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Editorials: Two historical research projects; and Treat them as POWs

Carvings at the San Francisco de la Montaña Church in Veraguas, said to be the work of the first generation of indigenous artists to become Christians. Was the church built atop a pre-Columbian religious site? What did the process of the sculptors’ conversion entail? Obscure questions here, but they might be answered in recently opened Vatican archives. Photo by Editorpana.

History projects to bring two nations together

In Panama we just celebrated The Day of the Martyrs, versions of which are taught to every student in the Panamanian public schools. But an academic turf battle, certain Panamanian politicians’ fawning desire to curry favor with the United States and a bizarre court decision bar any national educational policy to teach the history of Panamanian – US relations. It gets worse when one considers that with the separation from Colombia and its incessant Liberal versus Conservative civil warfare, Panama decided to just forget one of the major issues in that, whether Catholicism should be the official state religion or whether there should be a secular state. That, too, isn’t taught in the schools. Then, with this country’s history since separation from Colombia being an only occasionally interrupted tale of flagrant corruption, and with the abuses of a 21-year dictatorship that’s associated with a party that commands the loyalty of about one-third of Panamanians, any substantial teaching of civics here has been for more than a generation considered “too controversial.”

It does immense harm to Panama that most Panamanians know little of the country’s history and those who know tend to be considered subversive louts if they draw conclusions from that history.

The current order is endangered by pestilence, corruption and economic collapse. So if a constitutional convention is called, will its delegates be elected by purchased votes?

Those sorts of abuses go way back. You can read about them in the Bible, and in the surviving literature of ancient Greece and Rome. How far back on this isthmus? Probably since well before the Spanish Conquest. Did Catholic priests write down any of the ancient lore of the indigenous civilizations that they encountered here? They probably did some of that. Certainly they would have chronicled the evangelization of Panama, and all of the moral and political crises here from that time to today.

Last year Pope Francis opened the Vatican archives. As a matter of national pride, even national salvation, we ought to send scholars to Rome to see what the documents say about Panamanian

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The Canal Zone is a bitter colonial memory for a lot of old timers here, a paradise lost for some of its old white civilian minority who remember, something again for those who were part of its civilian black majority. It’s long gone, but it’s part of Panama’s history and US history.

Those who survive are old and gray, but especially in this tumultuous US political year, there is a bit of Democratic history, and Black history, and US military history that ought to be researched, written and celebrated.

In 1964 the civil rights movement was at full blast in the United States, the Canal Zone had seen the beginning of its end, and the Canal Zone Democratic Party was set to choose its leaders and its delegation to that year’s Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. The contenders to lead the CZ Dems were two outstanding intellectuals, marine biologist Ira Rubinoff (Harvard) and writer / English professor / political analyst Dick Koster (Yale). Up until then the segregated Canal Zone had a mainstream politics much like other Southern Democrats of that time.

But in 1964, a somewhat secretive civil rights movement among African-American military personnel asserted itself. The Concerned Brothers marched in and all voted for Koster, who won. For the first time, there was a black person on the Canal Zone convention delegation. And that year, the Canal Zone surprised a lot of people when it voted to seat the Mississippi Freedom Democrats.

This would be a good year to flesh out, tell and celebrate that story. It’s time sensitive. Wait 20 years and there may be nobody left alive to directly tell it.

So again, homework needs to be done to tell the history of this place, and of a bit of Americana. It’s a time to rescue history from a racist con man’s “alternative facts,” as part of fixing one of the things that’s broken in US culture.



Arrest. Intern without court proceedings as enemy insurgents. Remove from any public post.

What were Abraham Lincoln’s orders during the Battle of Shiloh?

Were they “Arrest, take before a magistrate for a bail hearing and let Chief Justice Roger Taney review the propriety of the proceedings?”

Trump and his goons have opted for insurrection against the United States of America. They are calling for more armed attacks on state capitols and in Washington DC. There are laws and precedents for dealing with that stuff.

This is not a time for courtroom dramas. For the insurrectionists — including those who incited and financed — it’s a time for prisoner of war camps.


               When you learn that a truth is a lie, anger follows.

Grace Slick               

Bear in mind…


… somewhere about the eighteenth century, history tacitly replaced religion as the school of public morals.

C. V. Wedgwood


Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

Eric Hoffer


There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.

Winston Churchill


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Risk factors for “long COVID”

Photo by fizkes/Shutterstock.

Long COVID: who is at risk?

by Frances Williams, King’s College London

For most people, infection with SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – leads to mild, short-term symptoms, acute respiratory illness, or possibly no symptoms at all. But some people have long-lasting symptoms after their infection – this has been dubbed “long COVID”.

Scientists are still researching long COVID. It’s not well understood, though our knowledge about it is growing. Here I take a look at what we’ve learned about it so far – who is at risk, how common it is and what its effects are.

In defining who is at risk from long COVID and the mechanisms involved, we may reveal suitable treatments to be tried – or whether steps taken early in the course of the illness might ameliorate it.

Broad vulnerability

Long COVID is characterized by a constellation of symptoms, including – variably – shortness of breath, marked fatigue, headache, and loss of ability to taste and smell normally. A relatively large study of 384 individuals ill enough to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 showed that 53% remained breathless at a follow-up assessment one to two months later, with 34% having a cough and 69% reporting fatigue.

Indeed, early analysis of self-reported data submitted through the COVID Symptom Study app suggests that 13% of people who experience COVID-19 symptoms have them for more than 28 days, while 4% have symptoms after more than 56 days.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people with more severe disease initially – characterized by more than five symptoms – seem to be at increased risk of long COVID. Older age and being female also appear to be risk factors for having prolonged symptoms, as is having a higher body mass index.

Those using the app tend to be at the fitter end of the population, with an interest in health matters. So it is surprising that such a high proportion have symptoms one to two months after the initial infection. Generally, these aren’t people who are highly vulnerable to COVID-19.

A woman in a park in exercise clothes bends down to restEven highly fit people are being stopped in their tracks by long COVID. Rido/Shutterstock

Another piece of early research (awaiting peer review) suggests that SARS-CoV-2 could also have a long-term impact on people’s organs. But the profile of those affected in this study is different to those reporting symptoms via the app.

This research, which looked at a sample of 200 patients who had recovered from COVID-19, found mild organ impairment in 32% of people’s hearts, 33% of people’s lungs and 12% of people’s kidneys. Multiple organ damage was found in 25% of patients.

