Part of Curundu, now in the way of the National Police headquarters expansion
photos by Eric Jackson
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Bayano digital, Denuncian plan de privatización del Canal de Panamá
Hydro International, New electronic navigation charts needed for expanded canal
Hellenic Shipping News, New Panama Canal isn’t expected to attract more tankers
South China Morning Post, HK company defies Nicaragua Canal doomsayers
SB Nation, Wild soccer action as Panama beats Bolivia
Video, Messi et al rout Panama
Goal.com, Chile 4 – Panama 2
Australian Financial Review, The Panama Papers and Turnbull’s $3 million windfall
Colombia Law & Business, Who is on the Clinton List and can they get removed?
Eyes on Trade, US agro exports lag under trade deals
Campanella, Generation Jobless
China Post, Tsai hoping for stronger Taiwan-Panama ties
Nikkei Asian Review, US strings in Tsai visit to Panama?
Caribbean News Now!, Marijuana conversation advances in CARICOM
Página 12: MORENA, nuevo actor en México
The Independent, Massive swing to Brexit
Christian Science Monitor, Panama’s original nations use drones to protect their land
The New York Times, Is shell shock more physical than emotional?
Science Daily, Saving North America’s salamanders and newts
Fortes & Chazkel, Latin Americanists say “no” to the coup in Brazil
Blades, Los sucesos de Orlando
Stiglitz & Schiffrin, Learning from Nambia
It was to be moved out to Juan Diaz by the Martinelli regime and part of it was torn down to make room for the adjacent new Electoral Tribunal headquarters. We could argue and analyze why the move never happened and how good or bad a thing that failure (or delay) has been — some other time. For now the Mercado de Abastos stays where it is, slightly expanded here and there, quite a bit more chaotic, but still the bastion of small-time capitalism that Panama City’s more discerning and budget-conscious consumers ought to know.
Diez años de recesión han rematado en la insolvencia del gobierno de Puerto Rico y la quiebra de la economía del país. El drama boricua empezó antes que la crisis global que en 2008 emergió en Wall Street, y ahora contribuye a hacer más transparente pero más insoluble la situación de la isla. O, para ser más exactos, que ahora destapa el fracaso fiscal y económico del régimen colonial, tragedia social en la que ese régimen ha atrapado a la nación puertorriqueña, y hace imposible resolver el problema mientras ese régimen subsista.
La situación, entre otras consecuencias, no solo ha disparado la pérdida de empleos y el deterioro de los ingresos, sino la mayor estampida migratoria que la isla haya sufrido y el colapso de sus instituciones públicas. Por ejemplo, las familias quedan sin seguro de salud y los hospitales sin insumos, y solo en el año 2015 más de 3,000 médicos abandonaron el país. Un efecto de ese colapso en el campo sanitario es la proliferación del zika que, a su vez, amenaza al turismo, rubro que aún funcionaba.
La deuda pública del Estado Libre Asociado pasa de 72 mil millones de dólares, según su gobierno. Ella viene de que por más de una década ese gobierno financió sus actividades contrayendo deudas, hasta agotar su crédito. Con una reacción demasiado tardía, ahora el Congreso de Washington considera la propuesta de crear por cinco años una Junta de Control Fiscal para reestructurar dicha deuda y reordenar la administración de la economía del país. Los integrantes de la Junta serían nombrados por la Casa Blanca, y su prioridad será garantizar el pago de la deuda a los bonistas de Wall Street, incluso en detrimento de los servicios sociales a la población de la isla.
Esa Junta tendría la facultad de aprobar el presupuesto, la emisión de leyes y las inversiones en infraestructura por encima de los órganos y autoridades electos del gobierno local y de la opinión pública boricua. Es decir, representa la intervención directa de Washington en el manejo de las funciones medulares del gobierno puertorriqueño y la cancelación de su supuesta autonomía. Esto exhibe al llamado Estado Libre Asociado (el ELA) como una farsa y hace más ostensible la relación que de veras existe entre ambas partes.
