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Cabbies snarl the metro area / Taxistas arrasan el área metropolitana

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jammed
On Friday, May 7, it was like this across much of Panama, Panama Oeste and Colon provinces as taxi drivers blocked traffic to protest a number of things, but most of all to demand the return to a rotation in which cabs with even-numbered plates would drive one day, those with odd-numbered plates the next day.
El viernes 7 de mayo, fue así en gran parte de las provincias de Panamá, Panamá Oeste y Colón cuando los taxistas bloquearon el tráfico para protestar por una serie de cosas, pero sobre todo para exigir el regreso a una rotación en la que los taxis con números pares las placas conducirían un día, las que tenían placas impares al día siguiente. 

Taxi drivers reject make-believe economic policy
Taxistas rechazan la política económica ficticia

by Eric Jackson

So, Nito looked at the low death toll after the epidemic’s second wave, declared the economy to be reopened and pretended that his magic wand works. Among the reactivation measures was the May 1 modification of the emergency “par y non” decree that taxis with even-numbered plates and odd-numbered plates would circulate on alternating days so that drivers would not be competing for the many fewer customers brought on by a somewhat collapsed economy. However, economic activity and therefore taxi usage has not nearly recovered to what it was, such that even by working double shifts the drivers were not getting enough fares to make a living. There were all the usual irritants like online ride hailing services, the government handing out more cab permits as favors to friends and so on. Thus a day of traffic chaos on the streets of the greater metro area.

Entonces, Nito miró el bajo número de muertos después de la segunda ola de la epidemia, declaró que la economía se reabriría y fingió que su varita mágica funcionaba. Entre las medidas de reactivación se encontraba la modificación del 1 de mayo del decreto de emergencia “par y non” según el cual los taxis con matrículas pares e impares circularían en días alternos para que los conductores no compitieran por los muchos menos clientes traídos por una economía algo colapsada. Sin embargo, la actividad económica y, por lo tanto, el uso del taxi no se ha recuperado ni mucho menos a lo que era, de modo que incluso trabajando en turnos dobles, los conductores no obtenían suficientes tarifas para ganarse la vida. Hubo todos los irritantes habituales, como los servicios de transporte en línea, el gobierno entregando más permisos de taxi como favores a amigos, etc. Por lo tanto, un día de caos de tráfico en las calles del área metropolitana.

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Pérez Esquivel et al, STOP the repression against Colombian People

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Cali

Declaration of support and solidarity
with the People of Colombia

by the undersigned

In regards to the popular movement and the permanent situation of the Colombian people, we, the undersigned organizations and individuals, declare the following:

1.- Colombia continues to experience great social upheavals. Today is in the midst of social mobilizations and a National Strike in opposition to the measures and bills (Tax Reform, Health Reform, Pension Reform and Labor Reform) that the government of President Ivan Duque wants to impose on the Colombian people and that have been rejected by the entire population as unjust and illegitimate.

2 – The force of truth and the DECISION OF THE PEOPLE have forced the government to withdraw its Tax Reform . However, although this is an achievement of the mobilizations, the measures adopted by the State in this crisis have not been sufficient, nor have they resolved the demands of the population. Unfortunately, the government continues to favor the privileges of AN exclusive elite, as well as the interests of transnational AND extractivist corporations, and the neoliberal system, to the detriment of the GENERAL population.

3 – In this context of social mobilization, crimes against humanity against the population continue: assassinations, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearance of persons, sexual violence, death threats, harassment and persecution, in addition to the previous crimes against social leaders, forced displacement of unarmed civilian populations, especially peasants, indigenous and Afro-descendants, which have been constant since the signing of the Peace Accords.

4 – We reject state violence against the Colombian population, as well as the actions of paramilitary groups and mercenaries, which the world has learned about through videos and denunciations. We denounce the training, assistance and weapons that the Colombian Security Forces have received from the government of the United States which, which HAS only reinforced the continuous violations of human rights.

5 – We welcome the declarations of the United Nations and the European Union rejecting police abuses and calling for a constructive and inclusive dialogue; we call on the countries of the world and international human rights organizations to act immediately to pressure and demand that the Colombian government put an end to human rights violations and repression against the population.

6 – We call on the government of President Iván Duque to stop police and military violence and to adopt political, economic and social measures that respond to the needs of its people in an immediate and consensual manner with democratic social and political forces.

7- At this crucial moment for the people of Colombia, we join the call of the prophet Leonardo Boff, who calls to create “together a broad political front in defense of democracy and social rights”, made up of “all political, ideological and spiritual tendencies, centered around values and capable of getting us out of the present crisis”.