Patients in this study had a mean age of 44 years, so were very much part of the young, working-age population. Only 18% had been hospitalized with COVID-19, meaning organ damage may occur even after a non-severe infection. Having a disease known to lead to more severe COVID-19, such as type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease, wasn’t a prerequisite for organ damage either.

Finding out what’s going on

There are many reasons why people may have symptoms months after a viral illness during a pandemic. But getting to the bottom of what’s going on inside people will be easier for some parts of the body than others.

Where symptoms point to a specific organ, investigating is relatively straightforward. Clinicians can examine the electrical flow around the heart if someone is suffering palpitations. Or they can study lung function – tissue elasticity and gas exchange – where shortness of breath is the predominant symptom. To determine whether kidney function has deteriorated, components in a patient’s blood plasma are compared to those in their urine to measure how well the kidneys are filtering waste products.

Rather harder to explore is the symptom of fatigue. Another recent large-scale study has shown that this symptom is common after COVID-19 – occurring in more than half of cases – and appears unrelated to the severity of the early illness.

What’s more, tests showed that the people examined didn’t have elevated levels of inflammation, suggesting that their fatigue wasn’t caused by continued infection or their immune system working overtime. Risk factors for long-lasting symptoms in this study included being female – in keeping with the COVID Symptom App study – and, interestingly, having a previous diagnosis of anxiety and depression.

A woman sitting up in bed with head in hand.
Fatigue is the most common long COVID symptom. Stock-Asso/Shutterstock

While men are at increased risk of severe infection, that women seem to be more affected by long COVID may reflect their different or changing hormone status. The ACE2 receptor that SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect the body is present not only on the surface of respiratory cells, but also on the cells of many organs that produce hormones, including the thyroid, adrenal gland and ovaries.

Some symptoms of long COVID overlap with menopausal symptoms, and hormone replacement using medication may be one route to reducing the impact of symptoms. However, clinical trials will be essential to accurately determining whether this approach is both safe and effective. Applications to launch such research have been made.

With so much having happened over the last year, we will need to tease apart which impacts stem from the virus itself versus which might be the consequence of the massive social disruption wrought by this pandemic. What is clear, however, is that long-term symptoms after COVID-19 are common, and that research into the causes and treatments of long COVID will likely be needed long after the outbreak itself has subsided.The Conversation

Frances Williams, Professor of Genomic Epidemiology and Hon Consultant Rheumatologist, King’s College London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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¿Wappin? Leader of the laundromat

mossack fonseca
Photo © John Lodder.

It all comes out in the wash
Todo sale en el lavado

The Detergents – Leader of the Laundromat

Charly García – Demoliendo Hoteles

Rubén Blades – Sicarios

Playing for Change – Guantanamera

Electric Light Orchestra – Poor Boy

Kali Uchis & Jhay Cortez – la luz (Fín)

Lana Del Rey – Let Me Love You Like A Woman

The Pointer Sisters – Slow Hand

The Shirelles – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Samy & Sandra Sandoval – Sin Papel Firmado

The Tubes – Don’t Touch Me There

National Lampoon Lemmings – Pizza Man

Any Tovar – Corazón en Huelga

Joss Favela & Jessi Uribe – El Alumno

Joss Stone – I Put a Spell on You

Mon Laferte – Concierto en Viña del Mar 2017


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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.

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vote final


Kermit’s birds / Las aves de Kermit

da boid
Gallareta Morada / Purple Gallinule / Porphyrio martinicus. Encontrado en Gamboa, Colón, Panamá por Kermit Nourse.

Purple Gallinule ~ Gallareta Morada

© Kermit Nourse

This beautiful bird, also known as a swamphen, can be found from the southeastern United States all the way down to northern Argentina. Note the large feet that helps it walk on wet vegetation. There are lots of them in the weeds around Panama Canal waters, and in freshwater wetlands in general.

Esta hermosa ave, también conocida como el Calamoncillo americano, se puede encontrar desde el sureste de los Estados Unidos hasta el norte de Argentina. Tenga en cuenta los pies grandes que le ayudan a caminar sobre la vegetación húmeda. Hay muchos de ellos en la maleza alrededor de las aguas del Canal de Panamá y en los humedales de aguadulce en general.





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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.

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vote final


Cortizo, Speech to the nation [apologies for the delay in translation]

President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen. Photo by the Presidencia.

The only victory that matters is Panama’s

by President Cortizo, January 2, 2021

Your Excellency, Marcos Castillero, President of the National Assembly.

Your Excellency, José Gabriel Carrizo Jaén, Vice President of the Republic and Minister of the Presidency.

Ministers and Vice Ministers, Deputies and Deputies.

Religious Authorities, Media.

Panamanian people,

Once again I come to this place to render accounts to the nation.

As a human being, as a Panamanian, I want to begin this report by expressing to each one of our brothers and sisters who has lost a loved one in this battle, that we feel as our own the pain and emptiness that they suffer today because of their loss.

I know that in many cases they could not even say goodbye, and that there are still many families who have one of their own fighting for their lives.

As president, believe me, it is the hardest, most difficult daily burden I have to bear in my work, because their sadness, their mourning, are shared within the Panamanian family. We are all children of the same country, part of a same fate, sharing the deepest and most devastating health, social and economic crisis that Panama has experienced.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This report to the nation, which is up to me to render at an extraordinary moment, will be different. It will mark the differences between the commitments made and the promises kept; the enormous efforts we make to find the best balance between health, social and economic needs; and the percentage of implementation of the 2020 budget.

Talking about that balance may seem easy, but finding it requires prudence, responsibility, and a cool head. It is a process that involves observing the behavior of the virus, analyzing the situation, proposing decisions, and in the end, as president, deciding the action or actions to be carried out.


In my inaugural address, I pledged to carry out 14 priority actions, which were to be carried out in the first months of this government.

All of them were fulfilled:

• We presented to this Assembly, in the month of July 2019, the proposal for a new constitutional order, as I promised in the campaign.
• The Public Procurement Law was approved, which reduces the discretion of public officials.
• The Law of Public-Private Associations was approved, for good investments and generating jobs.
• We execute the Austerity with Efficiency Program.
• The Glass of Milk Program already uses 100% national products.
• We are executing the Study Without Hunger Program, with the purchase of Panamanian products.
• We created the Ministry of Culture.
• The investment attraction and export promotion agency, ProPanama, already operates in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in this legislature the draft law will be presented to create the ProPanama Investment Attraction Authority, thus consolidating all efforts to bring good direct foreign investments.
• We created and is running, since August 3, 2020, the Banca de Oportunidades program.
• We established the Plan Manos a la Obra — a jobs program at the district level, for the maintenance of road infrastructures – which has been and is underway.
• A law that exempts the payment of the transfer tax for the current inventory of houses was approved.
• A law that extends the preferential interest for homes from $120,000 to $180,000 was approved.
• The Real Estate Leasing Law was approved to facilitate the acquisition of homes by young Panamanians.
• We created the Unit for the Competitiveness of International Services.