Como observa Rubén Berríos, mientras el interés de Estados Unidos era multiplicar la dependencia y los préstamos para mantener esa colonia a flote, el ELA prevalecía. Pero ahora su prioridad es cobrar esos préstamos.
Tarde y mal salen a despotricar contra la Junta los líderes y candidatos de los dos partidos tradicionales del sistema colonial, el autonomista Partido Popular Democrático (PPD), que busca mantener el estatus colonial del ELA como un territorio que pertenece a Estados Unidos sin ser parte de ese país; y el anexionista Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) que aboga por convertir a la isla en un estado de los Estados Unidos.
Ambos ven la Junta como un escollo, el primero porque reduce al gobierno a la figura de un monigote pintado en la pared, y el segundo como un desvío que los aleja del propósito de ser parte de la Unión norteamericana.
Para decepción de los autonomistas del PPD, Washington no asume el papel de gastar en sacarle las castañas del fuego al sistema endeudado sino el de tranquilizar a los acreedores. El discurso de que harán lobby por continuar siendo un ELA sin Junta pertenece a tiempos pasados y, al final de cuentas, un colonialismo sin Junta fue, precisamente, lo que hundió a la isla y su pueblo en su presente crisis.
Y por lo que se refiere a los anexionistas del PNP, integrar a Puerto Rico como un nuevo estado de la Unión es algo que está muy lejos de interesarle a los norteamericanos. Sin importar cuánto pudieran votar los isleños por ser parte de Estados Unidos, ningún gobierno ni ningún congreso de Washington ‑‑ni la mayoría de sus electores‑‑ estarán dispuestos a admitir a una isla latina y quebrada en su Unión. Esa no es una opción que dependa de los electores boricuas, como tampoco dependería de los votantes mexicanos o los centroamericanos.
Trasnochadas mistificaciones. Como señala Berríos, la causa del problema no es la Junta sino el régimen colonial; rechazar la Junta es necesario pero eso dista de ser suficiente.
La cuestión radica en que la comedia política del ELA, cuya evolución lo ha convertido en tragedia, no cabe entre las opciones viables del Siglo XXI. El ELA es un fantasma de tiempos agotados. La única alternativa real es pactar un proceso descolonizador conducente a hacer de Puerto Rico una república independiente, soberana y sostenible. Opción que, por otro lado, ya dejó de contradecir los intereses norteamericanos, y antes bien ayudará al Washington actual a resolver un problema que hoy solo puede agravarse.
After weeks of political turbulence, dominated by dense clouds of distortions, the desire to destroy and visceral rage, but fortunately with some flashes of light, we write this meditation about the Light. For cosmologists, light is still an impenetrable mystery. We only have the barest understanding of it, as waves and particles.
Independently of the question about the nature of light, we profess a firm belief that the Light has more force than darkness. The small flame of a match is enough to ban darkness from a whole room.
That is what has moved us to courteously and reverently publish this small reflection.
From the depths of the universe emanates a mysterious Light. It touches our head, exactly where we have the hard section that separates the right side of the brain from the left. This separation is the source of our dualities, feelings on one side and thinking on the other, on one side the analytical ability and on the other, our capacity for synthesis. On one side. our sense of objectivity, and on the other, subjectivity; on one side the world of the ends and on the other the universe of meaning an spirituality.
The beatific Light from the Highest suspends the division of our brains and creates a union. We think lovingly and love thoughtfully. We work at writing poems. We combine art with leisure, but with a condition: that we open ourselves completely to the Light from the Highest.
We at Tikkun reaffirm our commitment to the safety of and respect for the GLBTQ community.
“They” are “us”–we are both straight and gay and bi and trans, Jewish and Christian and Muslim and Buddhist and Hindu and earth-based religions of every variety, young and old, religious and secular humanists and atheists.
We will not let any sector of “us” get scared that the rest of us will abandon them. Just as I said at Muhammed Ali’s funeral that Jews will stand with Muslims in the face of growing Islamophobia (all the more needed now that some politicians are trying to use the horror of mass murder of gays in Orlando by a supposedly Muslim young man to justify repression against Muslims), so we will not let gays become an “acceptable” target for the haters. Not gays, not anyone.
