has appealed and the case may yet be revived. Other controversial Loaiza rulings also have pending appeals.

This one judge got some 40 percent of the public corruption cases coming before the 18 judges of Panama City’s penal courts, which may raise some more administrative issues for the new lineup at the Supreme Court. Were defense lawyers judge shopping? Was there someone on the inside tipping the balances on case assignments? Do new rules need to be issued to the lower courts, of which the high court has superintending control?

 

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Los jaguares podrían evitar un intercambio biótico indeseable

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Kay's coyote
Los coyotes se están expandiendo hacia el sur en Panamá, mientras que los zorros cangrejeros se están moviendo hacia el norte desde América del Sur, uniendo a las dos especies por primera vez. Foto por Roland Kays.

Los jaguares podrían evitar un intercambio biótico americano no tan grandioso

por Sonia Tejada — STRI

El desarrollo urbano y agrícola, además de la deforestación a lo largo del Corredor Biológico Mesoamericano podrían estar generando un nuevo pasaje para especies invasoras adaptadas a la perturbación humana.

Por primera vez, los coyotes (Canis latrans) y los zorros cangrejeros (Cerdocyon mil) se están avistando a la vez. Según un estudio reciente realizado por investigadores del Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI) e instituciones colaboradoras, la deforestación a lo largo del Corredor Biológico Mesoamericano puede ser la razón por la cual las especies de cánidos de América del Norte y del Sur terminaron viviendo juntas en el este de Panamá, lejos de sus rangos originales.

Cuando el puente terrestre de Panamá emergió del mar hace millones de años, mamíferos como perezosos gigantes y gatos con dientes de sable se dispersaron entre América del Norte y del Sur a través del nuevo corredor que une los continentes, un fenómeno conocido como el Gran Intercambio Biótico Americano. Hoy, el desarrollo urbano y agrícola y la deforestación están generando un nuevo pasaje de hábitats deforestados, ideal para especies invasoras adaptadas a la perturbación humana. Los coyotes, nativos de regiones que abarcan desde Canadá hasta México, y los zorros comedores de cangrejo, comúnmente encontrados entre Colombia y el norte de Argentina, se encuentran entre ellos.

fox
Los zorros cangrejeros, comúnmente encontrados entre Colombia y el norte de Argentina, han llegado a Panamá. Foto por Ricardo Moreno.

“Sabíamos que los coyotes se estaban moviendo hacia el sur y los zorros hacia el norte, pero no sabíamos qué tan lejos habían llegado, o qué pasaría cuando se encontraran”, comentó Roland Kays, investigador asociado de STRI, científico del Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Carolina del Norte y coautor del reciente artículo publicado en el Journal of Mammalogy. “La captura sistemática con cámaras a través de bosques y tierras agrícolas nos ayudó a descubrirlo”.

Para comprender este fenómeno, los científicos combinaron monitoreo de cámaras trampa con observaciones de la literatura y registros de animales atropellados. Su análisis reveló que las poblaciones de coyotes y zorros cangrejeros han colonizado el corredor dominado por la agricultura entre la ciudad de Panamá y el lago Bayano. Incluso se detectaron algunos coyotes en el borde occidental del Parque Nacional Darién de Panamá, la última barrera antes de invadir América del Sur.

Los jaguares y otros depredadores de los bosques tropicales pueden haber formado una barrera, evitando que los coyotes se muevan más al sur. “Existe información sobre coyotes en Panamá desde 1981, y han progresado en todo el istmo gracias a la expansión de la frontera ganadera y agrícola y la deforestación en algunas áreas del país”, comentó Ricardo Moreno, investigador asociado de STRI, presidente e investigador de la Fundación Yaguará Panamá y coautor del artículo. “Si la población de jaguares disminuye y la deforestación aumenta en Darién, seguramente el coyote pronto ingresará a América del Sur”.

