Lo que dijo Varela en la ONU ~ What Varela said at the UN
videos de la ONU en español e inglés ~ UN videos in Spanish and English
The Panama Canal Authority administration, board of directors and advisory board are notorious men’s clubs, with a few exceptions. So, what to do when on a Friday some bad news and dubious suggested remedies come in from the troubled GUPC consortium? Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano didn’t have anything to say about it — the following Monday he was busy receiving an award from the Real Estate Brokers Association (ACOBIR) for excellence in running a public infrastructure project. Minister of Canal Affairs Roberto Roy also held his tongue — the following Tuesday he took off for Washington to speak to the American Chamber of Commerce. They left it to the sole female near the top of the canal administration, Ilya Espino de Marotta, to break the news softly through the most sympathetic to the ACP of all Panamanian media (because of lots of business, family and political ties between their respective managements), La Prensa.
The news does look bad, and it may be a lot worse than GUPC and the ACP let on. GUPC calls it a design problem with both sets of locks, a problem with not enough rebar. Widely published photos of core samples suggest defective, improperly poured concrete. So will a retrofit with some 18-guage rebar and some sealant make for a construction job that will last the specified 100 years? Or will it not? And if it won’t, will the current ACP management just accept it anyway in order to avoid being too far behind deadline, and leave it for a future set of execs when things start to crumble? Or if it won’t, will the ACP insist that the defective work be torn out and redone? The canal expansion was originally scheduled to be done in August of 2014, and after several delays the open for traffic date has been moved back to April of 2016, but if parts or all of both new sets of locks have to be torn out and redone it will mean another major delay and probably bankrupt one or more of the companies in the GUPC consortium.
The US military prosecutors’ theory is that Master Sergeant Omar Velez murdered Vanesa Rodríguez but it wasn’t premeditated. Velez’s defense lawyers are arguing that the woman’s death at a Panamanian National Police training site in Los Santos was an accident. If Panamanian prosecutors have a theory about what happened, they aren’t saying: the official position is that this crime is none of their business.
The arguments about what happened and what to call it will happen sometime next year in North Carolina. On September 28 in a military courtroom on Fort Bragg a series of pretrial motions made by the defense were heard. One of the defense requests was to delay the trial until next March and as the prosecutors did not object the military judge, Colonel Christopher T. Fredrikson, granted that postponement.
The motions that ought to be the most politically controversial, but probably won’t be, were attempts to suppress evidence taken in a search of Velez’s Panama apartment and from the taking and testing of blood and urine samples from the soldier. It’s about wheher this “War on Drugs” operative, assigned to the US Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization and sent to Panama to train police officers to be soldiers who carry out US anti-drug policies, was himself under the dangerous influence of steroids at the time. Steroids are and have been a major problem in the US Armed Forces and information about the extent of it is often suppressed by the military itself or by the politicians who give them their orders because it’s embarrissing and could have some far-reaching legal consequences. At Velez’s initial booking steroids did not enter into the story, by a US Army magistrate issued warrant to search Master Sergeant Velez’s quarters in Panama, and because steroids were found, issued a warrant for the drug testing. (At about the same time The Panama News raised the steroids issue, because photos of the soldier suggested that and because friends of the slain woman told this reporter that Velez used steroids.) Velez is charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, adultery, obstruction of justice, possession of steroids and use of steroids. He could get life in prison. The judge did not rule on the defense motions to suppress the steroids evidence. If he rules in favor of the defense on those points it would remove the steroids charges from the case.
Were the case to have been tried here, there probably would not have an instant decision like that of the US authorities to declare the crime unpremeditated. Certainly a “roid rage” theory of the crime would suggest a murder arising from a sudden emotional outburst. However, Velez was in Los Santos training National Police lince units — the cops on the motorcycles with automatic weapons — and called Rodríguez to come from Panama City, where she lived and studied law at the University of Panama, to visit him in Los Santos. He killed her there, near a National Police training facility on the Guarare River. He was in the process of burying the body when he was detected and arrested by some of the police officers he had been training. That Velez called Rodríguez to the place where he killed her might suggest premeditation.
However, Velez was quickly surrendered to the US Embassy by Panamanian authorities pursuant to a secret Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) made between the Martín Torrijos and George W. Bush administration. This agreement, which is not a treaty that was presented to either the US Senate or the Panamanian National Assembly for ratification, provides that US military personnel sent to Panama on training missions get diplomatic immunity.
On the same day that Velez was in court, in the Dominican Republic that country’s Constitutional Tribunal struck down a SOFA that gave diplomatic immunity not only to US “War on Drugs” military personnel but also to civilian mercenaries such as people from DyncCorp or Blackwater/Xe. That SOFA also gives diplomatic cover for American military and civilian personnel who come to the DR on disaster relief missions.
