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Volume 16, Number 1
January 30, 2009


Also in this section:
Editorials: Gómez was right to catch Sáez; and The legal headaches of climate change
Sirias, Taking the walk
Gilmour, Oranges
Lehman, The gringo lawyer's tale
Leis, The wrong way to power
Jackson, Election rule changes
Grant, Haiti: the passengers of memory
Alvares de Azevedo, Brazil's Haitian cross
Feinsilver, Haitian crisis a chance to improve US-Cuban ties
Esquivel, Bleak prospects for Haiti's recovery
Amnesty International, Protection of human rights must accompany relief efforts in Haiti
Weisbrot, Media battles in Latin America not about free speech
Reporters Without Borders, Mexican radio journalist abducted and slain
Stimson, China can outgoogle Google
Committee to Protect Journalists, China hackers hit media companies and activists online
Oilwatch, It pays to keep the oil in the ground
Chan, Mixed progress toward world health goals
Gutman, Saint Pius XII?
Lerner, Obama wouldn't listen to warnings
Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor,
y ya, cartas al editor

All the best!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! May you and your newspaper be around for another 15 years (that's if 2012 don't come to pass).

Thank you for your friendship and support all these years.

May The Panama News continue to expand in readers (world-wide).


Tea Party guy wants non-conservatives to shut up

Dear Mr. Jackson,

I was reading your article on the Panamanian Jazz Festival with interest until I got to the part about the extremist teabaggers, (which by the way is a prejorative [sic] term, and I am sure you meant it as such), but as someone who was born in Panama and is a proud member of the Republican Party in the United States and fan of the Tea Party movement, I found your narrow mindedness insulting and shortsighted. In music, there is no right or left. Music is a universal language that should be enjoyed by all ideologies and since most Democrats (using a prejorative [sic] on my side), are dumb and dependent, and that leaves only we hard working conservatives who can afford to enjoy your jazz festival. You might want to keep that in mind. You had a lot of nice jazz links and I was going to share it with my thousands of friends on facebook but decided against it for the aforesaid reasons. Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views but then are shocked and offended that there are other views.

Jaime David de Leon

Doesn't like opinions on previous front page


You call it the front page, I call it an editorial. Was it not possible to share your love of jazz and write a professional journalist's article without all the local garbage to make a different point.

You should have been puffing the jazz festival only --- there's certainly plenty of info there.

name withheld

Editor's note: In response to both of the previous two letters, there have always been opinions on the front page, along with the photos, videos, news and cultural items. Although The Panama News format is unique in many ways for Panama, notice that in Panama most of the corporate mainstream daily newspapers, the Catholic Church's weekly, and the industry and labor union newsletters also feature opinion pieces on their front pages. In fact the acting deputy underassistant rabiblanco left in charge of the government with the president, vice president and most of the cabinet out of the country threw an unintentionally hilarious published hissy fit over one of La Prensa's front page editorial pieces.

And yes, Mr. de Leon, I am sure that the "keep the government's hands off of my Medicare" crowd objects to any opinion other than Glenn Beck's and Rush Limbaugh's being published and is ready and willing to shout it down if it can, whether or not it is published in the United States. Wasn't that their whole point of shouting people down at last summer's congressional town hall meetings? Excuse me if I omit the seig heil.

I must admit that I used the word "teabagger" in the context of a loudmouth who demands things of which she or he is unwilling to pay the price, selfish people who demand that others give up their rights in order to preserve their own privileges. Until it was pointed out to me I was unaware that there is another sense of the word with weird sexual connotations --- and I wouldn't hold a preference for that sort of thing against anybody.

Hard copy?

I enjoy your newspaper every day and today I find that I need a hard copy.

The article about the Lazy man's farm is incredible. I would like to send a copy to my friend in Spain. As she has radio communication only for her computer, she cannot receive attachments.

Please tell me where the Panama News is distributed.


Editor's note: With the exception of a very occasional special print edition, The Panama News has been published online only since 2001. The future of printed newspapers came early for us.

You might want to cut and paste a copy of the article for your computer printer --- copy the photos, captions, headlines and text, but leave the ads and logos, links to other sections and stories and stuff at the foot of the page out, so that the type that you fit on the page will be large enough for a normal person to read --- and mail it to your friend.