A pesar de originarse en lados opuestos del continente americano, estas dos especies de cánidos desarrollaron rasgos comparables: ambos son nocturnos, tienen dietas similares y usan los mismos tipos de hábitats. Nunca se han observado juntos en las cámaras trampa, pero los autores sugieren que sus características comunes podrían conducir a la competencia en su rango recientemente compartido.

Para los investigadores, una sorprendente revelación de este estudio fue la apariencia de algunos coyotes capturados por cámaras trampa. Muchos tenían colas inusualmente cortas, hocicos parecidos a perros y patrones de pelaje variables, lo que indica una posible hibridación reciente con perros. Esto podría beneficiar a los coyotes si heredan genes de perros asociados con el consumo de frutas, ya que podrían explotar mejor la fruta tropical.

Si la deforestación continúa en Panamá y América Central, los zorros cangrejeros y los coyotes podrían estar entre los primeros mamíferos en un nuevo “Intercambio biótico americano no tan grandioso” con impactos ecológicos desconocidos en las presas o competidores nativos. Para abordar este desafío, los científicos enfatizan la necesidad urgente de priorizar la investigación de conservación que continúa explorando los efectos de estas especies invasoras en relación con la fragmentación, la reforestación y la persistencia de los depredadores de ápices nativos, como los jaguares, en la región.

“Encontramos coyotes utilizando bosques tropicales fragmentados, pero no los bosques más grandes donde persisten los jaguares”, comentó Kays. “Creemos que mantener al jaguar en Darién también lo hará hostil a los coyotes”.

darien coyote
Se detectaron algunos coyotes en el borde occidental del Parque Nacional Darién de Panamá, la última barrera antes de que invadan América del Sur. Foto por la Fundación Yaguará Panamá

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The Panama News blog links, January 7, 2020

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The Panama News blog links

a Panama-centric selection of other people’s work
una selección Panamá-céntrica de las obras de otras personas

Canal, Maritime & Transportation / Canal, Marítima & Transporte

DW, Water shortages dog Panama Canal

Seatrade, Ilya Espino de Marotta is the new ACP deputy administrator

OAG, Copa and LATAM Airlines Group steal the punctuality show

La Estrella, Panamá le dice sí a la reducción de azufre

gCaptain, Ardent moves from Houston to the Netherlands

Sports / Deportes

Sun-Sentinel, Román Torres to play for Inter Miami CF

Mi Diario, ¿Fórmula 1 se corra en Panamá?

Economy / Economía

The Hill, USMCA 2.0 may set pattern for other free trade pacts including with Panama

Telemetro, Almengor explica sobre reactivación económica y proyección para el 2020

La Prensa, Alza salarial amenaza al comercio y transporte

TVN, El 15 de enero vence plazo para diálogo sobre aumento salarial a enfermeras

Fresh Plaza, Banana workers settle with Chiquita

VOA, WTO suspending its role as arbiter in global trade conflicts

La Estrella, Crisis de la Organización Mundial de Comercio: impacto para Panamá

CNN, El petróleo crudo supera los $70

Johnson, Getting past Reagan

Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología

Pachar, La Joyita y las ciencias forenses

STRI, Bat perfume

El País, Los humanos ya asaban ‘patatas’ hace 170.000 años

STRI, Jaguars could prevent a not-so-great American biotic exchange

gCaptain, How strong is your favorite knot?

News / Noticias

TVN, Diputada Zulay Rodríguez presenta denuncia contra Mauricio Valenzuela

Mi Diario, Medios digitales rechazan querella de la diputada Zulay Rodríguez

El Confidencial, Panamá registra un mayor flujo de migrantes nicaragüenses

Radio Temblor, Retornan las protestas en rechazo a las reformas constitucionales

BBC, Venezuela crisis: Two lawmakers claim Speaker role

AFP, EEUU advierte que tomará medidas por creciente apoyo de Rusia a Venezuela

Carlsen, As Honduras collapses its people are forced to flee

The Intercept, Inside the plot to murder Honduran activist Berta Cáceres

Gizmodo, Facebook removing some – but not all – misleading preventive HIV drug ads