I also announced, that July 1, that we would begin to manage the financing for the late payments to state suppliers and contractors, and I promised to present to the Panamanian people complete information about the real state of public finances, which was never given to us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last year, in this same room, we denounced the serious financial situation of the state, which we encountered once in the exercise of government.

The truth is that in the last two governments, without a pandemic, public debt tripled; it went from $11 billion to more than $30 billion. In other words, those governments increased their debt by $20 billion, without having to take emergency action.


The matter does not end there. Hence the importance of emphasizing today condition of the country we received:

First, we assume the government with a deficit in the 2019 budget, for $2.317 billion.

Second, we found $1.836 billion in accounts payable to suppliers and contractors, health workers, teachers, agricultural producers, preferential interest banks and the Social Security Fund.

Third, we were responsible for canceling $1.155 billion in expired bonds, issued by past administrations.

Only those debts not contracted by our government amounted to $5.308 billion and to face that it was necessary to resort to external debt because Panama does not have a central bank.

This, together with budgetary austerity measures, allowed us to put the house in order, in eight months. So much so, that by February 2020 current income had increased 11% above what was projected.

In other words, in the first eight months of our government, the country began to show signs of economic recovery, but the pandemic took us off that course, bringing a drastic reduction in current income.

Panamanian people,

In effect, this government has managed $7.776 billion of credit resources, according to estimates by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which made it possible to finance the fall in income, below budget, by $3 billion and to face, in the state budget, $1,696 million to pay down debt, maintain the subsidy programs and make conditional cash transfers of $1.651 billion.

And the difference of $1.417 billion, plus the reduced current income, is what has allowed us to meet the needs of the health system, due to the effects of the pandemic, the Panama Solidario Plan, the digital vouchers and the food bags aid for victims of natural disasters.

In that sense, putting the house in order facilitated the negotiations with the international financial institutions and the banks, to have funds to attend first to the national emergency of the pandemic, then the consequences of the hurricanes.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would prefer to refer only to the present, but it cannot be forgotten that we received the country with monumental problems. And in March the unforeseen happened: a devastating world catastrophe, without warning, settled into our lives, bringing uncertainty, pain and mourning.

Now, with the pandemic, our country faces the biggest problems in our entire history.


From the first signs of the pandemic, our government was at the forefront of this battle, in which difficult decisions have to be made. Trying to find a balance among health, social welfare and economic activity in a catastrophe like this, there are no perfect decisions.

Until recently, October 31 of last year, and with 100% of the people on the street, we had 9.6% positivity, single-digit positivity. That is, out of every ten thousand tests, a thousand came out positive.

However, two months later, due to the change in social behavior due to November’s national holidays, beaches, shopping, Mother’s Day, end-of-year holidays, positivity more than doubled, that is, for every ten thousand tests, 2,500 test positive. The number of deaths has increased considerably.

This undeniably critical situation led us to take strict measures that are in force until January 14.

Let us understand that there can be no health without economy, but neither can there be economy without health.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We can continue increasing the tests, increasing the unified traceability teams, the rapid response teams, adapting new infrastructures for more beds, as is in fact being done.

We can hire more Panamanian health personnel and hire foreign doctors, but as long as the social behavior – the behavior of each one of us – does not improve, the figures will not improve either.

I say it again, talking about sustained economic recovery with the current social behavior of some Panamanians is not realistic.

The future of this new year is in the discipline and conduct of each one of us. From today, that behavior will write the blank page of 2021.


On the other hand, and in the social sphere, our government took on the challenges imposed by the pandemic with responsibility and decision, implementing different initiatives to help Panamanians cope with the crisis, keep the greatest number of jobs and support, to the extent of our possibilities, to the most vulnerable.

The following initiatives are worth highlighting:

• The Panama Solidarity Plan, which consists of the delivery of food bags, mega bags for the regions, vouchers and digital vouchers. This program benefits around 1.7 million people and is carried out by a national team of almost 7,000 collaborators and volunteers.
• To date, 4,784,495 Solidarity Bags have been delivered, for a total of $113 million.
• 3.1 million bonds, worth $294 million, have also been delivered, and
• 7 million digital vouchers credited to the cedulas, with an assigned value of $587 million.
• The Panama Solidarity Plan was awarded the Excellence Award from the Electronic Government Network of Latin America and the Caribbean, organized by the OAS and the Inter-American Development Bank, in the category “Digital Government Against COVID-19”.
• In addition, Panama was the first country to use the personal identity card as a debit card, through the implementation of the digital voucher.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I reiterate that from January 4 to 8, the digital vouchers for the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste will be recharged.

I also announce that, as of Monday, February 1 of this year, the digital voucher at the national level will be increased from $100 to $120, conditional on compliance with the rules established by the health authorities.

On the other hand, the Tripartite Dialogue Table convened by the government and recognized by the International Labor Organization as the only one on the continent, culminated in 22 agreements, respecting the rights of workers and promoting the reactivation of companies, achieving a safe and reliable route to improve working conditions during the pandemic.


The truth is that, as with previous pandemics, the solution comes from the hands of science through the development, in record time, of vaccines.

Look: Panama’s case, through thick and thin we have been advancing and thank God we are lacking less. In the course of 90 days we will begin the vaccination process in an orderly fashion.

We have committed $56 million to acquire 5,500,000 thousand doses of the vaccine. Panama is ready. The logistics are ready, the traceability of the cargo, its arrival, storage, distribution, and then the application and monitoring required of vaccinated people – all this is ready.

While we complete this process we have to continue to take care of ourselves. There is no way to advance against this virus without the commitment and self-discipline of each Panamanian.

We have to understand that the lethality, the deadly power of this virus, is directly linked to people’s individual and collective behavior.

Panamanian people,

The Economic Recovery Plan, COVID-19 Phase 1, the PRE-1, I presented to the Nation on July 1, 6 months ago, here in the National Assembly and it was widely disseminated in different media.