We are one global “we,” and we must never let any part of us become the target that is somehow made a “legitimate” target.
But true solidarity needs to go beyond standing with the victims of hate crimes, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, xenophobia and all the other variants of hatred. True solidarity should lead us to the imperative to develop strategies to heal the distortions and pains that lead people into communities of hate.
Our strategies must separate the hateful behavior from the pain in people that underlies their misdirected rage and sometimes violent actions. We must develop ways to speak to those deep psychic wounds and hurts and show people that there are better and more effective strategies to deal with those pains than to act them out on others, whether that acting out be in the form of demeaning or raping or making war against others, or in the form of mass politics of hatred.
That’s why in the Fall 2016 issue of Tikkun I’ll develop a whole approach to understanding these movements of hate and demobilizing them. I’ll lay out a strategy for an Empathy Tribe — not an empathy that brings us to an understanding that leads to passivity, but an empathy that can guide us to most effectively demobilize the hatred and redirect people’s pains in ways that could actually help alleviate them.
Not for a moment will this empathy entail lessening our outrage or commitment to fight against and resist every form of demeaning some “other.” And this is precisely what the interfaith and secular-humanist-and-atheist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives takes as one of its major foci — training people to become outreach organizers for empathy that can, over time, disempower hate and disconnect the inner allies of anger that gets manipulated into hatred, but to do so without disempowering our righteous indignation and desire to resist all forms of “othering.
So you are invited to learn about our worldview and approach to healing, and then join our Network of Spiritual Progressives and become part of a movement dedicated to developing the strategy and powerful interventions that will empower our most loving and caring selves and help us learn how to liberate that part of others who on the surface look like they are “too far gone.”
But right now, our grieving takes precedence over our strategizintg. So as a rabbi, I pray for the speedy recovery of the survivors of the Orlando massacre, for healing for the families of those who suffered loss or have a loved one now fighting for his or her life, for the whole glbtq community who are once again faced with the possibility of being open targets, for Muslims who are unfairly being blamed for the actions of one murderer (though we never find the media and the right wingers blaming all whites when it is a white man who is the murderer), and for all Americans.
We pray that Americans will move quickly and decisively toward eliminating all those assault rifles and mini-machine guns in the form or automatic weapons, and we pray for an end to the demeaning of others that is often part of the causal chain that feeds the murderous impulses of a few mentally deranged people who act out their murderous fantasies.
Let the healing begin!
Mientras el país encara la peor crisis de su historia –ya NADIE en el mundo confía en su institucionalidad– Panamá sufre una falta de liderazgo absoluta.
Don Juan Carlos Varela continúa fuera de contacto con la realidad; la clase política prefiere ocuparse con la repartición de las mieles del poder; el clero no cree que tengamos problemas; y los medios cierran filas con los políticos — para distraernos de la realidad que aquí ya nadie cree en nadie.
Y menos en la libertad de expresión: ninguno de los periodistas que la apoyaron para La Estrella y para El Siglo, hicieron igual cuando al tercer día de gobierno del presidente Varela se privó de la misma al Dr. Miguel Antonio Bernal.
Y a medida que avanza este gobierno anti-democrático, parecido pasó a Julio Miller, Candelario Santana, José Blandón, y otros. Y la campaña de saturación mediática pagada por el gobierno sobre la Ampliación (y lo que le seguirá….) comprueban que en Panamá no se da cabida al disenso contra la versión oficial de los hechos.
Ejemplo: ¿A usted se le ha informado a cuánto ascienden los ingresos que el Canal ampliado entregará al Tesoro Nacional y cuánto se destinará a las OTRAS esclusas que se planifica agregarle a la Ampliación?
Por la falta de orientación es que el señor Varela ya no mete UNA. Y con su falta de sentido común no cesará en sus desatinos, hasta que vea destruido lo que queda del país que legaremos a nuestras futuras generaciones.
