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Nuevamente, el jueves, los canaleros protestarán

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may 13 protest
 

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Dasgupta, Indian COVID variants and their role in the spike there

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India
“Beyond heartbreaking.” Photo by Ajit Solanki/AAP.

Why variants are most likely to blame for India’s COVID surge

by Rajib Dasgupta, Jawaharlal Nehru University

With more than 300,000 new COVID cases a day and hospitals and crematoria facing collapse, Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called the situation in India “beyond heartbreaking”.

India’s government has blamed the people for not following COVID-safe public health directives, but recent data shows mask use has only fallen by 10 percentage points, from a high of 71% in August 2020 to a low of 61% by the end of February.

And the mobility index increased by about 20 percentage points, although most sectors of the economy and activity had opened up. These are modest changes and do not adequately explain the huge increase in cases.

A more likely explanation is the impact of variants that are more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Variants in India

Viruses keep changing and adapting through mutations, and new variants of a virus are expected and tracked in a pandemic situation such as this.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a group of ten national laboratories, was set up in December 2020 to monitor genetic variations in the coronavirus. The labs are required to sequence 5% of COVID-positive samples from states and 100% of positive samples from international travelers.

The United Kingdom is currently testing about 8% of its positive samples and the United States about 4%. India has been testing about 1% altogether. INSACOG has so far tested 15,133 SARS-CoV-2 genomes. This means of every 1,000 cases, the UK has sequenced 79.5, the US 8.59, and India only 0.0552.

In the final week of December, India detected six cases of the UK variant (B.1.1.7) among international travelers.

The current second wave started in the northwestern state of Punjab in the first half of February and has not yet plateaued. One of the advisers to the Punjab government confirmed that more than 80% of the cases were attributed to the UK variant.

Significantly, the most affected districts are from Punjab’s Doaba region, known as the NRI (non-resident Indian) belt. An estimated 60-70% of the families in these districts have relatives abroad, mostly in the UK or Canada, and a high volume of travel to and from these countries.B.1.617, or what has been called the “Indian double mutation”, has drawn attention because it contains two mutations (known as E484Q and L452R) that have been linked to increased transmissibility and an ability to evade our immune system.

Many experts in India now think this is driving the surge.

Even as India’s health ministry announced the detection of the mutants on March 24, it went on to add:

[…] these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish or direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states.

The head of the Indian Council of Medical Research said there was no reason for panic because mutations are sporadic, and not significant. That day, the states of Maharashtra and Punjab accounted for 62.5% and 4.5% of 40,715 new cases, respectively.

Across the world, several key mutant strains have emerged thanks to ongoing virus replication in humans. Both ability to replicate and transmit, and a better ability to escape our immune systems, led to the variants establishing themselves as dominant strains across geographies and populations.

The UK variant (B.1.1.7) is at least 30% more transmissible. At a recent webinar, Indian experts observed the “Indian strain” (B.1.617) is similarly transmissible to the UK variant, but there is little evidence so far of it being more lethal than the original virus.

Why higher transmissibility is so concerning

According to epidemiologist Adam Kucharski at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the conundrum is this:

[…] suppose 10,000 people are infected in a city and each infects 1.1 other people on average, the low end for the estimated rate of infection in England. After a month, 16,000 people would have been infected. If the infection fatality rate is 0.8%, as it was in England at the end of the first wave of infections, it would mean 128 deaths. With a variant that is 50% more deadly, those 16,000 cases would result in 192 deaths. But with a variant that is 50% more transmissible, though no more deadly, there would be 122,000 cases after a month, leading to 976 deaths.

In all likelihood, this is the current Indian scenario: a higher overall death count despite the variants being no more fatal in relative terms.

Setting up a genomic surveillance system and consistently testing 5% of the positive samples is an expensive but important tool in the journey ahead. This can help us identify emerging hotspots, track transmission and enable nimble-footed decision-making and tailored interventions.The Conversation

 

Rajib Dasgupta, Chairperson, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

 

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Beluche, El monumento en Penonomé

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Monumento Bicentenario en Penonomé. Foto por la Gobernación de Coclé.