STOP the repression against Colombian People

Signed by the following individuals and organizations:

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Premio Nobel de la Paz
Martin Almada, Premio Nobel Alternativo, Paraguay
Maria Stella Caceres, directora Museo de las Memorias: Dictadura y DDHH. Paraguay
Alianza CONVIDA 20
AFAVIT Asociación Familias Victimas Trujillo, Colombia
Agrupación Adelanto Belloto, Chile
Agrupación de Familiares de Ejecutados Políticos – AFEP – Chile
Agrupación de Mujeres Ofelia Moreno de Renca, Chile
Alianza Comunitaria Ambiental del Sureste (ACASE), Puerto Rico
Alliance for Global Justice, USA
Amigos por un Sahara Libre, México
APASOCASA, Panamá
Apoyo la Resistencia del Pueblo Colombiano, República Dominicana
Articulación Continental de CEB, regional
Articulación Continental de Comunidades Eclesiales de Base, México
Asociación Acción Verapaz, España
Asociación Civil Crecer Juntos, Argentina
Asociación Codo a Codo, Colombia
Asociación de Solidaridad con Colombia Katio, España
Asociación Étnica Caminos de Dignidad ASOECAD, Colombia
Asociación Mexicana de Amistad con la República Árabe Saharaui (AMARAS A. C.), México
Asociación Nacional de Pescadores Artesanales de Colombia ANPAC, Colombia
Asociación Panameña Solidaria con la Causa Saharaui, APASOCASA, Panamá
Asociación Presbiteras Católicas, Colombia
ASOMAMIWATA, Colombia
ASOMUVICOPAZ Meta, Colombia
ASOTRACAMPO, Colombia
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America – Bautistas por la Paz, USA
Border Patrol Victims Network Red de Víctimas de la Patrulla Fronteriza, USA/México
Brújula Metropolitana, México
Campaña Andalucía Justa y Resiliente, España
Capellanía Católica del Hospital Comarcal de Sierrallana en Torrelavega, España
Capellanía. Católica. Del centro. Penitenciario del Dueso en Santoña en Cantabria, España
Carrefour D’animation à un Monde Ouvert, Canadá
Casa de Acogida del Buen Samaritano, España
Casa de Citas – Centro Cultural – Restaurante, Colombia
CEBS, México
Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo SJ” (CSMM), Ecuador
Centro de Estudios del Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba
Centro Oscar A. Romero, Cuba
Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos Bartolomé Carrasco AC, México
Chaski Edu Consultores S.A.C., Perú
CINTRAS, Centro De Salud Mental y Derechos Humanos, Chile
CNP, Nicaragua
Colectivo Amauta de Perú en Chile
Colectivo Arterra, España
Comando Unitario de EX PP y Familiares, Chile
Comisión 4T: Tierra, Techo, Trabajo y Trascendencia – Alianza CONVIDA20
Comisión Construcción de Paz, No Violencia y Anti militarización – Alianza CONVIDA20
Comisión de Derechos Sociales del Colegio de Abogados de Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Comisión FUNA, Chile
Comité de Amistad con el Pueblo Saharaui, Argentina
Comité de Cooperación Latinoaméricano-Saharaui, Argentina
Comité de Derechos Humanos y Ecológicos de Quilpué, Chile
Comité Internacional Paz, Justicia y Dignidad a los Pueblos, Cuba
Comité Oscar Romero Buenos Aires, Argentina
Comité Óscar Romero de Aragón, España
Comité Oscar Romero de Barcelona, España
Comité Óscar Romero de Torrelavega en Cantabria, España
Comité Óscar Romero de Valladolid, España
Comité Oscar Romero-SICSAL-Chile
Comité Oscar Romero-SICSAL-Chile
Comité Romero de Washington, USA
Comité Veedores Floridablanca, Colombia
Comunidad Cristiana de Base José Aldunate, Chile
Comunidad Ecuménica Martin Luther King, Chile
Comunidad Luterana Inclusiva “Buenas Nuevas”, Colombia
Comunidad Teológica Rajab, Argentina
Concejo Municipal de Paz de Arenal Sur de Bolívar, Colombia
Concejo Nacional e Internacional de la Comunicación Popular CONAICOP, Uruguay
Confederación Intersindical, España
Confluencia de mujeres de Andalucía valle Colombia
Congreso de los Pueblos – Capítulo Chile
CONPAZCOL, Colombia
Consejo Católico de Justicia y Paz, Japón
Consejo Comunitario Cuenca Río Timba Mari López Buenos Aires Cauca, Colombia
Consejo Comunitario de la Comunidad Negra del Río Naya, Colombia
Coordinación Étnica Nacional de Paz – CENPAZ, Colombia
Coordinadora 8 de Marzo, Quilpué, Chile
Coordinadora Americana por el Derecho de los Pueblos y Víctimas de la Prisión Política
Coordinadora Popular de Derechos Humanos de Panamá, COPODEHUPA, Panamá