Felizmente –y una vez más– a partir del lunes 13 de junio el Dr. Bernal retoma el micrófono a sus propias expensas (sin financiamiento oficial alguno), para difundir el sentido común sobre nuestros problemas nacionales.
In the 1960s, Mexican migrant farm workers within the United States endured countless challenges including low wages, inhumane conditions, and a lack of political rights. However, the actions of multiple labor unions over the course of several decades helped to resolve these unfavorable conditions, leading to heightened public awareness and gradual improvements as a result of mass organization. When considering the important figures who spearheaded the farm workers’ rights movement, names that come to mind include Larry Itliong, Dolores Huerta and perhaps most notably, Cesar Chavez. Leading the movement within the United States, Chavez worked tirelessly to guarantee collective bargaining rights to farm workers and to improve the conditions under which they labored. However, Chavez’s success would not have been possible without the help of his wife, Helen Chavez. Mrs. Chavez passed away on Monday, June 6, at the age of 88. To honor her memory The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) offers our reflections on her lasting impact on the farm workers movement and the rights of migrant workers in the United States today.
The progression of migrant workers’ conditions
Before World War II, agricultural production and Mexican immigration were not linked in an entirely dependent manner. Though Mexican immigrants were “the backbone of [the] agricultural labor force” during the 1920s, the US government shifted gears and encouraged immigrants to return to Mexico during the 1930s to provide more jobs to already struggling pools of Americans during the Depression.1 However, as historian and immigration expert Kelly Lytle Hernandez explains, the “demand for agricultural laborers in the southwestern United States increased in order to meet the needs of wartime production.”2 To satisfy this demand, the United States government implemented the Bracero program, which solidified a process of long-term immigration flows and cemented the necessity of a fixed level of Mexican laborers in the US agricultural industry.
The Bracero program became a cornerstone of US-Mexico relations. During the program’s tenure from 1942 to 1964, over 4.6 million Mexican immigrants arrived in the United States on labor contracts, primarily agricultural.3 However, the program attracted significant controversy for the unequal power relations under which Mexican migrants were forced to labor and for the abuses they had to endure. According to the Bracero History Archive, “Mexican and native workers suffered while growers benefited from cheap plentiful labor.”4 Though the program ended in 1964, it left lasting repercussions on the American farming industry. The patterns of heightened migration continued, and wages for migrant farm workers dropped to incredibly low levels due to the restructuring of various stateside agricultural industries.5 These developments institutionalized the agricultural industry’s expectation of — and reliance on — cheap immigrant labor as the norm. It also led migrant farmworkers to be viewed as just another input commodity, to be acquired at the lowest possible price, while allowing them to be dehumanized, and deprived of political rights.6 It was these civil rights violations that Helen Chavez would fight against throughout her life as an advocate.
Ironically, during this same time, workers in most other American industries had won the right to collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Act (1935) and Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) enshrined the right for workers to collectively organize and be treated fairly by employers. However, both laws excluded farm workers from their protections.7 Thus, the influx of migrant laborers from the Bracero program, in combination with the lack of protections for farm workers, meant that millions of immigrants were forced to work under dire conditions and receive insufficient wages that led to starvation, and were denied an effective outlet to collectively organize to defend their rights.
From farmer to activist
Helen Fabela Chavez was born in 1928, and was raised within this context of injustice. She was the child of Mexican immigrants living in California, and at only seven years old she started working to support her family during the Depression.8 When she was fifteen years old her father passed away, and she left school to return to the family farm. Undoubtedly, her early childhood experiences informed her understanding of the struggles of migrant workers as she witnessed the injustices they faced firsthand.9 In 1948, at the age of nineteen, she married Cesar Chavez, and the pair had eight children over the next decade.10 Cesar found work as an activist for Mexican-American farm laborers, and became all the more frustrated with the institutional issues of the agricultural industry. Together, Helen and Cesar Chavez began to organize farmers across California; Cesar founded the National Farm Workers Association (which would later become United Farm Workers – UFW) in 1958, and mobilized farmers to fight for their rights.11 Ultimately, they envisioned the creation of a national farm workers union, which would strive to end the exploitation of farm workers and create a more equitable labor system.