The objective of the Economic Recovery Plan, COVID-19 Phase 1, was and is to maintain and generate the greatest number of jobs and gradually recover the economy through the following 10 areas of action:

1. Control of the pandemic. The strength of the economic recovery is closely linked to the control of the pandemic and the national vaccination program. Today I reiterate that in the course of 90 days we will be starting the vaccination program in Panama.
2. The reactivation of public infrastructure works in execution and the start of new projects and initiatives under the Public-Private Partnership modality.
3. The design and start of a Program for the Recovery of Buildings in the neighborhoods of the Districts of Panama, San Miguelito and Colon, to generate local employment.
4. Support for micro-entrepreneurs with a training program and an increase in seed capital, from one thousand to two thousand dollars, particularly focused on women and young people.
5. The promotion of small and medium-sized companies, with agile and timely financing and an increase in the Guarantee Fund to facilitate credit to entrepreneurs.
6. The design of a Special Program of Loans, training and support for the development of agro-technology and to achieve more production with less.
7. Tax relief measures for small and medium-sized companies, which include a reduction in the payment of income tax.
8. The creation of a fund to strengthen the liquidity and confidence of the Panamanian banking system and to facilitate financing to the driving sectors of the economy, such as construction, commerce, tourism, agro-industry, science and technology and exports.
9. Taking advantage of Panama’s geographic position and its comparative advantage, developing and presenting laws and incentives to promote good foreign direct investment, such as manufacturing, as well as the extension of the incentives granted to Panama-Pacific, to the Colon Free Zone and the creation of Agroparks and Processing Zones that could arise on the banks of the canal.
10. Measures to reduce excessive paperwork, digitizing permits and unifying the procedures for accounts payable to contractors and creditors, minimizing the discretion of public officials.

All Panamanians,

It is important to highlight that the Economic Recovery Plan, Phase 1, was structured by a team led by the Minister of Economy and Finance, complying with the public policy formulation cycle that goes from problem identification, design, implementation, to monitoring and evaluation.

The Economic Recovery Plan, Phase 1, has a wide territorial coverage that impacts the 5 Panama; it is humane, practical, coherent, viable and has the resources to carry it out.

Below, I detail an executive report on the progress of the Economic Recovery Plan, Phase 1, with concrete actions and draft laws, as I promised to all Panamanians on July 1, 2020, 6 months ago:

• The Opportunity Banking Program that, as promised, began on Monday, August 3 of last year at the Savings Bank, a branch of December 24, has already disbursed funds for more than $3.4 million, benefiting 878 microentrepreneurs and new entrepreneurs, mostly young people and women.
• The Guarantee Fund of $50 million, for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, has granted guarantees for an amount of more than $3.2 million, to 937 beneficiaries.
• For micro, small and medium-sized companies, a loan program with soft interest rates, which as of December 2020 disbursed $125 million through private and state banks.
• The Panama Agro Solidario Program approved 1,112 loans for the sum of $26.6 million and has disbursed 1$1 million.
• The Recovering My Neighborhood Plan, which has already started in El Chorrillo, has put out to tender works for a total investment of $86.7 million, impacting 16,965 families and creating 6,086 direct jobs in the neighborhoods. This program also includes the neighborhoods of Santa Ana, Barraza, Curundu, Los Libertadores, Tuira and Chucunaque, Complejo Guadalupe, Paraiso, Los Abanicos, Casco de Colon and Rio Alejandro, among others.
• The Housing Solidarity Fund has $80 million from the Panama Savings Fund. This fund consists of the delivery of a bond of $10,000 for the initial payment of the first home, whose application value increased to $70,000. For the use of this fund, 8,540 requests have been received, of which 4,691 were approved, with a disbursement of $42.5 million, benefiting 4,200 families.
• The liquidity component of the Special Fund for the Strengthening of Bank Credit for $1 billion. Of these funds, $500 million will be allocated to guarantee the soundness of the Panamanian financial system and another $500 million to facilitate financing of the most affected sectors of the economy – sectors such as construction, commerce, restaurants, hotels, innovation, science and technology, agro-industries, industries, exports, storage and distribution, and tourism.
• In this sense, the National Bank of Panama, in 2020, disbursed in corporate and consumer loans the sum of $1.441 billion. For its part, the Caja de Ahorros, in its 2020 economic recovery program, disbursed loans to micro, small and medium companies, mortgages, consumer, corporate and factoring, for $401 million.
• As I promised, an authorization period was approved to not pay taxes based on the CAIR, receiving 838 applications, of which 772 have been approved.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indisputable that, in these circumstances determined by the pandemic, countries’ economic reactivation necessarily involves the participation of the state as a promoter and facilitator of investments. This is precisely what our government is doing with the development of public infrastructure works at the national level.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) – quoted by BBC News in a news item published last December – Panama is the second country in Latin America, after Peru, with the highest economic growth projection for this year, at 5.5%.

According to ECLAC, despite the problems caused by the pandemic, Panama maintains a good risk rating from international agencies, which, together with a rebound in world trade, will positively influence the activities of the Panama Canal , through which 6% of world trade passes.

ECLAC also says that Panama expects an increase in internal trade, financial services and construction, which is a fundamental part of our Economic Reactivation Plan.



Panamanians and Panamanians,

In this sense, our Economic Reactivation Plan, Phase 1, includes public infrastructure works that are underway, which generate employment and demand for goods and services.

Among others I mention some:

• Last month, after more than eight years of claims and delays, the contract was signed to start the construction of the Children’s Hospital.
• Also, after its abandonment by the last two administrations, we have begun to develop in the City of Health, 300 beds for patients with Covid, 80 for intensive care units and 220 for moderate and semi-intensive patients.
• Metro Line 3, whose work begins this dry season, is an investment of more than $2.500 billion, which in its construction phase will generate more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs and will benefit more than half a million residents of Panama Oeste .
• The beginning of the construction of the Extension of Line 1 of the Metro to Villa Zaíta, whose order to proceed was delivered on December 14. They are already carrying out preliminary activities to start physical work in this month of January.
• The design and construction for the rehabilitation and widening of the La Concepción-Cuesta de Piedra-Volcán highway, Province of Chiriquí, investment of $84.3 million, length of 31km, 30% done.
• The rehabilitation of the Vía Atalaya-Mariato-Quebro-Flores, in the Province of Veraguas, investment of $78.6 million, length 113km, 4% done.
• The rehabilitation of the CPA-El Jagüito-Calobre Highway, Coclé and Veraguas Provinces, investment of $16.3 million, length of 31km, 5% done.
• The rehabilitation of the Pedasí-Los Asientos-Cañas highway, in the Province of Los Santos, investment of $18 million, length of 40km, 60% done.
• Continuation of the construction and maintenance works for the expansion and rehabilitation of the highway of the Bridge of the Américas-Arraiján section, in the Province of Panamá Oeste, an investment of $370 million, length of 10km, 31% done.
• The rehabilitation of the Gatún-Bateria 35-Achiote-Piña-Río Indio-Miguel de la Borda highway, in the Province of Colón, an investment of $42 million, length of 67km.
• The construction of the Guayabito-Cerro Tólica Highway, in the Ngäbe-Bugle Region, investment of $15.3 million, length of 19 km.
• The rehabilitation of 266 km of production roads in seven provinces, all awarded.
• The construction of the Miguel Alba School in Soná, which is in progress, with 39% physical progress, as well as the Simeón Valderrama School in Coclé, with a 96% progress and the IPTA Tonosí, in Los Santos, with 94% done.
• The construction of the Anastasia Miter School, in Palmas Bellas, Costa Abajo de Colón.
• The construction of the Oriente del Riscó School, in Bocas del Toro.
• The delivery of the order to proceed for the complete rehabilitation of the Gato Brujo Salinas Stadium in La Chorrera.
• The restart, at the end of this month, of the construction of the Mariano Bula Stadium in the city of Colón.
• The construction of the Altos de los Lagos II project, in Colón, with 1,600 housing units in progress.
• The culmination, this year, of the rehabilitation works in the 149 critical areas affected by Hurricane ETA and Hurricane IOTA.
• Additionally, to support the reactivation of the construction industry, the cement import duty was extended until December, from 10% to 30%.

All Panamanians,

Also in my report of July 1, 2020, I committed to submitting eight draft bills aimed at maintaining the greatest number of jobs and facilitating the reactivation of sectors ranging from micro, small, medium-sized companies, financial institutions and actions for attracting good foreign investment.

Also of my commitment acquired six months ago, I remind you that of the eight preliminary projects, seven were presented, except for the one for parity between the Colon Free Zone with the Panama-Pacific Special Economic Area, which will be presented before the National Assembly this month.

Of the seven bills presented, all were approved in the third debate and six are today laws of the republic:

• First, Law 159 of 2020, the EMMA Law, for the establishment of Multinational Manufacturing Companies, one of the activities that generates the largest amount of employment.
• Second, Law 158, which increases the amount of non-refundable seed capital for micro and small entrepreneurs from 1,000 to 2,000 balboas, benefiting mainly young people and women.
• Third, Law 189 of December 2020, which creates a special tax regime that reduces income tax on micro, small and medium-sized companies.
• Fourth, Law 157, which establishes temporary measures for the protection of jobs, agreed in the dialogue of the Tripartite Table between the government, organized workers and the private sector.
• Fifth, in tax matters, Law 160 was approved on September 1, 2020, which extended the tax amnesty period until December 31, 2020.
• Sixth, Law 161 of 2020, on tax incentives for prompt payment.
• Regarding the Agro-Parks bill, approved in the third debate, I partially vetoed it to improve it through minor corrections and enact it as law as soon as possible.

The other pending bill, that to reduce the salary to public officials, was presented in a timely manner by the executive but has not yet completed the process of the three legislative debates. However, this did not prevent many of us from voluntarily donating to the Panama Solidario Plan, with public officials contributing $1.8 million to date.

Additionally, Law 179 of Real Estate Leasing was approved, which will help to boost the inventory of real estate.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The government also has an aggressive public investment plan, through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) projects, to create jobs, boost the productive activities of the private sector and increase the consumption of goods and services — to put money on the streets.

Our projections for the first phase of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) projects estimate an approximate investment of more than $1.5 billion, very important for economic reactivation and for the creation of more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Among the projects that are evaluated and prioritized within this modality are:

• The standard maintenance program for 2000 kilometers of highways and roads that represent 80% of the country’s traffic. The first project is the maintenance of the Chepo-Cañita-Agua Fría-Yaviza highway, with a length of 247km, which will begin to be implemented this year.
• The highway that connects the districts of Arraiján and La Chorrera, through Veracruz, towards Puerto Caimito, known as the Vía Costanera.
• The Corredor Norte of David.


In addition, and despite limited resources, we have maintained the payment of the following subsidies:

• Opportunities Network, $40 per month, benefiting 40,982 families in extreme poverty.
• National Secretariat for Nutrition, $40 per month, which benefits 8,449 Panamanians.
• U-Pass, formerly known as Universal Scholarship, $40 per month per student. $74 million have been disbursed for 665,000 students from official and private schools, innovating this year with the digital payment method, which allows more than 105 thousand students, who previously received their payment in checks, to receive it today through your personal identity card.
• In addition to the U-Pass and to recognize and reward academic excellence, in this administration students in distinguished, outstanding positions ‚students in sports and fine arts disciplines and students with disabilities‚ receive a double benefit.
• To date, more than $21 million have been disbursed from the Double Benefit, benefiting 82,500 students.
• The Program 120 at 65, $120 per month per senior, benefiting 125,463 seniors.
• Guardian Angel, $80 per month, benefiting 19,106 people with disabilities.
• Subsidy for electricity, for $255 million from March to December 2020, which covers 1,118,000 users, that is, 95% of customers nationwide. This figure includes $90.7 million from the regular subsidy and $164 million from the COVID-19 subsidy
• Gas tank allowance.
• Subsidy for fuel, transportation and others.

These economic supports add up to a total of $1.651 billion each year and in some way benefit all Panamanians.

All Panamanians,

We also established the conditions so that no Panamanians would have their water and electricity services suspended.

In addition, we established a second moratorium that extends the suspension of payments until June 30, which includes:

• Mortgages
• Personal loans
• Small and medium business loans
• Loans to the agricultural sector
• Business loans
• Loans to the transport sector
• Auto loans
• Credit cards
• In this sense and according to the Superintendency of Banks, at the end of December 23, 2020 there are $23.481 billion of modified loan balances, from which 737,374 people have benefited.
• The mortgages modified by this initiative are up to $8.608 billion and have benefited 122,792 families.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On the subject of education, in Panama there are 3,107 official educational centers, of which 1,800 have Internet – either by microwave, satellite, and some with fiber optics — and 1,302 without Internet.

The difficult conditions imposed by the pandemic on the educational system accelerated important technological changes, which are going to be key in the transformations that we have proposed.