Copredesa, Argentina
Corporación 3y4 Álamos, Chile
Corporación Colombia Paz y Armonía, Colombia
Corporación Memorial Economía U. de Chile
Corporación organizando, haciendo y pensando el Pacífico CORHAPEP, Colombia
Corporación por la vida, la justicia y la Equidad, Colombia
Corriente Nacional Emancipación Sur, Argentina
CPM Micaela Bastidas, Perú
DKA, Austria
Equipo Misionero Itinerante, EMI, Ecuador
Federación Bautista De El Salvador – FEBES, El Salvador
Fellowship of Reconcilation, USA
Festivales Solidarios, Guatemala
Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality, USA
Forest Peoples Programme, Reino Unido
Frente Ambiental del partido Nuevo Encuentro, Tucumán, Argentina
Fundación Ciudadana de DDHH, Chile
Fundación Crazulas, Colombia
Fundación Desarrollo Sostenible del Pacífico Colombiano Gisela Díaz, Colombia
Fundación Diversencia, Bolivia
Fundación Don Sergio Méndez Arceo, México
Fundación Nueva Luz, Colombia
Fundación Pastorin, Colombia
Fundación Pazos, Colombia
Fundación Sophia, Colombia
Fundación Unidos por la Vihda Kevin Alexander Díaz, Colombia
Gem Paz. Grupo Ecuménico de Mujeres constructoras de Paz, Colombia
Grupo de Memoria Renca de Pie, Chile
Hermanas Auxiliadoras del Purgatorio, Colombia
Hoac de Cantabria Hermandad Obrera de Acción Católica de Diócesis Santander, España
Iglesia Episcopal de Guatemala.
Iglesia Luterana Intercultural, Perú
Iglesias por la Paz, México
Iniciativa Periferia, España
Instituto Edith Theresa Hedwing Stein – ISTEIN, Brasil
International Peace Research Association, USA
InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia
Intersindical Valenciana, Valencia, España
Juventud Mexicana Frente al Cambio Climático, México
Liga Argentina por los Derechos Humanos
Londres 38, espacio de memorias, Chile
MEP suroccidente, Colombia
Mesa Interreligiosa de Solidaridad con el Migrante, Colombia
Mexicanos Unidos, México
Movice. Capítulo Madrid, España
Movimiento Cubano por la Paz y la Soberanía de los Pueblos, Cuba
Movimiento de Renovación Universitaria, Panamá
Movimiento Internacional de Reconciliación Austria
Movimiento por la Salud Dr. Salvador Allende Alames El Salvador
Movimiento Trans Feminista Bolivia
Mujeres Memoria y Derechos Humanos Arica y Parinacota – Chile
Mujeres para el Diálogo, México
Observatorio Ciudadano Bosa, Colombia
ONG Proyecto Alternativa Feminista PAF, Chile
Organización Juntos por la Vida, Chile
Otros Cruces, Chile
Parrocchia San Giovanni Battista, Italia
Parroquia de San Martín de Ganzo en Torrelavega, España
Parroquia de San Mateo, USA
Parroquia de San Pedro Apóstol de Torres en Torrelavega, España
Parroquia de San Pelayo de Dualez en Torrelavega, España
Partido Comunes, México
Pastoral de Migración Iglesia Luterana Mexicana
Pastoral Social, Iglesia Anglicana, México
Pax Christi International
Plataforma Bolivariana de Alicante, España
Plataforma Intersecções, Brasil
Radio La Voz de Paine, Chile
Red Continental Cristiana por la Paz
Red Continental Cristiana por la Paz, Regional
Red de Esperanza y Solidaridad Diócesis de Caguas, Puerto Rico
Red de Mujeres Afros de Bayunca-REMABAY, Colombia
Red de Resistencia y Rebeldía Tlalpan, México
Red Europea de Comités Oscar Romero SICSAL-EUROPA, Bélgica
Red Latinoamericana Gay Latino, Bolivia
Red Solidaridad y Misión de los Misioneros Claretianos de América
Red TAMAT – Conferencia de Religiosos de Colombia
Sección XXII CNTE-SNTE, México
Seminario Bautista de México
SERCOBA, El Salvador
SERPAJ Argentina
SERPAJ Colombia
SERPAJ Paraguay
Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad Oscar Arnulfo Romero – SICSAL-
Servicio Paz y Justicia de Costa Rica
Servicio Paz y Justicia de El Salvador
Servicio Paz y Justicia en América Latina SERPAJ – AL, Regional
Sicsal – Bolivia
SOA Watch – Observatorio por el Cierre de la Escuela de las Américas
Somos Abya Yala, Somos Una América, Regional
Tampa Bay Activist Network, USA
The United Church of Canada
Tongo Banda, España
Unión Evangélica Pentecostal Venezolana
Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana, Costa Rica
Universidad Popular De Los Pueblos, Colombia
Visión Pacífico VP, Colombia
War Resisters League, USA
Witness For Peace Solidarity Collective,USA
30 (thirty), Nueva Zelandia
 

