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Volume 18, Number 3
April 10, 2012

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Also in this section:
Chaplain warns that police are prone to politics
United States facing bold new calls for "Drug War" alternatives
PRD ready to rumble --- with each other
Martinelli's Easter Tweet
Can the Panamanian women's vote be alienated?
New threats to expropriate Casco Viejo properties
Constitutional chess game leaves many unanswered questions
Cops dismiss importance of Calle Uruguay gun play
Is FARC's insurgency winding down? What might that mean for Panama?
Fear, loathing and electoral love in Mexico
New World Bank president: what's on the agenda?
Is MOLIRENA about to split into three?
Suspense about an animal cruelty law
Farrar approved as the next American ambassador here
Clash between loggers and Wounaan community leaves two dead
Atlantic Side bridge plans indicate further moves
A proposal to purge the courts and bring in Martinelista replacements
A de facto police coup, even if Martinelli lingers on
Partial agreement sets off furious rows in the left and the comarca



The criticism of this presidency is not about an archaic adultery charge or even a modern simple misdemeanor of accosting and soliciting for the purposes of prostitution. It is, for example, about this brutal televised extrajudicial execution of five juvenile prisoners in which police set fire to a juvenile detention center cell, blocked the firefighters from responding to the fire, and taunted the boys as they burned to death. Ricardo Martinelli has arranged matters so that none of the perpetrators are in jail, there is no investigation about responsibility for the denial of water to the inmates for eight days that sparked the disturbance in the first place, nor is there any investigation of the police order to prevent the bomberos from entering the premises to put out the fire.

An Easter Sunday tweet about sin
by Eric Jackson

Ricardo Martinelli, who has a couple of Opus Dei members in his cabinet (or if you count the vice president, three), has been summoning up New Testament imagery quite a bit of late. It hasn't yet come to a no-bid contract for Odebrecht to build a huge needle and the hiring of instructors from the United Arab Emirates to give presidential camel riding lessons, but on repeated occasions it has involved the casting of opposition figures in Pharisee or Saducee roles.

The Pharisees, of course, are the ancient precursors of today's Jewish rabbis. One strain of historical interpretation of the Bible has Jesus Christ as a dissident Pharisee, but the New Testament not only does not use that description but goes to great lengths to distinguish Jesus from "the Pharisees." Islam, which considers Jesus to be one of God's great prophets, does not distinguish Jesus from either the Pharisees or the Jews, or say that he was the son of God, claims him as a Muslim and credits him as the prophet who preached among the Jews that the law should be tempered by mercy. Into whatever theological framework one cares to put him, one of the most famous Biblical stories does cast Jesus in the role highlighted by Muslims:

Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself , and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

John 8:1-11


This tale has been cited by many crook who has been caught in many a Christian culture ever since then. Rarely has the case been a woman facing stoning for adultery, or if you care to use other translations of the Bible as a reference, for being a harlot.

And so it came to pass this past Easter Sunday, that from some sufficiently high promontory but surely not Mount Sinai, Ricardo Martinelli sent Panamanians a missive, not carved into a stone tablet but in the form of a Twitter tweet:



"We all make mistakes," the president responded to a tweet from Ecuador. "Let he who makes no mistakes throw the first stone."

So once again, the president's accusers are cast into the role of those Pharisees who were the opponents of Jesus Christ. If not putting himself in the Christ role this time, Martinelli at least casts himself as someone facing a draconian punishment for a minor offense.


  While suppressing protests provoked by Martinelli's breaking of a no mining in the
Ngabe-Bugle Comarca pledge, police that he sent attack the hospital in San Felix.
Video by Prensa En Resistencia







    

Also in this section:
Chaplain warns that police are prone to politics
United States facing bold new calls for "Drug War" alternatives
PRD ready to rumble --- with each other
Martinelli's Easter Tweet
Can the Panamanian women's vote be alienated?
New threats to expropriate Casco Viejo properties
Constitutional chess game leaves many unanswered questions
Cops dismiss importance of Calle Uruguay gun play
Is FARC's insurgency winding down? What might that mean for Panama?
Fear, loathing and electoral love in Mexico
New World Bank president: what's on the agenda?
Is MOLIRENA about to split into three?
Suspense about an animal cruelty law
Farrar approved as the next American ambassador here
Clash between loggers and Wounaan community leaves two dead
Atlantic Side bridge plans indicate further moves
A proposal to purge the courts and bring in Martinelista replacements
A de facto police coup, even if Martinelli lingers on
Partial agreement sets off furious rows in the left and the comarca



© 2012 by Eric Jackson
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