Opinion / Opiniones

Larres, The dangers of Trump’s policy of going it alone

Mas, Los ustacha han reencarnado en Bolivia

WOLA, Attempted takeover of Venezuela’s National Assembly leadership is illegitimate

Boff, Balance de 2019: el imperio de la impostura

Khrushcheva, Putin’s pipelines to power

Sagel, El cambio climático

López, Balance y retos

Culture / Cultura

The Stranger, Lee Oskar interview

Remezcla, “Puro Perú,” a comic that illustrates climate change in indigenous Peru

Dávila & LeBrón, “Un Violador En Tu Camino” and the virality of feminist protest 

Pedace, Exploring the data on Hollywood’s gender pay gap

Mendrek, The healing power of dance

 

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Editorials: A nation of clumsy hit men? and The totalitarian element

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their martyr
Senior commander of the IRGC’s Quds Forces Lieutenant-General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated in a terrorist operation in Baghdad Friday morning. Iraqi media on Friday quoted official resources as saying that the Major General of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) and the acting commander of the volunteer Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known as Hash al-Shaabi, Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes, who were separately leaving Baghdad airport in two cars were targeted and assassinated. Tehran, Iran, January 4, 2019. Islamic Republic News Agency photo and caption – Iran’s official words and symbols, because even if they are to become the deadliest of enemies it’s important to know from whence they come.

Brazen but bumbling crime

Yes, we have heard it so often. The whole nation is terrorist, the men are all gangsters, the women are all whores and the children are of no consequence. But if we send in US troops, they will surely be greeting us with flowers.

That was the prediction back in 2003 when, against a small honor roll of politicians who objected, the United States invaded Iraq. Saddam’s forces quickly collapsed, but some of the militias that sprang up to begin a stubborn resistance counted on an Iranian advisor, Qasem Soleimani, who taught them to take the bombs and shells that Saddam’s forces abandoned and US forces neglected to promptly collect and improvise remote controlled mines that greatly complicated the invaders’ used of the roads and cost the lives of a number of US military personnel and mercenaries.

America gets to invade and bomb, but if anyone shoots back, it’s a terrorist war crime, you see. And since the enemy are illegitimate by definition, Americans can torture them, make military targets of their religious and cultural sites and assassinate their public officials when on diplomatic visits abroad. And declare in advance 52 attacks for every time they fire a shot at us.

But see, America has been fighting in Afghanistan for more than 18 years now, and the only possible end is a negotiated US withdrawal and ultimate Taliban victory. It’s more than 16 years after the Iraq invasion and the government that the United States installed is demanding a US withdrawal. The world is sick of war crimes wrapped in a cloak of American exceptionalism. The Europeans who went to war in Iraq as US allies now saying that, notwithstanding Trump’s defiance of the Iraqi request to leave, THEIR forces have suspended operations and intend to leave.

In another country not far across the Indian Ocean, a naval base in Kenya which housed US military personnel and mercenaries was attacked by the Al Shabab jihadis in the aftermath of Soleimani’s assassination. Was there any relationship?

If there was, political alarms should be going off. Al Shabab are Sunnis of the Wahabi sort, usually expected to be hostile to Iranians and others of the Shia branch of Islam. If they are now allied with Iran, or lashing out in solidarity with the hope of striking up an alliance, that’s another split in the Saudi-led Sunni jihad against Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and ultimately Iran. It’s a jihad with which both Democratic and Republican administrations unwisely allied the United States, and which a growing bipartisan group in Congress now opposes. The s-word gets thrown around way too much, but if the assassination of General Soleimani has driven Al Shabab close to Iran, that’s a significant “strategic” setback for a US policy that was senseless from the start.

So, just an unthinking move by a reality TV hustler? Actually, a businessman who has been mobbed up since the early days of Manhattan construction and an Atlantic City casino. Back then, with La Cosa Nostra families in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. In more recent years, heavily backed by Russian mobsters and with Mexican, Colombian and Brazilian gangsters as clients and business associates.