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¿Wappin? Rock this time / Rock esta vez

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Santana
Carlos Santana at Viña del Mar in 2009. Photo by alobos life.

¡Ahora rockeamos! / Now we rock!

George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone
https://youtu.be/dt_8aDOJvtM

Of Monsters and Men – Destroyer
https://youtu.be/TGPexohZm_0

Cienfue – Todapoderosa
https://youtu.be/MSczTMXnMdI

Dr. Lonnie Smith & Iggy Pop – Why Can’t We Live Together
https://youtu.be/ZL-Za6G-gAo

Led Zeppelin – How Many More Times
https://youtu.be/wEPog_WdPE4

Mark Knopfler – Boom, Like That
https://youtu.be/0sYK2RwH5E8

La Muchacha – Pal´ Monte
https://youtu.be/gMtCmxy5Umc

Janis Joplin – Ball and Chain
https://youtu.be/r5If816MhoU

Lou Reed – Sweet Jane
https://youtu.be/7FdWPeHFAMk

Carlos Santana – Samba Pa Ti
https://youtu.be/JGJdU2dpYxg

Jefferson Airplane – Greasy Heart
https://youtu.be/1ckv1v9GWRk

Johnny Hallyday & Joss Stone – Unchained Melody
https://youtu.be/WlqzTSwN7xc

Héroes del Silencio – Entre dos tierras
https://youtu.be/SzimletXB7M

Marianne Faithfull – Witches’ Song
https://youtu.be/Kq3fBKGDIOw

Hello Seahorse! – Live on KEXP 2019
https://youtu.be/l1A845e5yUA

 

 

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Turistas informados y la observación de ballenas

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whales
¿Cómo afecta la observación de ballenas en el comportamiento de estas? ¿Quién observa ballenas en el archipiélago de Las Perlas en Panamá? Los investigadores de STRI y ASU esperan recomendar estrategias innovadoras de conservación basadas en datos. Un barco bloquea dos ballenas, que deberán cambiar de rumbo para evitar una colisión. Al estudiar tanto el comportamiento de las ballenas como las prácticas turísticas, los investigadores del Smithsonian y de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona esperan proporcionar información científica que los legisladores y las empresas turísticas puedan utilizar para hacer que la observación de ballenas sea más segura para estas. Foto por Héctor Guzmán.

Turistas informados ayudan a que la observación
de ballenas sea más segura para las ballenas

por STRI

Según la Comisión Ballenera Internacional, el turismo de observación de ballenas genera más de 2,500 millones de dólares al año. Después de la pandemia de COVID-19, se espera que esta actividad al aire libre y relativamente segura se recupere. Dos nuevos estudios financiados por una iniciativa de colaboración entre el Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI) en Panamá y la Universidad Estatal de Arizona (ASU) muestran cómo la ciencia puede contribuir a las prácticas de observación de ballenas que garanticen la seguridad de ballenas y delfines.

“El papel del Smithsonian es brindar asesoramiento científico a los responsables de la formulación de políticas, ya que son pioneros en estrategias de gestión para promover la conservación de las ballenas”, comentó el biólogo marino de STRI, Héctor Guzmán, cuyo trabajo anterior llevó a la Organización Marítima Internacional a establecer corredores de transporte marítimo en el Pacífico para prevenir a los buques portacontenedores de colisionar con ballenas a lo largo de sus rutas migratorias. “Ahora tenemos métodos para medir cómo cambia el comportamiento de estas como resultado de las prácticas de observación de ballenas. Estos dos artículos se publicaron en un volumen especial de Frontiers in Marine Science dedicado a los estudios sobre las prácticas de observación de ballenas en todo el mundo”.

El avistamiento de ballenas está aumentando en todo el mundo y es parte de proyectos de desarrollo turístico sostenible en países como Camboya, Laos, Nicaragua y Panamá. Pero los críticos comentan que los empleos y el aumento de ingresos para los operadores turísticos y los residentes costeros no pueden justificarse si las ballenas resultan afectadas.

Las regulaciones de observación de ballenas en Panamá, establecidas por primera vez con la ayuda de Guzmán en el 2005 y modificadas en el 2017 y 2020, prohíben las actividades que hacen que las ballenas cambien su comportamiento. El primer estudio tuvo como objetivo descubrir si la presencia de embarcaciones turísticas provocó que las ballenas cambiaran su comportamiento durante la época de reproducción.

Los investigadores monitorearon a las ballenas jorobadas (Megaptera novaeangliae) durante su temporada de reproducción de agosto a septiembre dentro del área protegida del Archipiélago de Las Perlas en Panamá. Desde lo alto de un mirador en la Isla Contadora y desde barcos de avistamiento de ballenas, registraron en 47 ocasiones la cantidad de embarcaciones turísticas presentes y ballenas, además de la actividad de las ballenas, incluidos los cambios de dirección, cuando emergen, al golpear el agua, durante inmersiones y cuando espían (cuando levantan la cabeza por encima de la superficie del agua).

Descubrieron que los barcos de observación de ballenas con frecuencia ignoraban las pautas legales diseñadas para proteger a las ballenas: las perseguían deliberadamente, se acercaban demasiado a las ballenas adultas y a sus crías obligándolas a cambiar su comportamiento. Otras observaciones notables incluyeron:

• Las embarcaciones turísticas persiguieron a grupos que incluían crías con más frecuencia que a grupos de adultos.

• Los grupos que incluían una cría cambiaban de dirección con más frecuencia que otros tipos de grupos.

• Las ballenas cambiaron de dirección con más frecuencia cuando estaban presentes más de dos o tres embarcaciones turísticas.

Aproximadamente 1,000 observadores de ballenas visitan las Islas de Las Perlas cada año, y ese número está aumentando. En el segundo estudio, los investigadores entrevistaron a turistas que esperaban regresar a tierra firme en el aeropuerto de Contadora para comprender mejor la experiencia de avistamiento de ballenas. Entrevistaron a una de cada tres personas que esperaban en la fila.

