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A point of international law, and a question

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law
Forstein, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law

The Specialty Clause

by Eric Jackson

All along since his extradition from the United States, Ricky Martinelli has been insisting that he is protected by the “specialty clause” of the 1904 US – Panamanian extradition treaty. I says it’s misguided because that was not the only treaty invoked in the extradition request. The Budapest Cyber Crimes Convention was also invoked and that has no specialty clause.

ANYWAY, what the specialty clause says is that if you are extradited for one crime or set crimes, you can’t then be tried for something else. Not right away, anyway. You are allowed to return to whence you were extradited, and proceedings over extradition for other crimes might ensue then. Might all be moot, given that Panama has no tolling statute on its statutes of limitation. But not necessarily as regards any proceeds from criminal activities. As long as those assets – say, a NEWSPAPER CHAIN – are under the bad guy’s direct or indirect control, that’s an ongoing money laundering offense.

And what if Panama says, “Fine, Ricky. Go back to Miami and we’ll see you in Round 2” – and then The Donald’s rednecks at la migra decide that THIS Latin American is a scruffy wannabe immigrant who isn’t white enough to get in?

 

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¿Wappin? Pre-sentencing memo / Memorando previo a la sentencia

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it

¿Anda, o lo devuelve a prisión?

Does he walk, or do they take him back to prison?

Raging Fyah – Judgement Day
https://youtu.be/I3WAAFlVsJ4

Silvestre Dangond & Natti Natasha – Justicia
https://youtu.be/7qix3jy5QdA

Bob Marley – Guiltiness
https://youtu.be/w-0pGTVvYPA

Dixie Chicks – Not Ready To Make Nice
https://youtu.be/XYAQayLkzgA

Kany García – Confieso
https://youtu.be/TOgCeRQvzoY

Aisha Davis – Trouble
https://youtu.be/fiq1ZF5whbE

Don Omar – Pobre Diabla
https://youtu.be/u89fN7_tBdU

Séptima Raiz – De Frente con Jah
https://youtu.be/qfEZeC77mcI

The Highwaymen – Ghost Riders in the Sky
https://youtu.be/AjkJqHUYr5w

The Golden Gospel Singers – Oh Freedom!
https://youtu.be/veiJLhXdwn8

Flora Purim – Casa Forte
https://youtu.be/JN9ZsDIasZU

Sarah McLachlan – Fallen
https://youtu.be/lXqslg8Qo_U

Cienfue – La Décima Tercera
https://youtu.be/AGa0ntjZLUk

Hello Seahorse! – Bestia
https://youtu.be/QNDlwHW92OY

Archie Shepp – Cry of My People
https://youtu.be/sU_PTQFJA8s

 
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For those with US Social Security concerns:

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A notice from the American Embassy

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

Where: Center for English Language Immersion (CELI) – Via España, Edificio Cromos, First Floor.

When: August 19, 20, 21 and 22 from 8 am to 4 pm and August 23rd from 8 am to 1:30 pm.

Walk-in Services – No appointment necessary. First come first served.

What to bring for social security services: (please bring legible copies of all documents to be submitted)

Applying for Social Security Benefits: Bring originals and one copy of the following for all applicants: Birth Certificate and passport. If applying for auxiliary benefits or survivor’s benefits, please also bring marriage certificate and/or death certificate.

SSA Proof of Life Study: In 2019, SSA mailed the questionnaire to beneficiaries receiving their own benefits whose social security number ended in 50 – 99 and beneficiaries over the age of 90 and beneficiaries with a Representative payee. Please bring a copy of your passport and a completed SSA-7162.

Social Security Number 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 form CMS-40B. To cancel your enrollment please complete and sign form CMS-2690.

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

To learn more about the services offered by the Regional Federal Benefits Office visit: https://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

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Maíz en Panamá

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El Maíz en Panamá: 500 Años y Más

por Sonia Tejada – STRI

¿A quién no se le antoja un bollo, una torreja o un chicheme? El maíz está íntimamente ligado a la dieta y cultura panameña, desde tiempos precolombinos hasta la actualidad. Aprovechando el quinto centenario de la ciudad de Panamá, el Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI) en alianza con la Comisión de los 500 años de Fundación de la Ciudad de Panamá, inaugurará este lunes, 12 de agosto la exhibición temporal El Maíz en Panamá: 500 Años y Más, en el área del Koala del centro comercial Albrook Mall.