Trump knows about gangland hits and was surely thinking like a gangster when he ordered the hit on Soleimani. He figures that the most vulgar part of the television audience will be enthralled by the violence and distracted from other unsavory facts about himself. Those who think that professional wrestling is real and entertaining, plus the End Times sort of religious fanatics, plus the white supremacists, provide an overlapping base that just might give him another term.

Trump’s conduct was not unthinking, just reckless. He’s out for personal gain and doesn’t care about anything or anyone else.

Problem is, this is not a scripted game with the rest of the world playing along. Even America’s closest traditional allies are stepping back in horror.

Listen carefully to the Democrats who would replace Trump. Do they argue that the Soleimani hit was justified but badly timed? Or that it would have been justified had Trump only notified Congress?

In the upcoming primary those who would accept gangsterism and those against will trade allegations. It’s actually a more fundamental divide. There are those who would try to go back to what the United States used to get away with doing. Then there are those ready to stride forward into new ethical standards, new understandings with friends and foes in the world, new sets of alliances and a new array of US soft power.

 

This past July a predominantly male mob organized by Zulay Rodríguez, “through the use of … persecution or harassment… force[d] … [citizen, journalist and activist Gaby Gnazzo, a woman] … [to leave the National Assembly galleries, where she had every right to be.]” But if Gaby is a strong individual who does not suffer terrible psychological damages from this treatment, it’s OK?

Would-be Panamanian fascism

The PRD is President Cortizo’s party. Now one of its members, PRD deputy Zulay Rodríguez, is using the courts of this nation that he leads in an attempt to send a journalist, Mauricio Valenzuela to prison for years for asking her a question about more than 62 kilos of gold ingots that she took from a client. That erstwhile client’s claim is in the public courts by way of a lawsuit against that legislator, a matter of public interest and to the extent that our opaque courts allow anyone to see, a matter of public record.

Zulay is abusing a landmark piece of legislation meant to address the serious problem of violence to control the lives of women in her attack on freedom of the press.

Some of us know domestic violence and the long-lasting psychological damage it can cause. The child who has been chased out of the family home with a gun, and has nightmares and flashbacks of running away in stark terror for years afterward. The cop, called into a domestic violence situation and having negative and distorted images and unreasonable thoughts of “If only…” imprinted in her mind forever. The woman who has been beaten into instinctive automatic fear of all men.

Which is why there is Article 138-A of the Penal Code, widely and rightly hailed as an advance for women’s rights:

Article 138-A. Anyone who engages in psychological violence through the use of threats, intimidation, blackmail, persecution or harassment against a woman or forces her to do or stop doing, tolerate exploitation, threats, demands of obedience or submission, humiliation or vexation, isolation or any other similar behaviors will be sanctioned with imprisonment of five to eight years.

If the behaviors described in the previous paragraph produce psychic damage, the penalty will be increased from one third to half the maximum penalty..

There are vagueness traps and proof problems in this law. What to say about the woman who claims to have been driven crazy who was mentally disturbed beforehand? What’s “similar behavior?” If an armed police officer validly arrests a woman, creating a public scene and some social humiliation, then takes the screaming individual away to a place where she is locked alone in a cell until brought before a prosecutor or judge to consider her case – is that officer guilty of a crime?

Those were the obvious issues for judges to iron out, but now we have this law used in the case of a reporter asking a politician a legitimate question.

And the leader of her party, President Cortizo, expects to jam through constitutional changes that go nowhere near addressing the systematic abuses of power by a thuggish political caste, of which we now have another example? Mr. Cortizo, if you are leader of this nation, lead. Bring your own legislative caucus into line or oblige the totalitarians to leave and form their own fascist party.

Bernadette

To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey    

Bear in mind…

There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity.

Robertson Davies

It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.

Paul “Bear” Bryant

Climate and weather variables affect the air people breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, and the chances that they will get infected by a disease.

Margaret Chan

 

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