Wrong Turn Lottery

Heading to the airport over three years ago, I mistakenly exited the Corredor Sur and found myself in the unfamiliar section of the city called Chame. As I was looking for signs to reenter the road to the airport, there was a light rain and it was still dark as the person I was dropping off had a 6:00 a.m. flight. Down a side street rather than a U turn, a stop sign laying on the ground, an aggressive driver trying to scoot by the nose of my car and "Bang". I had an accident on my hands. They must not get too many foreigners in expensive four-wheel-drives in that part of town as we had 20 onlookers in no time. Many were casting insults when the police and ambulance arrived. I am a trained medic and offered help to the other driver who showed no injuries but told me in not so pleasant manner to get lost. The tow truck arrived immediately as the yard was only half a block away. The Transito officer had me verify the info on my car and driver license and receipt of the court appearance date and that was it, we were on our way home.

Now, more then two years after the accident they are still suing me and my insurance company for $500,000. Their attorney was gracious enough to let me know that they would now accept only $250,000 after the half of million did not appear from the sky. My insurance company has the civil case stuck in the mud for years to come so the other side decided to force the system with a penal case for added effect. This is a common tactic nowadays in Panama due to the long period it takes to reach trial and ease on which they can manipulate the system to restrict your travel and personal freedom. In that case, I was reminded that the sister of the other side's lead attorney is married to the judge. That must be why they moved the case from the corregiduria court, then traffic court, then to penal court number X, then once more to penal court XX and then finally to penal court number XXX where the judge is married to his sister. In the past, the insurance company attorney objected to the personal relation to the judge and tried to have it moved further, but the plantiff changed her lead attorney to another partner in the firm and the judge simply gave the case to his assistant as not to have the appearance of an unfair basis. You see, he doesn't sign any orders in the case, she does, and her desk is just outside the door from his if she has any questions. The website that shows every public officials salary shows the judge XXX salary at $1,400 a month and his assistant at $1,100 so she must be just as good. It has been over a year and the appeal has not been answered yet. My attorney tells me that rulings cost money and looks at me with puppy dog eyes. I am cool; administrative silence is the name of the game here, whoever gets mad first looses. Isn't that the saying?

Today, I was given a list of the doctors and medicines that her insurance did not cover that they also demand I pay which totaled almost $3,900. Sounds responsible since the bills are from not only her doctor, but he is also president of one of the political parties for which I am sure somehow cost more. Some of the claims had receipts and others did not, so why didn't her insurance company pay? It must be because they are mostly dated PRE-ACCIDENT. Yes, she had a problem well documented before the accident, but in Panama, only the government appointed Official Medical Examiner opinion counts in court and he says my traffic accident MAY have caused her 8 percent permanent disability. My insurance company has offered for them to choose any number of the best doctors for additional examination. They refused, they already got a touchdown and points on the board, no need for risk with a replay. The doctor got that conclusion after only one visit so he must be good too. I wonder if my accident caused her problems from her time of birth and that is what formula they used to come up with the $500,000 amount? Due to backlog and time for both sides to gather evidence, we are not going to see a court room until 2011.

We are trying to find the traffic cop who had me sign and acknowledge the court appearance slip on the bottom of the accident report. This is because now the court appearance form of the accident has inserted above my signature something scrolled like an admission of guilt or confession in his hand writing. I have to admit, that was a good one! This guy is very good indeed! Oh how I would love to pick his brain and get some stories like a real live CSI or CHIPS. We finally did locate the Transito official, he is in La Joya prison for other more serious corruption charges so he wasn't that good after all. He is with the dark side now.

In the meantime, I have to sign in with the court every 15 days which is quite a spectacle indeed. Every court house worker is so pleased to see me that I should consider running for public office or something. They anxiously ask if I or my company are going to settle and pay up soon with wide grins. They were especially excited to see me last month around Christmas time, but that happiness and joy on their part didn't last long. I asked for permission in November to travel in January for business and get my affairs in order with the home office. I work for an international company with offices all over the place. I had only traveled twice a month the entire time the case was going on before we reached the XXX rated judge married to the other party's sister who put the travel restriction on me. On 20 January, with the request over two months old and with only 10 days left in the month we pushed with a plethora of attorneys representing me, my company, the insurance company. We got an answer --- "No." Voila! Wala! Whoopie! I got an answer! I got an answer! And I didn't pay for it! NaNa, NaNa.