A través de un recorrido visual e informativo, la exhibición invitará al espectador a un viaje en el tiempo, en el que se entrelazan investigaciones científicas sobre la presencia temprana de esta planta alimenticia en el istmo con su historia colonial y republicana, hasta llegar a nuestros días, incluyendo un enfoque sobre sus usos en la Ciudad.

La primera parte nos invita a conocer lo que la ciencia nos ha revelado acerca del maíz. Por medio de análisis arqueobotánicos, investigadores de STRI han demostrado que esta planta tiene casi 8 mil años de presencia en nuestro país, y que su agricultura transformó los paisajes precolombinos para convertirse en el alimento vegetal más dominante en la dieta de gran parte de los antiguos pobladores del territorio istmeño.

Luego nos trasladamos a la llegada de los españoles a Panamá, cuando los cronistas dejaron una huella escrita que detalla la forma en que se consumía el maíz a través de los años, y diversas fuentes nos relatan datos curiosos que atan este alimento a sucesos específicos de nuestra historia. Por ejemplo, que tras el incendio de 1644 y luego a raíz de la Guerra de Siete Años (1756-1763) escaseó el maíz, o que el incremento en la cantidad de mulas por causa de la fiebre del oro lo encareció, puesto que el maíz era su principal alimento.

La exhibición también resalta el uso del maíz en la Ciudad hoy en día, incluyendo maneras en que los chefs jóvenes están explorando con este ingrediente, videos que muestran los métodos de preparación de distintos platillos típicos a base de maíz, así como datos curiosos y encuestas para que los visitantes interactúen con la instalación.

Por medio de un alimento tan arraigado a nuestras tradiciones como es el maíz, STRI espera despertar la curiosidad del público hacia la ciencia que hace el Instituto en el país, al mismo tiempo que celebra los 500 años de la Ciudad. El Maíz en Panamá: 500 Años y Más se podrá disfrutar en Albrook Mall hasta el 23 de agosto, tras lo cual rotará de manera itinerante por otros puntos de interés en la capital.

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“Black hole,” “austerity” and the upbeat president who uses those words

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Atlantic Side Bridge
On Friday, August 2 President Cortizo, Panama Canal Administrator Quijano and invited guests formally opened the new Atlantic Side bridge over the Panama Canal. Part of the mostly rural legislative circuit that Cortizo used to serve is now better connected to the rest of the world than it ever was — no ferries, no swing bridges at the locks, nobody dying while waiting to get across the canal to a hospital. Some 40,000 people live in more than 400 little towns and clusters of houses on Colon’s Costa Abajo. The bridge, a project that this new administration inherited, was built by a Chinese consortium. The country is on short rations for the moment, so we shall see how much Chinese engineering and construction we can afford over the next five years. Surely we shall see more. Photo by the Presidencia.

Nito confronts a budget and debt crisis

by Eric Jackson

Juan Carlos Varela left the presidency a little more than a month ago with a public debt of some $26.612 billion. That was about $8 billion more than what Ricardo Martinelli had left to him.

By comparison, according to the International Monetary Fund Panama’s’ Gross Domestic Product this year is expected to be a bit more than $72.2 billion. Latin America has worse debt crises, but the situation is serious.

However, debt numbers from one administration to the next are always debatable given the games that governments play. A favorite is the turnkey project, wherein one administration pays nothing but when the next government is in office and the job is complete, the whole bill becomes immediately payable. Another time honored tradition is to delay payments to suppliers or other contractors so that the next administration gets to pay — which might be an old standard but when it comes to medicines and hospital supplies it can lead to shortages and deaths.

In the last months of his administration Varela was looking to float $1.2 billion in bonds to pay down government debts. However, he was facing such stiff opposition in the legislature and such hard questions about Odebrecht, Blue Apple and other things that he was unable to close the deal.

Nito Cortizo, however, quickly upped Panama’s sovereign debt by another $2 billion, selling that much in bonds in a single day. He had promised international lenders a standard neoliberal economic package of austerity at home and incentives for foreign investment. But offsetting that, he has also said that he would renegotiate old deals that are unfavorable to Panama, the ones for the ports of Balboa and Cristobal and for the copper mine in western Colon province. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are not calling for his scalp about those things. His big international economic problems are the fallout from US and Chinese trade wars, plus erratic and sometimes belligerent winds blowing from the White House.

So, what to do with a $2 billion loan, and what sort of austerity measures? First priority is to pay farmers for produce bought by the Agricultural Marketing Institute. Then come back wages for educators and health care workers. Those items will eat up most of the bond issue.