This is the 2020 executive report for education:

• First, the Internet access of 139 schools was changed to fiber optics, which is faster and more efficient.
• Second, Internet access was installed in 84 schools in the Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca, bridging the digital divide in education.
• Third, for this year 2021 and for the first time, we will have Internet access in 401 educational centers nationwide and 151 of them with fiber optics, thus closing the digital gap in Panama. In this challenge and to benefit the public schools of the country, this year we will create a trust between the public and private sectors, which guarantees good Internet to most of the public schools and the 300 most vulnerable corregimientos in the country, those of the Colmena Plan .
• Fourth, this year the Ministry of Education will deliver 25,000 high-capacity tablets, also to close the digital gap.
• Fifth, in 2020, the year of the pandemic, the Moodle learning manager with the Ester platform was installed in public schools, enriching the teaching-learning process, as is done in the main private schools in the country. Thus begins, in a pandemic, virtual education in the public schools of Panama.
• Sixth, this year we will be providing efficient water supply systems to 1,252 schools nationwide, including 172 schools that will have potable water for the first time.

Panamanians and Panamanians,

It should be noted that, in the midst of this crisis, Panama hosted the World Robotics Olympiad in its virtual version of 2020, with the participation of 1,357 students from 32 countries. In this year’s version, we hope to have more than 10.000 participants from 60 countries.

Also, in the context of social development and human welfare, the country took a historic step with the enactment of the Early Childhood Law,

All Panamanians,

In this legislative session we will present a draft law to ensure digital equity in educational centers, the right to free and compulsory education, with 14 years of schooling from pre-school to secondary education.

Additionally, we will be presenting the following proposals:

• Parity between the Colon Free Zone with the Panama-Pacific Special Economic Area.
• The creation of an Institute of Planning for Development.
• The creation of an Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology.
• A draft law for the Extinction of Domain.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In fiscal 2020public management faced unprecedented and extraordinarily difficult conditions.

The deteriorating fiscal situation inherited from past administrations, the serious health, economic and fiscal crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ravages of Hurricane ETA and Hurricane IOTA have been monumental challenges to the government’s ability to find a balance among health, social and economic demands.

Thanks to the efforts of the government team, today we can inform the country that at the close of the 2020 budget year and despite the complicated situation, the highest execution of the last 10 years was achieved, registering commitments of $21.56 billion.

This represents an execution of 90% of the total authorized budget of $24.056 billion, and shows the efficiency of a team that works, which has the purpose of moving the country forward.

The total accounts for $20.323 billion that were recognized — that is, 94% of the commitments — and it was possible to pay bills of $19,134 billion balboas, 94% of those presented.

It should be noted that the execution in the Central Government presents extraordinarily good achievements, since 95% of the allocated budget was committed, that is, 11,115 million balboas, of the 11,656 million authorized balboas.

Of the total committed, accounts for 10,744 million balboas were accrued, which represents 97% of accrued accounts and of these, 10,429 million balboas were paid, which represent 97% of the recognized accounts.

It has been the tenacity of an entire government team, which with creativity and ingenuity has faced these difficult tests.

Undoubtedly, with this effort, the government team contributes decisively to the maintenance of aggregate demand, which under current conditions represents a positive, countercyclical and fundamental policy, to guarantee liquidity in the national economy and social peace among Panamanians.


Now I want to pay homage to the thousands and thousands of Panamanians who, with bravery, patriotism and at risk to their lives have met and are meeting this enormous challenge

For example, the labor the canal and port workers, the MiBus and Metro workers, the bus, truck and taxi drivers, the people at the supermarkets, mini-supers, pharmacies and banks, the hotel personnel, the sanitation workers and the street sweepers.

Our doctors, nurses, health care workers in general, those who are part of the infection tracing and rapid response teams, law enforcement, firefighters, SINAPROC and the rescue workers and volunteers during the hurricanes.

Those communications media and journalists who objectively inform the citzenry.

The volunteers of the Plan Panama Solidario food assistance program, who day by day are on the forur packaging lines, those who risk their lives bringing food and hope, every month, to thousands of Panamanians.

The women and men of the fields and the seas, who ensure that we get quality food.

The personnel of the food logistics chain, the thousands of government workers who are at their posts every day so that public administration does not stall.

All Panamanians,

If indeed the pandemic affects all of us, it does not affect everybody equally. We have to focus attention on all Panamanians, but especially those who have been left behind in poverty and inequality, on those 777,000 Panamanians who live in multidimensional poverty in the 300 corregimientos that are the focus of Plan Colmena.

If we learn the lessons that this crisis has left us, we could arrive at a new social contract that lets us design public policies and make the necessary reforms to achieve a prosperous society, with law and order and above all justice, a more solidary society.

Six months ago I promised to conven Panamanians for a national dialogue, on the eve of our bicentennial year, the Pacto Cerrando Brechas, and I honored my word.

The sensible, the convenient, everything that unites us, should be said to be present in the national convocation for a Closing Breaches Pact, because unlike other convocations and thanks to technology, this is a broadly participatory, truly democratic and transparent pact.

All Panamanians, for the first time, have the opportunity to tell us what Panama wants. It’s a dialogue for everybody and not just a few, in which all citizens will be heard and their proposals will be taken into account.

In this year, 2021, exactly 200 years after independence, with the Pacto Cerrando Brechas we will build a bridge that will take us from today to a better tomorrow, a promise that will endure beyond the term of this administration.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I take the opportunity of this report to the nation to reiterate another two commitments that have been undertaken for a better Panama.

First, due to its importance for Panamanians and its technical complexity, the subject of the Social Security Fund, especially the disablility, old age and death program; and also the incorporation of informal workers and its administrative management, will be addressed in parallel with the Pacto Cerrando Brechas. In two weeks,, this next January 18, the process of addressing these subjects will begin.

Respecting the autonomy of the Social Security Fund, this process begins by defining the roadmap, setting the date of presentation of the financial statements and actuarial runs and the proposal of members of the national commission on that subject.

I urge the board of directors and the director general of the Social Security Fund to establish the roadmap and procedures for this important mission.

In that sense, and considering the immense effect of the pandemic on the economy of the world and of Panama, I reiterate that we must be creative, with short and medium-term options that do not involve parametric measures. The current balance among health, social and economic issues requires this realistic approach.

Second, I announce that, as of April, I will be calling again for the process for the appointment of two new magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice.

At the end of our administration, I will have the historical responsibility of having appointed si of the nine magistrates who make up the Supreme Court of Justice.