I am sure they would have rather have let the month run out and then given permission to travel back in time, So touche! I have been denied bond, and can't travel outside of the country. No need to worry, I will come back. I always do. I have only been here for the 16 years and my wife and children are Panamanian. I am a US citizen, but isn't this judicial kidnapping?

I have no pride, I will gladly be done with it and admit guilt and pay the $800 fine with a mark on my permanent record. It would only come up when my children decide to marry and my soon to be in-laws dig through my past to see if we come from an acceptable selection of the gene pool. But we need to request the court permission to schedule a date for that too. My counterpart from the accident has a new car and a new job as an executive at an international bank. I really do wonder what impact her 8 percent medical condition of brain damage has at her work at the bank. I wonder what is next --- and did I mention that her attorney's sister is married to the judge?

name withheld

Editor's note: Is your gene pool acceptable? Let's see:

Do you have any Unitarian grandparents?

Through how many lineages are you related to Pedrarias the Cruel?

How many cousins do you have in the government?

Is your hair naturally straight enough so that if we put a pencil in it, the thing will drop out if you bow down?

List all of your relatives who majored in drinking beer at LSU or Texas A&M.

How many times were you taken to Disney World as a kid?

WHAT? You genetically inferior mongrel! Keep your distance! The security guards have been called!

Executive order #263 --- new minimum wage rates

I have lived in Panama permanently for the past 10 plus years. I live with my wife of 45 years on the outskirts of Veracruz in a Gringo settlement named Majagual.

We have a live-in gardener/caretaker and I must determine if we are paying him properly in line with the new labor law 263. I have tried looking on line, but I am stymied by my imperfect understanding of Spanish. I asked my attorney, and he seems to think that I need to give this guy a big raise, but he does not have chapter and verse in writing. He called and got the information which he passed on to me. Do you know where I can find this complete ruling so I can get it translated into English? A web address would be very helpful.

Jerry Johnson

Editor's note: If you were paying him minimum wage, then he'll be due a pay increase. If getting a certain reputation in the community for quibbling over small amounts of money is not a problem in your eyes, you might want to play games about whether he's an agricultural worker ($1.06 per hour) or a domestic servant ($160 per month where you are).

See for the text of the minimum wage adjustment decree.

We won the Canadian visa issue

As you know for over two years we pressed this decade-old visa issue with a coalition of Panama business leaders, politicians, professionals, and journalists.

It all culminated at PM Harper's signing of the free Trade Treaty last August when he said he had just heard of the issue and would correct what he called a Canada visa 'logistics' problem.

PM Harper was true to his word and announced the easing of visa processing rules for Panamanians last Thursday [January 21].

Thank you to: Canada Prime Minister Harper; Panama President Martinelli; Panama Commerce Minister Roberto Henriquez; business leaders Glen Champion, Jacques Lepage, Terry McCoy; Editors David Young and Eric Jackson, Doctor Eric UIIoa, The Visitor Newspaper; and above all, Canadian Ambassador Patricia Langan-Torell and Panama Ambassador to Canada, Carlos Escobar.

It has been a pleasure working with you all.

I look forward to our next challenge.

Phil Edmonston
Former MP, NDP Chambly
Council Member, Balboa Union Church

The Haiti crisis

Contrary to some, Jesus warns us not to see the events taking place in Haiti as somehow the wrath of an angry God. Evil came into the world not by God's willing it; but through the devil and human sin.

Natural disasters suggest that our planet itself is in "rebellion" against the original order of a loving God. That rebellion seen in nature can be said to mirror the rebellion of the human heart. We experience nature's rebellion because Adam and Eve's original sin made all creation subject to futility.

Ultimately, God does not cause but rather permits such disasters in order to shake the consciences of insensitive people who see so many in need but do nothing.

Jesus's death on the cross shows us that God stands with us in all our suffering. His death demonstrates that despair, destruction, death will not have the last word: rather the transformative power of his resurrection will define the human project as one anchored in hope.

The present humanitarian crisis in Haiti is an opportunity for us to open our hearts and show our solidarity not only to the people of Haiti but to all peoples.

Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ontario

Indian restaurants

I read your great review of the 'Panamanian Indian Restaurants' in Panama City which I liked a lot, being a great fan of Indian food!! I have been trying to track down the addresses of both the Taj Mahal and the other restaurant. However I can't find them. Do you know if these restaurants are still operating?