The austerity? Most of all in education and public health. The total Cortizo public budget cut for 2019 is just under $1.484 billion. From the health care sectors divided between the Social Security Fund and the Ministry of Health, there will be a $407.6 million cut. From primary and secondary education there will be an $85 million cut, nearly $30 million will come out of the University of Panama and the Tecnologico, and there will be unspecified cuts in scholarships and subsidies from the Institute for the Formation of Human Resources. (IFARHU).

The legislators are insisting that they are under no circumstances to be investigated for their peculations over the previous years. Meanwhile Rubiela Pitano, Cortizo’s original nominee to head that Secretariat for People with Disabilities (SENADIS), and former PRD legislator Rubén de León are being charged with stealing from the government via the National Assembly’s payroll. Is Cortizo going to just cut the legislature checks for their slush funds as before? Doubtful. And will he continue to allow legislators to run and loot the sports federations, on the dime of the PANDEPORTES, a government agency? Austerity may mean a confrontation between the president and a legislature dominated by his own party, but one convenient thing for presidents here is that they have a line item veto to wield in the event of budget showdowns.

On the new spending side, Cortizo vows to extend the Cinta Costera out to Amador to connect the coming new convention center. He also plans to raise spending on Panama’s 2000 poorest corregimientos, almost all of them rural. Those include every corregimiento in the indigenous comarcas.

One pending problem is a huge inventory of unsold or unoccupied real estate units, built on premises of sale to upscale foreigners or while not so stated for apparent money laundering purposes. But Panama is under international pressure about money laundering and the PRD deputies in the legislature are snarling at and spitting venom at foreigners in general. That real estate is not going to sell to the originally intended buyers anytime soon and there are not enough Panamanians with the money to buy all the condos.

Other big problems are changes in the world and regional economies. Arctic routes and new railroads will be adding new competition for the Panama Canal. The mixes of what gets shipped to and from where versus production near places of consumption will continue to change. Political instability could devastate world trade. None of those things are easy to predict.

But even though the Presidencia’s website talks about a “black hole” in the national economy, Cortizo says he’s optimistic. He’s predicting an administration that starts with some belt tightening in the face of deficits, but ends with budget surpluses.

 

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Panama Jazz Festival 2020 dates and lineup

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Consider music as the constantly evolving sum of mathematical languages that via sound express a rather full range of that which is human, and for that matter that which is natural – birds sing too – before you get into the qualities of its genres. Like the spoken and written languages by which people communicate thoughts, some live, some are dead and a few are or have been wildly successful. Consider a couple of musical languages and a written / spoken one that have become well nigh universal. English, at its base a Germanic language from the British Isles with many Celtic, Nordic and Romance influences in its early formative phases, is famous for its ability to pick up and incorporate words, phrases and ideas from wherever it goes and whatever idioms with which it interacts. We can argue about whether English is branching off into distinct languages like Aramaic and Latin did, or whether modern telecommunications — particularly of music – are unifying its dialects. A similar quality is evident in music. The US-identified but now universal jazz famously incorporates music from other genres. That branch of the European classical tradition most identified as Russian but also universal, Russian classical, picks up folklore from many traditions in the changing sphere of Russia’s cultural contacts. Here, jazz singer Dianne Reeves, who will be singing at the 2020 Panama Jazz Festival, covers Bob Marley. She irie.

 

The 2020 Panama Jazz Festival
Jan. 13-18, ATLAPA & the City of Knowledge

Dedicated to and featuring saxophonist Reggie Johnson

With
Dianne Reeves

Danilo Pérez
Patricia Zarate de Pérez with Lucía Pulido, Ben Street & Adam Cruz
Isaac Delgado
Ravi Coltrane
John Patitucci
Terri Lyne Carrington
Cyrus Chestnut
David Sánchez
Detroit All Stars
Las Hijas del Jazz
Josué Ashby’s C-3
Colectivo Cuba – Panamá
Fundación Armonía Colectiva
Quinteto de Orion Lion
Niki Campbell & Masuco
Kevin Harris
Guillermo Nojechowicz
et al

Understand something about the Panama Jazz Festivals: yes, they are wonderful concerts that pump up Panama’s tourist trade for a week. However, Danilo Pérez is also an educator by trade and a teacher’s son. In addition to being a musician and married to Danilo, Patricia Zarate de Pérez is also a music therapist by trade. These festivals are huge educational events.

Are you a healer, interested in knowing how music might mend the injured, diseased or deformed neural pathways of your patients? Then you, as well as more specific music therapists, might be interested in the concurrent 8th Latin America Music Therapy Symposium at the City of Knowledge.