El noventa y nueve por ciento de los turistas que vieron ballenas informaron haber visto por lo menos uno de los comportamientos anteriormente mencionados al observar ballenas, y el 68% informó que su experiencia cumplió o superó sus expectativas. El 30% comentó que no llegaron a ver ballenas. La mitad informó que había notado su bote u otros botes cercanos persiguiendo ballenas a gran velocidad, o que se habían acercado a las ballenas más que la distancia permitida por la ley.

Las ballenas reproductoras están amenazadas por la contaminación marina, colisiones con barcos, el cambio climático, el ruido y las perturbaciones mientras descansan, socializan y se alimentan. En el futuro, los investigadores esperan medir la cantidad de cortisol (una hormona del estrés) en las muestras fecales de ballenas para averiguar si los animales están bajo estrés, utilizar una mejor tecnología (por ejemplo, teodolitos, instrumentos que miden ángulos) para medir la distancia entre los barcos y ballenas, el uso de drones con cámaras para documentar las interacciones y continuar encuestando a los turistas para comprender mejor la observación de ballenas e informar las estrategias de manejo para mantener a salvo a estos magníficos animales.

“Quería hacer un estudio con resultados prácticos para la conservación, no solo otro artículo que se encuentre en un estante”, comentó Katie Surrey, candidata a doctorado de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona y coautora de ambos artículos. “En Las Perlas, donde las ballenas vienen a reproducirse, observamos comportamientos de acoso, como diez botes turísticos rodeando a una madre soltera y a su cría, pero también hablamos con turistas y operadores que aprendieron mucho sobre las ballenas y como resultado defienden las mejores prácticas de avistamiento de ballenas y los esfuerzos de conservación. Para mi tesis, planeo averiguar más sobre lo que motiva tanto a los turistas como a los operadores, para que podamos sugerir formas de mejorar su experiencia y proteger a las ballenas”.

 

Referencias:

Amrein, A.M., Guzman, H.M., Surrey, K.C., Polidoro, B., Gerber, L.R. 2020. Impacts of whale watching on the behavior of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the coast of Panama. Frontiers in Marine Science. 7: 601277.

Cárdenas, S., Gabela, M.V., Amrein, A., Surrey, K., Gerber, L., Guzman, H.M. 2021. Tourist knowledge, pro-conservation intentions and tourist concern for the impacts of whale-watching in Las Perlas Archipelago, Panama. Frontiers in Marine Science. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.627348

 

 

Contact us by email at / Contáctanos por correo electrónico a fund4thepanamanews@gmail.com

 

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Ben-Meir, Biden’s Mideast strategy and its geopolitical implications

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YPG
The Biden administration’s new Middle East strategy is forcing regional powers to reassess their geostrategic interests and act in a manner that might end several conflicts that have plagued the region. Kurdish YPG fighters in Syrian Kurdistan, 2015. YPG photo.

Righting the wrong

by Alon Ben-Meir

When Biden was running for president, he made it clear that if elected he would chart a new course in addressing the problems sweeping the Middle East and restore some normalcy in a region that has been awash in turmoil and bloodshed. He pledged to revive and further improve the Iran deal, bring an end to the war in Yemen, support the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and resume American backing of the Kurds in Syria while putting the brakes on Turkish president Erdogan’s misadventures. Every state in the Middle East understands that America’s new approach cannot be ignored because of their continuing dependency on the US in one form or another, and realizes that the regional geopolitical wind has shifted and all must now reassess their positions.

Although Biden is intensifying his focus on the Asia Pacific region, the US’ geostrategic interest and commitment to its allies in the Middle East remain the same, albeit Biden’s strategy substantially differs from his predecessor. Thus, he is creating new realities for the countries impacted, to which they must accordingly adjust.

Returning to the Iran Deal

Biden’s decision to return to the Iran deal, to which Israel and Saudi Arabia have vehemently objected, is now forcing both countries to reassess their positions. They know that reaching a new deal based on the original one with some improvement is imminent. They have also realized that Trump’s misguided withdrawal has only pushed Iran to build new advanced centrifuges, allowing it to enrich greater quantities and higher quality of uranium, bringing it ever closer to building a nuclear weapon.

For Israel and Saudi Arabia, the only practical option is to work with the US to ensure that the emerging new deal will be tightly monitored and an improvement of the prior deal, especially regarding the sunset clauses. Normalizing bilateral relations between Washington and Tehran will ultimately provide the best option to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons in the long-term, which is of great concern to both countries.

Ending the war in Yemen

Biden’s call to end the devastating war in Yemen did not fall on deaf ears in either Riyadh or Tehran. His decision to suspend arms shipments to Saudi Arabia sent a clear message to the kingdom that the war must end. The Mullahs in Iran also understand that there is not much left to gain from continuing the war.