Editor's note: The premises of both places on Calle 42 were torn down in the frenzy of the real estate speculation bubble. If the Taj Mahal moved somewhere else, I don't know where it went. The Masala moved about three blocks away to Avenida Justo Arosemena, between Calle 44 Este and Calle 45 Este, around the block and a little uphill from the Riba Smith in Bella Vista. Their listed phone number is 225-0105.

AlterNet Commenters, Keep the Faith

I wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how much we value your participation in the AlterNet community. Without you, AlterNet wouldn't be the site that it is today.

As you know, we launched a new redesign this week, with spiffy new features that allow you to express yourselves in ways you never could before -- with user-profiles that allow you to track your conversations, email alerts when someone responds to your comments and Soapbox, our new reader-generated blog.

Unfortunately, the transition hasn't been quite as smooth as we had hoped. We know many of you have been frustrated trying to log in and navigating the new features. Comments are being delayed, some commenters are getting a message back saying their comment is awaiting moderation. Readers have lost the ability to post links. They can't preview their comments before publishing them. Sometimes the comments are displaying oddly on the page.

The real purpose of this mail is to let you know this: we hear you. We're working overtime to iron out the rough edges, and in the days and weeks to come, we'll also be taking your advice to heart in our efforts to refine the new system. We'll be bringing back the preview-and-edit function, and the ability to add links, bold text and italics to your comments. We're working on getting the comments to post immediately.

And we want you to know that this is just as frustrating for our staff as it is for our readers. So we're really dedicated to upgrading the new system one glitch at a time until everything's running smoothly.

One specific note: some of you have had trouble logging into the new system. If that's been the case, please follow this link and reset your password --- this should clear up any trouble you may be experiencing getting into the comments.

Again, we really value what our readers bring to the discussion around here, and we're very sorry the transition to the new system has been glitchy.

Don Hazen
Executive Editor,

Las opiniones en español

Los errores ortográficos y deconstrucción en el comunicado de AEV son simple demostración de lo mal que tiene que andar nuestra educación. Será realmente mejor es el status quo?

L.E. Varela C.

Venezuela en guerra contra el comunismo

Con los medios silenciados y autocensurados, fuera de Venezuela se desconoce sobre su triste realidad.

Las revoluciones se hacen a través de la ruina de los pueblos y devorando a sus hijos.

Venezuela avanza hacia su destrucción gracias a la revolución comunista bolivariana.

Chávez devasta a venezuela.

Las fotos fueron tomadas en la ciudad de Mérida, otrora ciudad de los caballeros (hasta que llegó el comunismo).


Alberto Rodríguez Barrera

Martinelli, el avestruz

No se le debe dar más vuelta. Casi siete meses han bastado para comprobar que el nuevo Gobierno está en manos de incapaces disfrazados de locos y conformado por los mismos políticos corruptos de siempre. Se trata de un Gobierno que constantemente se contradice a sí mismo en sus propias decisiones.

El último capítulo de la tragicomedia de Martinelli sobre el control absoluto de los poderes del Estado por parte del Ejecutivo, que se dio con la separación de Ana Matilde Gómez y el nombramiento de otro ungido en el Ministerio Público, Giuseppe Bonissi, cuyo único mérito al parecer es tener raíces italianas como el actual mandatario, ha puesto en evidencia la profunda crisis institucional.

Martinelli ha hecho este nombramiento en abierto desprecio a las opiniones de varios juristas y de la opinión pública. Actúa así estando con su Vicepresidente fuera del país. Su actuación es similar a lo que hizo Noriega cuando mandó a decapitar a Hugo Spadafora. Cree que por no estar físicamente en Panamá se puede desvincular de estas situaciones. Es un avestruz.

La crisis que hoy vivimos se ha venido desarrollando durante años ante el desprestigio de los políticos corruptos y sus partidos, y de las gestiones de gobierno plagadas por la corrupción y los manejos dolosos. Se trata de una bomba de presión que ya estalló.

Martinelli prometió cambios desde el primer día:

  • Prometió bajar el costo de la canasta básica familiar y ésta ha aumentado exorbitantemente mientras se habla de incremento de impuestos, del agua y se produce el alza de la tarifa eléctrica

  • Prometió mayor seguridad y ha aumentado el índice de robos y asesinatos.