From 1965 to 1970, the Chavezes fought for bargaining rights alongside thousands of farm workers, and saw many successes through strikes and protests. The famous 1968 Grape Boycott convinced 17 million Americans to stop purchasing the fruit.12 In 1975, the California Farm Labor Relations Act was passed, providing a milestone victory by protecting the right for farm workers to unionize and by instituting the necessary safeguards to ensure that migrant laborers could lead decent lives.13 Though the impact of the act itself has been criticized, there is no doubt that their movement “changed the way an entire generation thought about farm workers.”14
While Helen Chavez’s role in UFW was largely behind the scenes, her impact was far-reaching and vital. Although she “often had to raise the children by herself while Cesar was on the road,” she was by no means an idle figure in the movement.15 Her collaboration with her husband was a driving factor in making the achievements of the UFW possible in the first place. Cesar may have been the public spokesman and leader, but Helen dedicated herself to doing all the things that made the movement run such as, “keeping the books, walking the picket line and being arrested.”16 She occasionally even returned to the fields, working side by side with the laborers she was fighting to uplift. Her intertwining roles as administrator, laborer, and family caretaker made her a role model for migrant workers and women alike. She was “fiercely determined and strong willed,” and never faltered on her “deep convictions” for civil and human rights.17
Though her husband died in 1993, Helen Chavez continued as an activist for Latino communities across the United States. She was named Latina of the Year in 2008 by the National Latino Peace Officers Association for her promotion of “non-violent social change” and her work to “improve the lives of the poor and disenfranchised.”18 In a statement released by UFW on June 7, the union describes Helen Chavez’s legacy as the following: “her consistent humility, selflessness, quiet heroism and fiery perseverance were at the heart of the movement she helped build,” and her actions changed “the lives of thousands of farm workers and millions of others who were inspired by La Causa (the cause).”19
There is still a great deal of progress to be made in regards to farm worker’s rights. However, Helen Chavez’s contributions to this cause, while often behind the scenes, helped push forward many improvements toward empowering agricultural laborers and migrant workers in the United States. Because of her inexhaustible advocacy, she should be recognized as an important figure in the history of Latino civil rights. Helen Chavez was an exceptional woman with a strong commitment to her community, and she will definitely be missed.
 Kelly Lytle Hernandez, “Mexican Immigration to the United States,” OAH Magazine of History23, no. 4 (2009): 25-26, http://0-www.jstor.org.oasys.lib.oxy.edu/stable/40506011.
 Ibid., 26.
 Doris Meissner, “US Temporary Worker Programs: Lessons Learned,” Migration Policy Institute (2004), accessed June 8, 2016, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/us-temporary-worker-programs-lessons-learned.
 “Labor Laws,” National Farm Worker Ministry, accessed June 8, 2016, http://nfwm.org/education-center/farm-worker-issues/labor-laws/.
 Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sanchez Korrol, “Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia” (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2006), 146, accessed June 8, 2016, https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0253111692.
 Robert Lindsey, “Cesar Chavez, 66, Organizer of Union for Migrants, Dies,” The New York Times, April 23, 1993, accessed June 8, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0331.html.
 Richard Griswold Del Castillo, “César Estrada Chávez: The Final Struggle,” Southern California Quarterly 78, no. 2 (1996): 201.
 Ibid., 200.
 “Helen Chavez, Widow of Civil Rights Activist Cesar Chavez, Dies at 88,” NBC Bay Area, June 6, 2016, accessed June 7, 2016, http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Widow-of-Civil-Rights-Leader-Cesar-Chavez-Dies-at-88-382044941.html.
 Jill Leovy and Jocelyn Y. Stewart, “Helen Chavez dies at 88; widow of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez,” Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2016, accessed June 7, 2016, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-helen-chavez-20160606-snap-story.html.