Are you a young musician, or an adult music teacher? There are workshops and seminars at the City of Knowledge to help you improve your craft.

Are you a young person with prodigious talent that would surely grow with a top-notch education? The Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory will be auditioning for potential students.

There will also be educators from Purdue University, the New York Jazz Academy, Crossroads High School in California, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Newton South High School and the Shea Welsh Institute of Jazz. 

If you are young and if you are talented enough, you might just impress someone at the Panama Jazz Festival enough to get a scholarship. If you do not fit that description but know a young musician who does, you might want to deliver the word about the festival. It can be a life changer.

See, all the cool concerts are really the lesser part of a Panama Jazz Festival. Go to the jazz festival’s website for more information about the associated educational activities of that week.

 

 

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Editorial: Already backtracking on constitutional changes

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THEM
The deputies briefly ponder a 57-page business wish list before passing it on for months of comments and study. National Assembly photo.

Already the “reform package” is in trouble

Why is the legislature touching constitutional reform at all? It’s because the political caste — the National Assembly above all, but also courts and at least four successive administrations — has been on a 20-year crime spree that’s both expensive and poses the danger of people getting fed up and doing something drastic. So business leaders came up with a lengthy set of constitutional reform proposals that changes little of substance but might appear otherwise to the poorly educated, so as to fend off anything that might endanger their privileged positions in a society with among the world’s most unequal distribution of wealth.

Problem number one is that the legislators don’t want to see term limits on themselves. Problem two is that nobody in the political caste wants to be vulnerable to ordinary justice for peculation or other crimes. Problem three is that instead of just naming names — ‘You, you, you, you and you — you’re barred not only from the judicial bench  but also from the practice of law, forever…’ — the proffered solution for the sale of justice is lengthening magistrates terms from 10 years to 15 or more and creating a nominating process where rich white men in suits rather than elected officials say who can be a magistrate.

Are the rest of all those pages “wonkish?” More like a Leggo government kit.

So after some initial noise about how anything that alters the National Assembly gravy train schedule is dead on arrival, the thing is going to three months of “consultations” before a final draft goes to a vote by the legislators at the end of this current session and again early next year, to be followed by submission to the voters. We now know how badly it’s going by hearing the suggestion that it won’t be one proposal to the voters, but several, probably dozens.

Might passing two things and losing on 48 save somebody’s face? Or might the voters be convinced to pass the whole thing in many bits and pieces? You know that the “No” campaign will urge people to vote down every bit of it.

The business elites may want these changes, but there isn’t enough money to be made from them for many companies or their owners to spend very much to promote the package. If President Cortizo gets too involved and then loses, he becomes a lame duck. Look for a PRD government that came in with slightly more than one-third of the vote to present whatever proposal it will to the voters, but have a hard time convincing people to vote.

It’s early yet and lots of things can happen, but the constitutional reform package looks like it’s in trouble at this point.

  

We have only the people’s hearts and minds to depend upon. If we cast them aside and lose the people’s hearts, what can we use to sustain the country?

Empress Dowager Cixi

  

Bear in mind…

  

I am not afraid… I was born to do this.
Joan of Arc

  

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

  

The pursuit of truth shall set you free — even if you never catch up with it.
Clarence Darrow
 
 

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What Democrats are saying

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Beto

Dem voices

biden

Bernie

Elizabeth


Pete
 

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What Republicans are saying

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sieg

GOP voices

  


 

heil

 


  

swjnethreats

  


 

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Kermit’s birds / Las aves de Kermit

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For a larger version of this image / Para una versión más grande de este imagen: click here / toque aquí

Wood Stork / Cigüena Americana / Mycteria americana

encontada cerca del Puente El Rey, Panama Viejo, Panamá
foto por / photo by Kermit Nourse © 2019

Found in and around wetlands and near river mouths along the Pacific Side and mostly in Bocas del Toro on the Atlantic Side, these birds have a range from the southern USA to northern Argentina and Uruguay. They tend to live in colonies, often alongside herons and ibises. In flight, they are majestic.

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Encontradas en y alrededor de humedales y cerca de las desembocaduras de los ríos a lo largo de la vertiente del Pacífico y principalmente en Bocas del Toro en la vertiente del Atlántico, estas aves tienen un rango desde el sur de los Estados Unidos hasta el norte de Argentina y Uruguay. Tienden a vivir en colonias, a menudo junto a garzas e ibis. En vuelo, son majestuosos.


 
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