  • Prometió una gestión que armonizara con el ambiente y sin embargo se ha dado paso a los proyectos depredadores del ambiente como el de Cerro Petaquilla, Cerro Colorado y ha permitido el desalojo por la fuerza de importantes comunidades como la del pueblo Naso o los indígenas en Chorcha, Galiqué y otros sitios; mientras habla de la posibilidad de abrir el tapón de Darién.

  • Prometió no viajar mucho al exterior y hacerlo en su avión personal de ser necesario, sin embargo lleva ya 10 viajes en 6 meses y compró un avión presidencial de lujo por 22 millones de dólares.

  • Juró respetar la independencia de los órganos del Estado y nombrar a los magistrados en base a criterios de profesionalismo y probidad pero propugna por el control absoluto de los poderes del Estado e impone a sus ungidos en la Corte Suprema de Justicia tal cual hizo en la Caja de Seguro Social y en la Contraloría General de la República;

  • Prometió respetar la libertad sindical, los derechos humanos y los violenta cada día.

  • Prometió respeto a los derechos ciudadanos y una de sus primeras medidas fue la del espionaje telefónico con la Ley Pinchazo.

  • Prometió estabilidad a los empleados públicos y ha despedido a miles de trabajadores, mientras fomenta el terror en la Caja de Seguro Social y otras dependencias del Estado.

  • Prometió respeto a los gremios y hoy el pueblo es testigo de sus imposiciones en Educación con un retrógrado proyecto de transformación curricular improvisado y su modelo de privatización en Salud.

  • Prometió transparencia y lo que se ha hecho norma son las contrataciones y compras directas para favorecer a allegados, compadres y familiares como el sonado caso de la empresa Borda Imagen propiedad de su hermana en la confección de las camisas de “trabajo” del Gabinete que resulta que ahora pagamos todos los panameños.

  • Prometió un cambio y mayor democracia, pero lo que queda al descubierto son sus falsas promesas, la corrupción, incapacidad, nepotismo, el carácter antipopular, pro empresarial y entreguista del actual Gobierno y su autoritarismo con un Presidente que maneja al país tal cual fuera su hacienda personal o una sucursal de sus Super 99.

En el plano internacional se ha aliado a los sectores más atrasados y conservadores como el régimen golpista de Honduras y el Gobierno Narcoparamilitar de Alvaro Uribe en Colombia. Fomenta la instalación de bases aeronavales para uso del ejército norteamericano involucrando peligrosamente a Panamá dentro de la estrategia guerrerista yanqui en la región. Esto queda confirmado con el enfrentamiento sostenido con aparentes fuerzas insurgentes en la frontera con Colombia, en acciones coordinadas estrechamente con el ejército genocida de aquel país, lo cual introduce a Panamá en esta vorágine de guerra y violencia que preocupa a las comunidades que habitan esa zona.

Estamos así ante una nueva frustración del pueblo ocasionada por el actuar de políticos corruptos y mentirosos. La nueva situación que se viene conformando hacen válidos, hoy más que nunca, los planteamientos levantados por FRENADESO contra el sistema de dominación y opresión oligárquica y como salida democrática y popular a la cada día más acentuada crisis estructural e institucional del mismo.

El momento actual exige de las fuerzas populares esforzarse en acelerar el proceso de construcción de poder popular, que significa elevar los niveles de conciencia de nuestro pueblo, alentar su organización autónoma e impulsar su capacidad combativa. Hoy esto implica construir un instrumento político de lucha que sea una real alternativa democrática de poder popular, capaz de derrotar en cualquier terreno a las fuerzas oscuras y corruptas que representan los partidos de la clase dominante que se han alternado en el poder desde los inicios de la República.

La clase dominante y su partidocracia ya nada pueda ofrecerle al pueblo. Le corresponderá en su momento al pueblo soberano, fuente de todo poder, convocar por sí mismo a una Asamblea Constituyente Originaria con plenos poderes que se aboque a la discusión de una nueva Constitución, de una nueva institucionalidad realmente democrática, de la que deberá nacer una nueva República de bienestar y progreso para todos los panameños.

Como paso inmediato abogamos porque se constituya una Comisión Independiente e Imparcial que no sólo investigue los casos que están en la palestra: corrupción en el FIS, Toro Balladares y el caso de máquinas tragamonedas; el caso de las boyas de PECC, CEMIS, los casos de la fibra de vidrio en las escuelas públicas, las coimas en Ingeniería Municipal; sino también la venta del Ingenio La Victoria, la estafa de la Ley Banistmo, los negociados en el proyecto de ampliación del Canal; la venta de la Casa de Punta Mala, los duros dólares, la liberación de Podada Carriles, las partidas secretas, los viajes a Disneylandia, entre otros tantos casos de corrupción y peculados.