In fact, both Saudi Arabia and Iran have long since concluded that their proxy war in Yemen is unwinnable and are looking for a face-saving way out. A power-sharing government between the Houthis and the legitimate authority in Sanaa enjoys the support of Biden and seems to be gaining momentum in current Saudi-Iranian discussions (an open secret), which would potentially provide a lasting solution.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Biden’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been very consistent since the time he was a senator, believing that a two-state solution remains the only viable option. He moved to resume financial aid to the Palestinians that was suspended by Trump, and told Israel to refrain from further annexation of any Palestinian territory and limit the expansion of existing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Given Israel’s failure to form a steady coalition government following four elections in two years, coupled with the political disarray among the Palestinians, it is unlikely that they can resume peace negotiations in earnest under the current circumstances. Moreover, both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, who are stuck in their old positions, must first leave the political scene before any peace talks can resume.

While the Biden administration has conveyed to both sides that making significant concessions are a prerequisite to reaching an agreement, the US is rightfully focusing on confidence-building measures first. Indeed, several years of people-to-people interactions on social, civil, economic, and academic levels are central to building trust, which is sorely absent but critical to paving the way for reaching a sustainable peace accord.

Arresting Erdogan’s foreign misadventures

Finally, President Biden’s decision to restore America’s support to the Syrian Kurds, who fought side-by-side US forces to oust ISIS and suffered thousands of casualties but were abandoned by Trump, is strategically necessary to restore America’s influence in Syria, especially in shaping the final outcome to Syria’s civil war. Providing the Kurds with political backing and financial support serves as a warning to Erdogan to cease his continuing onslaught against them in the name of fighting terrorism.

Moreover, Erdogan’s coziness with Russia’s Putin, the West’s foremost adversary, his violation of US sanctions against Iran, and his destabilizing meddling in the internal affairs throughout the Middle East, the Balkans, southern Europe, and Africa have come home to roost. Biden’s decision to recognize the Arminian genocide further reinforced his message to Erdogan that enough is enough and that the US no longer considers Turkey a strategic ally.

President Biden’s initiatives on all these fronts are on the mark.

It’s time to tell Iran that the US is not seeking regime change but will do everything in its power to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and would welcome gradual normalization of relations depending on Iran’s adherence to international norms of conduct.

It’s time to tell the Saudis that the continuing war in Yemen has long since lost its relevance to its national security and that the US remains a steadfast ally on which the kingdom can rely.

It’s time to tell Israel that the continuing occupation is neither acceptable nor sustainable, and that any future Israeli government must resign itself to the establishment of a Palestinian state that will live side-by-side Israel in peace and security.

It’s time to tell the Palestinians that they must get their act together if they want to establish a state of their own and elect a new government that understands the need to make the necessary concessions to reach an enduring peace.

Finally, it’s time to tell Erdogan that his days of pursuing foreign misadventures with impunity are over and he must now choose between East or West if he wants Turkey to remain a NATO member state.

Contrary to Trump, who further aggravated the various endemic Mideast conflicts, Biden’s determination to change the dynamics may well succeed in advancing solutions that have eluded several of his predecessors.

 

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

 

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Food aid cutbacks — did Nito’s minions really mean to say…?

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A Panamanian government meme about the food voucher program (vale).

If they mean it and stick with it…

by Eric Jackson

La Estrella buried the story in their economic news. It has been widely reported that Panama is in a deep economic hole — more than $38 billion in government debt and sovereign bond ratings just one notch above junk bond status — and that the Cortizo administration says that social assistance and subsidies are to be cut. But “the voucher will only be for the 134,186 people whose contracts have not been reactivated and who do not have any income” is that what they mean to say?

Consider that most of the Panamanian work force is informally employed and never had a labor contract to suspend nor reactivate. Consider that many businesses that suspended their labor contracts last year are gone forever, or at least not be able to rehire the people who used to work there at the same wages and with the same hours as before. Most importantly, consider that the government acknowledges that the vale (food voucher) program had “1,359,917 beneficiaries.”

With respect to a program that never reached everyone who needed it, prompting road blockages all over the country last year by people who were left out, they are going to turn some wishful thinking about a lesser part of the work force into a policy cutting more than 90 percent of food aid recipients off of food assistance vouchers? Sounds very much like food riots begging to happen. Moreover, the government’s next missive suggests that the intention is just that draconian. We are told that the government is analyzing 3,000 cases of food voucher fraud — out of more than 1.3 million people getting the benefit. Read the various accounts and it seems that it mostly wasn’t people falsely registering, but getting more aid put onto their vouchers than they should have had coming.

It sounds an awful lot like a gringo-style “welfare chiseler” set-up of Ronald Reagan vintage.

The program was set to end in June, but now some report say that it will be extended until December at least. It had also been previously reported that the government is negotiating with MasterCard to create special private sector debit cards for public sector aid — which sounds like it’s meant for more than just six or seven months.

The program was created by presidential decree and has been, and may yet be, extended or modified by the president. This particular president has a history of floating badly conceived policies, then making adjustments in the face of public protests about them.

What else about June? That’s when the moratorium on mortgage payments and ban on evictions — both of which were previously extended — are set to expire. All sorts of people thrown out onto the streets and hungry. Didn’t Bob Marley have a song about that? But consider many foreclosed homes for which there are few buyers, and empty apartments for which few can afford the rent. Panama faced something like that in and just after the pre-invasion sanctions era, when in many cases the losses of that time were apportioned by private agreements.