I reiterate the commitment that I have fulfilled with deeds, to appoint the most suitable. People, of character, committed to the best interests of the country and not to any president.

Panamanian people:

I end by paraphrasing Winston Churchill when he said: “The tasks that have been imposed on us are not beyond our strength, nor are they beyond what we can bear. As long as we have faith in our cause and the will to win, victory will be within our grasp. “

This January 2, I want to express the following to Panamanians: I have faith and I have the will to win. I am here for my country and for all Panamanians.

I have said it, I reiterate it and I underline it, I am willing to do what I have to do to move Panama forward.

The time for politics will come. Now, the only victory that matters is Panama’s.

Thank you.


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Editorial: A proper first response, but Panama needs to raise its guard

Minister tweet
“We regret the acts of violence that took place today at the Congress of the United States and are confident that democratic values prevail to protect the institutions and the respect for the rule of law.” A Twitter message from Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes.

Panama should do more than express regret

It’s fitting and proper that the Panamanian government joins most of the world’s democracies in its condemnation of the attack on the US Capitol.

While that was going on, a supporter of the capitol invaders posted a message on an English-language Facebook group defending the actions and saying that she would be moving to Panama. Down the thread she told the editor, a Panamanian citizen, to leave Panama.

Panama has a spotty record when it comes to incursions by US extremists. A Florida “patriot” militia that tried to set up shop in Bocas del Toro did take a police suggestion to leave Panama. But a Colorado far right radio personality who had served time in prison for fraud and who took his surname from the infamous Montana Freemen was allowed to come here, pitch bogus investment schemes and abuse the legal system when properly identified by The Panama News as a “hustler.”

And what of the Trump phenomenon? The Trump Organization ran an extortion attempt on the Varela administration. The US president’s family business leaned on the former Panamanian president in a vain attempt to override our laws and hold onto the management contract for the former Trump Ocean Club against the wishes of the condo owners.

For many months, as polls consistently showed that the US electorate was mostly fed up with Donald Trump and his lies and antics, his supporters had been saying two things of great interest to Panama. First, that if Trump lost the election they would not accept it and would stage rioting and an insurrection. Second, that a lot of them intended to leave the United States and relocate to Panama if Trump lost.

Panama has not allowed an influx of FARC people from Colombia. We have been more lax with people from far-right Colombian militias and allowed them to become a law enforcement problem here.

An influx of Venezuelans, virtually all of them opposed to the successive Chavista governments, has brought Panama mostly a ruined middle class looking for a better life but also among them a few tawdry racists seeking to revive old discriminatory practices that were banned by the Bolivarian republic, and a few activists who would bring Caracas political violence to Panama City.

The entry or passage of al Qaeda and Islamic State activists into or through Panama has been strictly forbidden.

Panama’s gringo community has all of the political divisions of the USA. Trump has supporters and detractors here. There are Panamanian neofascists who take inspiration from Donald Trump. It would disrupt and demean Panama to institute some sort of inquisition to remove the Trump supporters from our midst, based only on what they think. Better to talk such things out.

However, Panamanian immigration law provides that “Migration may expel the foreigner who… makes a justification for crime or incites racial, religious, political or cultural hatred.” For people wanting to come here to live, La Migra should do the basic background checks. If they have been urging people not to wear masks during this epidemic they should be excluded. If they defended the assault on the US capitol they should be excluded. If they are telling people who don’t agree with their politics to leave Panama, they should be excluded. If they come to preach hatred in the name of God, they should be excluded.

Moreover, if they come here with the Trump Organization business, they come here as functionaries of criminal organization and should be excluded. If they are with the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Boys, any militia movement other than the National Guard, any effort to propagate the QAnon conspiracy theories, any Klan or Nazi or white supremacist group — or now, after the riot at the US Capitol, the Donald Trump campaign organization — they should be excluded. In the latter cases, those in Panama who financially support such organizations should be treated the same as financial backers of the Islamic State. 

On Saturday Panama observes the sacrifices of those who died to end the partition of this country and make it a sovereign whole, the master of its own house. We can lose that if we allow an influx of people who have zero respect for such things. Let Trump supporters who want to leave the USA go somewhere else.


Sculpture by William Zorach (1936) at the National Postal Museum in Washington DC. This work in marble is one of the pride and joys of the New Deal, having been commissioned by the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration’s Treasury Section of Fine Arts. Wikimedia photo.

As the Constitutional Convention ended, Mrs. Powel asked: “Well, Doctor, what have we got? A monarchy or a republic?” He responded:

               A Republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.

Benjamin Franklin               

Bear in mind…

The free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society.

Emma Goldman

If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.

Arab Proverb

I think the poet is the last person who is still speaking the truth when no one else dares to. I think the poet is the first person to begin the shaping and visioning of the new forms and the new consciousness when no one else has begun to sense it; I think these are two of the most essential human functions.

Diane di Prima


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Federal judge blocks Trump order against lawyers for Afghan war crimes probe

ICC prosecutor
Her Honor wrote: “National security concerns must not become a talisman used to ward off inconvenient claims, a ‘label’ used to ‘cover a multitude of sins.'” Wikimedia graphic.

Manhattan federal judge enjoins Trump from vendetta against human rights lawyers

by Brett Wilkins — Common Dreams

A federal judge in New York on Monday issued an injunction against President Donald Trump’s June executive order sanctioning human rights lawyers cooperating with an International Criminal Court investigation of alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in Manhattan issued a preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from targeting four law professors with criminal or civil penalties for supporting the work of the ICC in its investigation of alleged extrajudicial killing, torture, rape, and other potential war crimes committed by military and CIA personnel and allied forces during the ongoing 19-year war in Afghanistan — the longest campaign of the so-called War on Terror.

“The court is mindful of the government’s interest in defending its foreign policy prerogatives and maximizing the efficacy of its policy tools,” Failla wrote. “Nevertheless, national security concerns must not become a talisman used to ward off inconvenient claims, a ‘label’ used to ‘cover a multitude of sins.'”

The ruling came in a case filed last October by the Open Society Justice Initiative and professors Diane Marie Amann, Margaret deGuzman, Gabor Rona, and Milena Sterio, who argued that Trump’s order violates their constitutional rights.

Failla determined that Trump’s order unconstitutionally prohibits free speech “so as to induce [ICC officials] to desist from their investigation of US and allied personnel.”

James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, welcomed Failla’s decision, saying in a statement that the injunction “affirms what we have said from the start: the executive order is misguided and unconstitutional, violating our fundamental rights to free speech.”