Llamamos a la movilización y lucha de todo el pueblo por:

  • Aumento General de Salarios.

  • Rebaja y congelamiento de los precios de la canasta básica familiar.

  • Suspensión inmediata de nuevos impuestos.

  • Alto a la escalada de violencia delincuencial

  • Alto al aumento del agua, la tarifa eléctrica y el pasaje del transporte colectivo

  • Alto a los despidos masivos en el sector público y privado y restitución de los trabajadores injustamente destituidos.

  • Alto a los pinchazos telefónicos.

  • Respeto a las tradiciones, costumbres y aspiraciones de nuestros pueblos originarios y a sus tierras ancestrales.

  • Alto a los proyectos hidroeléctricos, seudo turísticos y mineros depredadores del ambiente caso de la Mina de Cerro Petaquilla, Cerro Quema, Cerro Colorado, Chorcha, Chan 75, Galiqué, entre otros.

  • Alto a la venta de nuestras islas, costas, ríos y playas.

  • Fin a la persecución de los trabajadores en la Caja de Seguro Social, al proyecto de privatización vía la externalización y contra la exclusión de los beneficiarios de los asegurados y nuevos aumentos de cuotas y de la edad de jubilación. Que el Estado asuma su responsabilidad social en materia de salud pública.

  • Fin a la costosa campaña publicitaria del Gobierno y otros gastos suntuosos.

  • Alto al modelo privatizador en la salud, la basura, el agua, etc.

  • Suspensión inmediata del retrógrado proyecto inconsulto e improvisado de transformación curricular.

  • Respeto al derecho de sindicalización de todos los trabajadores y a la organización de gremios, de estudiantes y otros sectores.

  • Por un transporte seguro, público, moderno, eficiente y barato para el pueblo.

  • Renacionalización del las empresas estatales privatizadas.

  • Mayor seguridad en la Construcción y otros sectores laborales.

  • Fin de los desalojos forzosos.

  • Plan de vivienda, de tierras y obras públicas para los pobres del campo, las comarcas y la ciudad.

  • Alto a la corrupción y al nepotismo

  • Fin de la Impunidad y de los abusos policiales.

  • Fin al establecimiento de bases militares y a la incorporación de nuestro país en la estrategia de guerra gringa en la región.

  • Justicia para las victimas por envenenamiento con dietilenglycol, para los muertos y heridos del bus incendiado en la Martín Sosa y para los obreros asesinados.

  • Fin al autoritarismo y a los abusos de poder.

La salida a la profunda crisis institucional que vivimos sólo la puede dar el propio pueblo. No podemos dejar en manos de los políticos corruptos, tramposos y embaucadores la posibilidad de seguir haciendo supuestos cambios para que en el fondo nada cambie, para seguir manteniendo este nefasto status quo.

Debemos insistir que "la enfermedad no está en la sábana" y que el resquebrajamiento de la institucionalidad no se resuelve quitando ni dejando a la Procuradora; puesto que en esencia Martinelli es más de lo mismo; ya que en el fondo el problema no es ni siquiera tal o cual gobierno, partido tradicional o presidente, sino el sistema oligárquico impuesto desde inicios del siglo XX.

Exigimos se detenga el “Fujimorazo” que se pretende imponer como salida a la crisis y que daría el control absoluto y total de todos los poderes al Presidente y sus allegados, cómplices y coautores de muchos de los delitos denunciados.

Llamamos al pueblo a la lucha en defensa de las libertades democráticas y los derechos ciudadanos. A seguir construyendo poder popular. Juntos lograremos la Democratización de la Sociedad mediante una Asamblea Constituyente Originaria con plenos poderes autoconvocada por el pueblo, que cumpla la misión de darle a la nación una Nueva Constitución que signifique la fundación de una nueva república sobre sólidas bases democráticas, principios humanistas, una nueva moralidad, equidad social, desarrollo nacional independiente, bienestar material y cultural para sus ciudadanos y fortalecimiento de la soberanía del Estado panameño sobre todo el territorio nacional.