 

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Fundación Libertad, Hatred and xenophobia in the National Assembly

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A neofascist group displays Ku Klux Klan symbolism while defaming
foreigners in front of the El Carmen Church. Photo by Eric Jackson.

It’s not the foreigners who offend our country

by the Fundación Libertad

When Don Justo Arosemena said the words “The Homeland of Mankind is the world and if it was up to me, I would erase the word ‘foreigner’ from all the dictionaries,” he never imagined that the building that today bears his name would be being hijacked by hate speech and xenophobia.

That is precisely what’s blowing in the wind as the National Assembly analyzes Bill No. 578, which modifies and adds articles to Decree Law No. 3 of February 22, 2008, which created the National Migration Service and career immigration officials. This proposal, from which the government sought to dissociate itself when it was originally presented in 2019, includes in its body various measures that directly violate human rights, freedom of expression among them. It proposes to deport foreigners who insult Panamanians, among others measures that violate human rights, and freedom of expression, and would repress free dissent.

From a liberal perspective, these types of proposed measures cling to empty nationalism and puts at risk our capacity to be tolerant, as well as our potential to evolve as a country. As free and responsible citizens we have the duty to denounce this indoctrination of terror, based on ideas contrary to the spirit in which Panama is constituted as a nation.

We have always prided ourselves on being a melting pot, a country where diverse cultures, ethnicities and nationalities share in harmony.

It is not foreigners who, with foolish words, offend our country, but those who, having to be “fathers of the country”, seek to divide and corrupt. There is no way and nowhere to deport them.

 

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¿Wappin? Este Cinco de Mayo

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Música afro-latino-caribeña este Cinco de Mayo

Eddie Palmieri con La Perfecta y Herman Olivera – Sujetate la Lengua
https://youtu.be/FybW_zT2VTs

Cal Tjader – Afro Blue
https://youtu.be/RmbiBAXXxZs

Un Poco De Sabor Boricua en La Calle Obispo de La Habana Vieja
https://youtu.be/2JYvaYAzApY

Totico Y Sus Rumberos – Mil Gracias
https://youtu.be/rQOJFPjK3EI

Joey Pastrana – El Pulpo
https://youtu.be/WfVYHkDSAkM

Yoruba Andabo – Maria Belen
https://youtu.be/F-N94pSffLM

Tito Rodriguez – Chango Ta’ Beni
https://youtu.be/EDTtTCHkkZ8

The John Santos Quintet – Guararé
https://youtu.be/SNnA-RF2XmI

Rumba Caliente con Los Grandes en Casa de Rolo el Obba
https://youtu.be/3aFJoz6IKyU

 

Contact us by email at / Contáctanos por correo electrónico a fund4thepanamanews@gmail.com

 

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Para defendernos de los piratas informáticos, los trolls organizados y otros actos de vandalismo en línea, la función de comentarios de nuestro sitio web está desactivada. En cambio, ven a nuestra página de Facebook para unirte a la discusión.  

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Patent law: “A transformative, hopeful event”

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“This has a real potential to help save lives, strengthen the economy, improve international relations and eventually end this awful pandemic.” US Army Specialist Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando.

Under pressure, Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waiver

by Jessica Corbett — Common Dreams

In the face of mounting international pressure, the Biden administration on Wednesday announced support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines — which campaigners welcomed as “a transformative, hopeful event” that has the potential to save lives around the world, especially in the Global South.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the move as activists gathered in Washington, D. for a Rally for a People’s Vaccine urging President Joe Biden to back a Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO) proposed by the India and South Africa.

Members of the WTO met earlier Wednesday to continue discussions about waiving intellectual property protections for much-needed vaccines. Biden’s support for the waiver is a major policy shift; up until now, the US government was a key opponent of the proposal, introduced when his predecessor was still in office.

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” Tai said in a statement. “The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.”

Tai added that the Biden administration will engage in negotiations at the WTO that “will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved” while emphasizing that the ultimate “aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.”

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.”

India and South Africa submitted the #TRIPSWaiver proposal in Oct 2020. How many died in the time that it took the US to finally make the right call? https://t.co/MMMumUIh7O

— Melissa Barber (@mellabarb) May 5, 2021

“The Biden administration’s decision to support waiving intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines is a genuinely transformative event, one which reinforces that there is real reason to hope for a better future when the right people are in place in the federal government,” said Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project. “This one choice may save millions of lives.”

Hauser particularly praised Tai “for handling the first big political conflict of her tenure with grace and professionalism, as the administration ultimately worked toward the right call.” He added that her “ability to face down the well-funded and powerful pharmaceutical interests fighting against this waiver without fear shows that she was a perfect choice for this crucial job.”

“Again, appointments matter. Personnel is policy,” Hauser said. “We will closely watch the inevitable conflicts during the text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization. But this initial decision is one which Americans and onlookers around the world should celebrate.”

The announcement did spark celebrations worldwide.

“Biden’s support for the TRIPS waiver is unquestionably the right thing to do for the world and the nation,” declared Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of the Citizens Trade Campaign, which helped organize a 431-group letter in support of the waiver earlier this year. “More work is needed to make sure the waiver moves forward as effectively as possible, but this has a real potential to help save lives, strengthen the economy, improve international relations and eventually end this awful pandemic.”