Win! Thanks to @OSFJustice for leading challenge to Trump admin’s dangerous effort to interfere with #ICC work. Now, @Transition46 @JoeBiden must rescind the Executive Order, which still threatens a broad swathe of HR lawyers, ICC staff, advocates, victims- & int’l justice. https://t.co/wydBHz9DTe

— Katherine Gallagher (@katherga1) January 5, 2021

The lawsuit came a month after Trump imposed sanctions targeting Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the ICC’s chief prosecutor and prosecution jurisdiction division director, respectively, in retaliation for their scrutiny of US wartime conduct.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared at the time that “the United States has never ratified the Rome Statute that created the court, and we will not tolerate its illegitimate attempts to subject Americans to its jurisdiction.”

In April 2019, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II announced it would not grant a request by Bensouda to open an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, including deliberate attacks on civilians and child soldier conscription by Taliban militants, torture and sexual violence by members of Afghan National Security Forces, and torture of prisoners held in US military and secret CIA prisons in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, and Lithuania.

The decision was condemned by human rights advocates, many of whom accused the ICC of bowing to intense pressure from the Trump administration after it barred Bensouda, a Gambian national, from entering the United States. The administration threatened further retaliation, including travel bans and economic sanctions, against the ICC.

In December 2019, the ICC convened a three-day hearing in The Hague, Netherlands at which prosecutors and Afghan victims of alleged US and Afghan government torture pleaded with court officials to reverse their April decision and conduct a war crimes probe. The ICC unanimously ruled in March 2020 that the investigation could proceed. Pompeo condemned the decision, calling the ICC “an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body.”

In July 2020, top Trump officials were further incensed after prominent Canadian jurist William Schabas submitted a request to the ICC to investigate senior US and Israeli officials for alleged war crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

Looking ahead to Trump’s January 20 departure from the White House, Goldston asserted that “rather than spending time defending an order in direct conflict with Washington’s historic support for international justice, the incoming administration should rescind it on day one.”

According to Reuters, the incoming Biden administration may consider lifting sanctions against the ICC officials, pending an evaluation of the role of sanctions in US foreign policy.


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The Panama News blog links, January 4, 2021


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

Travel Pulse, Carnival nudist cruise to call here

La Estrella, Muro colapso en la esclusa de Gatún

AP, Boat with 20 migrants headed toward Panama sinks off of Colombia

La Prensa, Cuba reduce en un 85% los vuelos que puede realizar Copa

Simple Flying, Latin American aviation: 2020’s recap

VOA, Aerolíneas EEUU prueban un ‘pasaporte sanitario’ para volar a Centroamérica

gCaptain, New Year’s Eve storm breaks North Pacific record

Economy / Economía

TVN, Ejecutivo presentará proyecto de Ley de Extinción de Dominio

AFP: US closes key money-laundering, tax evasion channel

El País, Los argentinos se refugian en las criptomonedas

Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología

TVN, 767 millones de intentos de ciberataques entre enero y noviembre en Panamá

Mongabay, Fauna silivestre: las mejores cámaras trampa del 2020

MIT Technology Review, The biggest technology failures of 2020

The Intercept, Facebook managers trash their own ad targeting

Financial Times, Egypt uncovers Pharaonic treasure trove

Inverse, Genetics reveal a new truth about ancient Caribbean peoples

Mongabay, Rainforests: 11 things to watch for in 2021

Inspection at the new field hospital in La Chorrera. Staff and supplies not included. Seguro Social photo.

News / Noticias

Metro Libre, Panamá registra récord de 57 defunciones por coronavirus en un día

TVN, Sigue el proceso para la extradición de Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares

El Siglo, Asesinan a funcionario del PRD en Colón

Telemetro, MINSA aclara … otra vez

Reuters, Mexico ready to offer asylum to Assange

France24, Celebrations in Argentina after landmark abortion law passes

EFE, Dos claras opciones para la presidencia de Ecuador

The Hill, AOC mulls challenging Schumer in 2022

NPR, How misinformation lit the fire under a year of political chaos in Michigan

The New Yorker, The Plague Year

Baraitser, Judgment in the Julian Assange extradition case

The National Aeronaval Service (SENAN) as air ambulance service for remote areas. SENAN photo.

Opinion / Opiniones

Zeller, et al: It’s time to act on decarceration in prisons to curb COVID-19

Stiglitz, How Biden can restore multilateralism unilaterally

Brennan Center: Democracy, justice, and civil liberties in 2021

John Stossel, Interview with Edward Snowden

Boff: Maradona, metáfora de la condición humana trágica

López, 2020: un año de penurias para los trabajadores

Ferrer, Que dice el médico

Sagel, 21 años de manejo exitoso del canal

Turner, 2021 y la infección comunitaria descontrolada

Gómez, La situación del país

Culture / Cultura

Blades, Armando Manzanero

Roberts, Beethoven: revolutionary times

Contagio: Arte urbano, un espejo crítico del contexto histórico en Latinoamérica

An animal-friendly simulator.

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vote final


Cortizo Cohen, Informe Extraordinario a la Nación


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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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Eat fire and chemical death, garden strippers!

smart way to track them
The missing white part of the orange created the trails for terrible retaliation. Photo by John Douglas.

You can push a vegan organic permaculture farmer just so far…

by John Douglas, the lazy man organic permaculture farmer

You know all about how easy it is to follow ant trails, Just walk out there and follow the trail.

But MAYBE you don’t know the whole story.

Some, with the round nests, are our friends.

Some do NOT follow the same trail so there is nothing to find or follow.

Some just party all night long. Can’t see ’em.

Some eat LOTS OF LEAVES! So what to do about the leaf devouring, night partying, no trail leaving, non-Google Map using, mofos?

Tears in eyes, I asked Demetrio, my right-hand man, to stay the night.

So he ate a lot of oranges.

And peeled them, and threw them around.

At 8 o’clock, flashlight in hand, out he went. By then the ants were heading back to their nests, with the visible white treasures showing. He followed them to seven different nests hidden in my jungle.

Coconut meat also works.

Next day they got burned for starters. Then out came the Hormitox.

Wow! Just so simple when you have a real, and really observant, campesino around.

Case settled.

And, yeah, I know, I do call myself an organic permaculture farmer. But they were stripping my farm and I had no other ideas.

Got questions or ideas about your tropical farm or garden? You may want to consult with John Douglas, who was a Peace Corps organic permaculture expert here and is just starting a new farm. His email is Johnarthurdouglas@yahoo.com.


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