 “Helen Chavez, Widow of Civil Rights Activist Cesar Chavez, Dies at 88.”
 “Passing of Helen Chavez,” United Farm Workers, June 6, 2016, accessed June 8, 2016, http://www.ufw.org/_board.php?mode=view&b_code=news_press&b_no=18530&page=1&field=&key=&n=1185.
Since late March Democrats Abroad has been kind of a mess. Bernie Sanders won 71 percent of the primary vote here and the chair at that time, Hillary Clinton supporter Michael Long, quit in a huff. The vice chair, who under the chapter’s bylaws automatically becomes chair when the that position becomes vacant, didn’t want the post. The bylaws say that, different from all other offices, when the vice chair’s post becomes vacant it must be filled an election rather than an appointment.
Nothwithstanding the bylaws and without consulting the membership or the full board — which already had vacancies and a chronic no-show — the vice chair became chair, purported to appoint secretary Sean Hammerle as vice chair, then she resigned to allow him to become chair, after which he purported to reappoint her as vice chair. This reporter, who was a board member at large, objected to this but Hillary Clinton supporter Hammerle was recognized as chair by folks higher up in Democrats Abroad as legitimate. The upshot of this was that for the voting at the global level in a May Democrats Abroad convention in Berlin, all of Panama’s votes went to Hillary Clinton supporters notwithstanding the primary result.
Hammerle moved to replace the old elected board of directors that had meetings that were open to the membership with a secret “executive committee” composed entirely of his appointees, drawn mainly from members of the American Society of Panama. He moved to expel this reporter from the board in a scheduled “membership meeting” at a location to be kept secret. But Hammerle is not who and what he said that he was, and a rather strident political battle was joined. Within a few days he and his “executive committee” resigned.
That left the board of directors without a quorum and implicitly dissolved pending the election of a new board. This reporter has stayed on as the caretaker of the Democrats Abroad Panama Facebook pages and a transition team of former vice chair Phil Edmonston, former chair Ramona Rhoades, informal planning committee host Abby Eden and this reporter set out to pick up the pieces. The transition team called for a June 11 membership meeting to choose a nominating committee, which will consider applications from those who would want to be on an entirely new board of directors to be chosen at a July 23 membership meeting and come up with a suggested slate of officers and board members. The people who show up at the July 23 meeting can accept the slate or part of it, or elect other people. Under the bylaws nominations from the floor are acceptable.
The June 11 meeting was held at the Balboa Yacht Club and there was online participation but with an only partially functioning WebX service provided by the Democrats Abroad Americas Region. The site for the July 23 meeting has yet to be determined, and the online format is also up in the air — but under discussion are a Balboa Union Church venue and a Skype connection for those participating online. See the Democrats Abroad Panama party or open group Facebook pages for this information.
Meanwhile the nominating committee, chaired by Phil Edmonston, has already taken several names of folks willing to serve on the new board and is taking more. If you are interested in serving on the Democrats Abroad Panama board of directors, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 16.
This board, to take office on July 23, will be at the center of the 2016 local Democratic campaign, supporting the party ticket from the presidential nominee down to the candidates for the lowest level local offices on the ticket.
US citizens voting from abroad vote by absentee ballot in the place where they last resided in the United States, or in the case of young voters who never lived in the USA, the last place in the States where a parent who is a US citizen lived. (Quick rule of thumb — will you be 18 by election day and do you have a US passport? You are eligible to vote.) Voter information and registration, including an effort to get more of the US-Panamanian dual citizens to exercise their voting rights as Americans, will be an immediately important part of local Democrats’ work.
Perhaps there will be one or more debates with local Republicans. Very likely Democrats will gather to watch any televised debates between the US presidential nominees. There will probably be events, presentations and literature to explain the Democrats’ stands on issues facing the United States, some of these things in Spanish as well as English.
The old board that was left without a quorum and thus dissolved was originally elected for a two-year term early in 2015. The board elected on July 23 will serve until regular new elections to be held next year, probably in February. It’s essentially the local Democrats’ 2016 campaign steering committee.