“COVID vaccines were developed with broad public support, and everyone worldwide deserves access to them,” Stamoulis added, expressing hope for speedy WTO negotiations. “Biden’s willingness to support the waiver is a testament not only his character, but to the excellent work of the hundreds of organizations and millions of individuals who urged this to happen.”

Biden and Tai “recognized that Pharma’s ‘business as usual’ is killing us,” said Oxfam America president and CEO Abby Maxman, applauding “their willingness to pursue a new path that prioritizes public health over private profits.”

Maxman agreed that the shift “is a testament to the widespread public movement calling for an end to vaccine monopolies. It is also a testament to an administration that listens and is willing to do whatever it takes to defeat COVID-19.”

The UK-based group advocacy group Global Justice Now tweeted that “THIS IS HUGE,” and said that “there can be no more excuses. The UK, EU, and all governments blocking a #TRIPSwaiver must change course. It’s time for a #PeoplesVaccine.”

US lawmakers including Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) as well as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) also welcomed the news.

Along with praising the administration’s move, Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, explained why the waiver is so necessary.

“Vaccine distribution is deeply inequitable at home, but even more so abroad,” he said. “One in four people in high income countries have received a vaccine dose; but just one in 500 people in lower income countries have received a dose. This extremely slow and inequitable distribution has dire consequences for billions of people around the world.”

Paul O’Brien, executive director of Amnesty International USA, also commended Biden for reversing the prior administration’s position on the waiver and making clear “that the US prioritizes people’s lives over pharmaceutical company profits,” while also urging the president to go even further to save lives.

Specifically, he called for promoting multilateral efforts to scale up production of health products through the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool “to lead the global fight to eradicate the pandemic and to ensure that all people, regardless of where they live, are given their fair shot at access to the vaccine.”

 

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Pizzigati, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joe Biden

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Biden’s plan to create jobs and tax the rich is a good deal bolder than it looks at first glance. Shutterstock photo.

FDR must be smiling

by Sam Pizzigati

President Joe Biden has made no secret of his admiration for Franklin D. Roosevelt. The president proudly displays a portrait of FDR in the Oval Office.

More significantly, he’s announced the most ambitious plan since FDR’s New Deal for enhancing the well-being of working Americans while trimming the fortunes of America’s super rich. The president has promised to fund his big plans for infrastructure, jobs, and education entirely with taxes on the top.

In fact, Biden’s new tax-the-rich plan is a good deal more Rooseveltian than the numbers, at first glance, might suggest.

In 1945, FDR’s last year in office, the nation’s most affluent faced a 94 percent tax on income over $200,000, a little more than $2.9 million in today’s dollars. The rates Biden has proposed come nowhere near those — they’d top out at just 39.6 percent of ordinary income over $400,000. That’s up only slightly from the current 37 percent.

But the gap between Biden’s plan and FDR shrinks big-time when we toss capital gains — the dollars the rich make buying and selling stocks and bonds, property, and other assets — into the picture.

In 1945, the nation’s deepest pockets paid a 25 percent tax on their capital gain windfalls. Today’s rate tops off at 20 percent. For households making over $1 million in annual income, the Biden plan would raise the top capital gains tax rate to 39.6 percent, the same top rate that applies to earnings from employment.

In other words, the Biden tax plan ends the most basic tax break for the ultra rich: the preferential treatment they get on the income from their wheeling and dealing. This would be a big deal. In 2019, 75 percent of the benefits from the capital gains tax break went to America’s top 1 percent.

Dividends currently get the same preferential treatment. Americans making over $10 million in 2018 took in over half of their total incomes — 54 percent — via capital gains and dividends. If Congress adopts the Biden tax plan, the basic federal tax on that 54 percent would just about double, from 20 to 39.6 percent.

The Biden plan also totally eliminates the federal tax code’s open invitation to dynastic family wealth: the “step up” loophole. Under this notorious giveaway, any fabulously wealthy American sitting on unrealized capital gains can pass those gains onto heirs tax-free. The Biden plan short-circuits the simplest route to dynastic fortune.

Under Biden’s tax plan, new dynastic fortunes would have a much harder time taking root. Already existing dynastic fortunes, on the other hand, would still be with us. Biden — like FDR in his day — has not yet warmed to the idea of a wealth tax.

Senator Elizabeth Warren led a recent hearing highlighting the enormous contribution that even a 2 percent annual tax on grand fortunes could make. Among the insightful witnesses at the hearing: the 61-year-old Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy Disney, the co-founder of the Disney empire with his brother Walt.

“I can tell you from personal experience,” Abigail Disney told senators, “that too much money is a morally corrosive thing — it gnaws away at your character… It warps your idea of how much you matter, and rather than make you free, it turns you fearful of losing what you have.”

Franklin Roosevelt understood that debilitating dynamic well enough to propose, in 1942, a 100 percent tax on annual income over what today would be about $400,000. Biden hasn’t ventured anywhere close to that level of daring. But he’s certainly come much further than anyone could reasonably have expected.

 

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