The Dominican court’s decision was unanimous. All 12 judges agreed that the SOFA is “a violation of national sovereignty and, consequently, the Dominican state.” So far neither the US nor the Dominican administrations have commented on the decision. SOFAs are well nigh ubiquitous wherever American soldiers go. However, they are increasingly controversial in the world, particularly because the US justice system has usually neither sought nor done justice for cases of torture or other serious violations of international law. Although a limited number have since returned for special operations against the Islamic State, US troops were withdrawn from Iraq when the government of that country refused to sign a SOFA providing immunity to US troops.
The play The 39 Steps is an adaptation of the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock movie. The play is about a man living a boring life when he meets a mysterious woman who claims to be a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered and he, falsely accused of her death, runs from the law. This initiates an adventure that will take him all across Great Britain to find the true murderers and uncover the secret behind the mysterious 39 steps.
This adaptation requires that all the adventure from the movie be reenacted by a four-person cast interpreting multiple roles. One actor plays the hero, one actress plays the three women with whom he finds himself romantically involved, and two additional actors play all the other role in the play: heroes, villains, men, women, children, and occasionally, inanimate objects. It is a spy comedy that reflects multidimensional talent from its actors, accompanied by an exciting light design. This play will be presented on the 8-10, 15-17 and 22-24 of October at 8:00 p.m. under the direction of Giancarlo Benedetti and Rob Getman.
Author: John Buchan, adapted for screen by Alfred Hitchcock, adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow
Directors and Producers: Giancarlo Benedetti & Rob Getman
Assistant Producers: Stephanie Lezcano & Maria Isabel Vega
Ana Victoria Esquivel
Jose Manuel Lopez
Reserve tickets here: http://anconguild.com/reservations
About The Theatre Guild of Ancon
The Theatre Guild of Ancon is a national treasure in Panama since it is the oldest theatre in continuous operation. It was founded in 1950 by a group of Panamanian and American citizens who were interested in developing English language theatre in Panama. Our productions run the gamut of the theatrical spectrum — from modern dramas to comedies and family entertainment to musicals. Our stage has been the first step for performers such as Robert Loggia and Rubén Blades, successful directors such as Bruce Quinn and John Aniston (Jennifer’s father), and other professionals like Rick Belzer, currently a lighting designer on Broadway, and George Scribner, currently a Walt Disney imagineer. Today, the Theatre Guild is a nonprofit community theatre dedicated to developing the performing arts in Panama.
On September 28, 2005 rector Gustavo García de Paredes prevailed upon the University of Panama faculty council do declare Dr. Miguel Antonio Bernal, a constitutional law professor at the law school, who got his doctorate at the University of Bordeaux, “non grata” for among other denigrating things, calling the self-proclaimed “Rector Magnifico” García de Paredes, who bought a supposed doctoral diploma from a Franco-era diploma mill in Spain, “señor” instead of “doctor.” University attempts to fire Bernal and expel him from the campus have met with resistance from his students, public indignation and mixed results in the court. Most recently the high court ruled that it would be disproportionate for the university to fire Bernal for the sort of disrespect that characterized his expressions about the rector.
To mark the tenth anniversary of his being declared non grata, Bernal’s students gave him a birthday cake.
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El GECU de la Universidad de Panamá y la Fundación pro Artes Escénicas y Audiovisuales (FAE) anuncian que el FESTIVAL DE CINE ICARO PANAMÁ 2015 se realizará en octubre en las dos ciudades que ya son sus anfitrionas habituales, Panamá, del 21 al 28, y David del 26 al 30, en asocio con Casa Comal de Guatemala y Mente Pública, bajo los auspicios de la Dirección General de Cine del MICI y con la colaboración de la Embajada de Guatemala, el Centro Cultural de España, la Alianza Francesa y el Teatro Amador.
Buscando ampliar sus públicos, en esta edición el evento contará en la capital con varias locales de exhibición, siendo ellos el Teatro Amador para la apertura, el Centro Cultural de España y la Alianza Francesa, espacios culturales que se unen como aliados a partir de este año, y el Estudio Multiuso del GECU que es desde sus inicios su sede oficial. Mientras que en la provincia chiricana las proyecciones se realizarán en la Universidad OTEIMA.
La programación del Icaro Panamá incluirá una selección de las películas centroamericanas premiadas en el anterior Festival Internacional de Cine Icaro en Centroamérica, de Guatemala; una selección de películas de otras partes del mundo también galardonadas en dicho certamen y la presentación en exclusiva de las películas panameñas seleccionadas por un jurado local para representar al país en dicha competencia este año en noviembre próximo.
Como actividad complementaria y por segundo año se desarrollará el segmento de Formación y Nuevas Ideas, a cargo de Mente Pública, compuesto por conversatorios y charlas didácticas dirigidas especialmente a jóvenes interesados en hacer cine, además de un nuevo componente, la convocatoria a Uno a Uno – Pitch de proyectos de cortos, que seleccionará un ganador que se hará acreedor a incentivos para la realización de su trabajo.