she were a pushover, it would be over by now
The talks between
and Bugle leaders and the government reached a partial accord. Didn't
everyone know that whatever it was, the government would misrepresent
it and give the impression that things left unsettled have been
agreed to in favor of the government's position? And didn't we all
know that Celio Guerra would accuse Silvia Carrera of selling out,
whatever deal she struck? Let's get beyond the corny political games
and look at what has been settled and what has not been before
judgment is passed.
Agreed, but still
formally drafted and passed by the legislature, is a new version of
Section 5 of the proposed mining law:
with prior promises, and going further than the two epic struggles over
Cerro Colorado in the late 1970s - early 1980s and the 1990s, the
CODEMIN mining concession for that mountain will be definitively
revoked, along with other mining concessions.
hydroelectric projects in the comarca, the project would have to be
approved by the local congress, the Ngabe-Bugle General Congress and
ratified in a local referendum. The comarca would receive five percent
of gross revenues and at least one-quarter of all non-specialist
workers on the project would be local people.
While it is true
elections to and subsequent actions of the officially recognized
General Congress are the products of Ricardo Martinelli's
anti-democratic manipulations and that its Cambio Democratico
president is a discredited figure with no appreciable base of support
in the comarca, that organization's rubber stamp would be
insufficient to approve a dam. The dam proponents would also have to
win a referendum. The details about the approval of hydroelectric dam
projects that get written into the new law are not worked out and
they now become very important. The possibilities of rigged refrenda
are ever present in a government headed by Ricardo Martinelli, whose
word is well proven to be worthless and whose default negotiating
style is bad faith.
are the Barro Blanco and Chan 75 hydroelectric dams, for which
further fact-finding will be done. The government argues that in the
former case almost everything is known and only minor adjustments
need to be made, and in the latter there is nothing to investigate.
But the indigenous side and environmentalists in Panama and abroad
have done their homework, the Panamanian public is disposed to hear
their findings, and any government fiction declared to be fact will
be seen for what it is. The Barro Blanco promoters and their legal
team in particular have been used to dealing with corrupted
Panamanian governmental institutions but their extension of the lazy
and sleazy style of misrepresentations that may pass muster with ANAM
to their dealings with international institutions may lead to the
cancellation of European bank loans and UN carbon credits, which
would probably kill the project notwithstanding anything that Ricardo
Martinelli and his team might do.
Much remains to be
and Silvia Carrera will well understand the words of Nelson Mandela,
spoken years before his long imprisonment:
can see that
there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have
to pass through the valley of the shadow again and again before we
reach the mountain tops of our desires.
talks that began on February 7, about an agreement that Ricardo
Martinelli made in 2011 and broke in 2012 and after confrontations
that escalated into violence that took several lives, will continue.
So should the outpouring of public support that has sustained Silvia
Carrera throughout this long and difficult process.
never-ending Afghan War, which must end
of the American people --- Democrats, Republicans and independents,
who will not have a viable presidential candidate to represent their
views in November --- want the United States to pull its troops out
of Afghanistan. Now we have a new spate of violence, which has led to
a call for restrictions on US troop movements by the ultra-corrupt
oil exec whom George W. Bush installed as the head of a government of
sorts in Kabul and who has maintained himself in office if not in
power by way of election fraud.
latest outburst? In the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, a US Army
sergeant went on his private little door-to-door mission and killed
16 people, half of them children aged 12 or under. Before any Afghan
authority could demand that he be turned over to face the harsh
justice that any citizen of that country would face for such a crime,
the US government whisked the guy out of the country and off to
Leavenworth and we started hearing pop psychology stuff about how the
guy saw his friend horribly wounded the day before and "just
snapped." It was just an individual criminal act, by somebody
who is possibly crazed, Washington assured the world.
was the act of a man in a US Army uniform, armed by the government of
the United States and protected after his act from local vengeance by
the US government. Any and all assurances and explanations do not
stop the angry mobs. It's the sort of thing that happens in a war,
and the results of previous US prosecutions for comparable
atrocities, plus Washington's resistance to the International
Criminal Court, make it hard for many Afghans and for people all over
the world to confide in any US commitment to suppress war crimes.
polls show that fewer than one-quarter of Americans believe that US
troops should stay in Afghanistan "until the mission is
completed." If one were to ask the members of this minority of
the US electorate just what that mission is, there would surely be
wide variances in their sorts of answers. What else can anyone
expect, as the nature of that "mission" as stated by
Washington has kept changing over the years?
not a safe thing to do in an election year when the president will
face either an unbelievable fanatic or an unbelievable opportunist in
the general election, but it's probably actually a "popular"
thing to do: Obama should cut a deal with the Taliban, wherein US and
allied forces will leave Afghanistan in exchange for assurances that
the country will not again become a base for attacks on other
countries by the likes of the late Osama bin Laden.
mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.
editor [should] set his face against the demoralizing practice of
feeding the public mind habitually on slander and the depravity of
taste which this nauseous aliment induces. Defamation is becoming a
necessary of life, insomuch that a dish of tea in the morning or
evening cannot be digested without this stimulant. Even those who do
not believe these abominations, still read them with complaisance to
their auditors, and instead of the abhorrence and indignation which
should fill a virtuous mind, betray a secret pleasure in the
possibility that some may believe them, though they do not
themselves. It seems to escape them, that it is not he who prints,
but he who pays for printing a slander, who is its real author.
in professional relationships remained the singularly most important
attribute of any leader.
Ronald R. Fogelman