Frente Nacional por la Defensa de los Derechos Económicos y Sociales

Detenidos por razón de preguntas sobre Brad Will

El día jueves 28 de enero como alrededor de las 9:00 de la noche, Andrea Caraballo, Guadalupe Rodriguez Lopez, James Wells y Jennifer Lawhorne, nos encontrábamos en el zócalo de Oaxaca comiendo un helado. En ese momento, uno de nosotros reconoció al gobernador que estaba a menos de 3 metros de nosotros. Siendo un amigo de Brad Will un periodista estadounidense asesinado en el 2006, uno de nosotros aprovechó del momento en que el gobernador estaba cerca para preguntarle sobre el caso de Brad Will que hasta la fecha no ha tenido solución. No recibimos una respuesta el gobernador siguió su camino y seguimos de paseo con nuestros helados en el zócalo. Cinco minutos después, entre seis y ocho policías, algunos oficiales vestidos de civil y otros uniformados, nos rodearon y nos solicitaron nuestras identificaciones y nos hicieron acompañarles a una patrulla camioneta de la policía municipal. Nos forzaron a subir en la patrulla, preguntábamos por qué y adonde nos estaban llevando. Se negaron en todo momento a informados porque nos detenían y adonde nos llevaban. Realmente estábamos muy asustados y preocupados por nuestra seguridad.

Luego de viajar durante media hora llegamos al cuartel de policía en Santa María Coyotepec a las afueras de Oaxaca. Entramos, nos tomaron fotografías y nos hicieron preguntas. Exigimos la presencia de un abogado a lo cual nos fue negado. Pasamos una hora ahí rodeados por policías encapuchados que nos humillaron y amenazaron. Luego nos subieron otra vez a la patrulla y sin decirnos adonde íbamos, salimos del cuartel. Pararon a una media cuadra de la Procuraduría General de Justicia estatal, nos ordenaban dejar nuestras pertenencias en la oscuridad de la calle y cuando negamos hacer eso, nos insistían mientras que nos grabaron con una pequeña cámara de video. Nos llevaron adentro de las oficinas de la PGJ ordenando que dejáramos nuestras pertenencias con ellos y que declaráramos uno a uno aun sin la presencia de nuestro abogado. Nosotros seguimos firmes en que no haríamos nada hasta que nuestro abogado llegara. Luego de esperar mas de una hora nos condujeron a una habitación donde supuestamente nos iban a permitir hablar con nuestro abogado, en ese mostraron nos leyeron donde decía nuestros cargos y para nuestro asombro estábamos acusados de golpes y daños a dos agentes de la policía. En ese documento se ordenaba nuestro arresto y sin hacer la llamada a nuestro abogado nos empujaron y arrastraron torciendo la muñeca de una de las mujeres. Así fuimos llevados a las celdas, siendo en ese momento las 12:30 de la noche.

Recién siendo la 1:30 am pudimos ver al abogado Jesús Alfredo López García a quien reconocimos como nuestro defensor. A partir de ese momento supimos que ahí pasaríamos la noche. Todo el tiempo nos seguían intimidando y preguntando que habíamos echo para estar ahí, nosotros continuábamos diciendo que no hicimos nada para estar presos porque no cometimos ningún delito. Confundidos intentamos dormir en el frío suelo de la celda.

Al día siguiente, viernes 29 de enero, el expediente había crecido y los supuestos hechos habían incrementado, a una de nosotras la llevaron a declarar y conoció que los acusaban de agredir a dos policías y dañar un equipo de radio de valor $35000.

Nosotros nos reservamos el derecho a no declarar. Alrededor de las 4 de la tarde nuestro abogado nos informo que por desvanecimiento de pruebas nos dejarían libres, sin pagar fianzas y sin cargos pero pasaríamos a disposición de las autoridades de migración. Al llegar a las oficinas de migración ubicadas en el centro de la capital, mostramos nuestros pasaportes y visado por lo cual sin contratiempos quedamos en libertad. El cónsul de los Estados Unidos, Mark Leyes al enterarse de lo sucedido nos invitó a visitarlo a su oficina el mismo día y nos manifestó que lamenta que nos hallan sucedido este tipo de cosas.

Queremos agradecer al abogado Jesús Alfredo López García, Presidente del Protectorado Mexicano para los Derechos Humanos, a nuestros amigos y familiares por todo su apoyo y cariño manifestado.

Andrea Caraballo, Guadalupe Rodríguez López,

Jennifer Lawhorne y Jimmy Wells

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