El monumento del Bicentenario en Penonomé y el Panamá colombiano

por Olmedo Beluche

“El camino del infierno está empedrado de buenas intenciones”, reza un viejo refrán. Esto parece ser lo que ha sucedido con las seguramente buenas intenciones de la gobernación de Coclé de ser la primera entidad política panameña en conmemorar de alguna manera el Bicentenario de la Independencia de España. Dado que llevamos ya casi medio año y no se aprecia ninguna actividad al respecto, pese a que ha sido nombrada una comisión especial, con seguridad las autoridades coclesanas tuvieron la buena voluntad de hacer su aporte con un “monumento” y una medalla denominada “Juan D. Arosemena” para personalidades de méritos públicos.

A partir de ese “buen” deseo conmemorativo, el resto de las decisiones tomadas por las autoridades de aquella gobernación y los funcionarios que fueron encargados de su realización constituyeron un desastre que no demoró en hacerse evidente y en ser señalado, con lo cual el efecto positivo esperado se ha transformado en su contrario.

Algunas feministas cuestionaron una medalla al mérito con el nombre del expresidente Juan D. Arosemena quien, quien fue un político tan conservador que persiguió a las sufragistas panameñas de aquella época, empezando con su dirigente, la Dra. Clara González, que tuvo que exiliarse para no ser arrestada.

Los que juegan a hacer política de “oposición” enfocándose en las nimiedades para no atacar el corazón de las decisiones económicas del actual gobierno, han centrado sus críticas en la profusión de medallas entregadas y en los personajes que las recibieron: varios ministros de estado, el vicepresidente y algunos políticos del oficialismo.

La mayoría de las críticas se han centrado en el monumento erigido en el corazón de Penonomé. El ingeniero Orlando Acosta Patiño ha cuestionado los criterios estéticos con que se hizo el “monumento -si puede llamarse así” y ha cuestionado que no se convocó un concurso para escultores nacionales y extranjeros basado en criterios rigurosos, poniendo como ejemplo contrario lo que en el pasado se hizo con la Plaza Porras y el Conjunto Escultórico de la Justicia en el Palacio Legislativo (La Estrella, 4/5/2021).

La periodista Emilia Zeballos ha recogido críticas de historiadores, artistas e intelectuales. Omar Jaén Suárez ha dicho: “El monumento no representa adecuadamente la historia del país y tampoco mejora el paisaje urbano”. El pintor Aristides Ureña Ramos agregó: “Creo que en verdad hemos bajado muy en bajo… seguimos abrazando el fascinante mundo de la república de las bananeras”. El historiador Rommel Escarreola ha señalado que el monumento contiene varios errores, como una simbología griega e ideología masónica, que no expresa a la nación y que su lema dice “Bicentenario de la República de Panamá”, cuando debió decir “Bicentenario de la Independencia de Panamá de España” (El Siglo 5/5/2021).

En fin, que en esta era de decadencia del capitalismo neoliberal, más cerca de la barbarie que de la civilización (como advertía Rosa Luxemburgo), en materia estética el mal gusto parece ser la moda artística prevaleciente; la improvisación el método de trabajo; la adulación de los jefes y clientelismo político, son las doctrinas que guían el accionar de las autoridades.

Quiero centrarme en el “lapsus” de quienes decidieron escribir en el monumento el lema “Bicentenario de la República de Panamá”. ¿Cómo se pudo cometer un error tan evidente? Siendo que la llamada “República de Panamá” (intervenida por Estados Unidos), recién apareció en 1903. ¿Qué puede llevar a quien quiera que haya diseñado el llamado monumento y a las autoridades que lo aprobaron a no darse cuenta del error histórico que contenía?

La respuesta es una combinación entre el bajo nivel cultural de nuestros políticos de turno y sus asesores, junto con una historia oficial falsificada a conveniencia de nuestras igualmente ignorantes élites oligárquicas, para quienes el período en que fuimos parte de Colombia debe ser pintado como una “era oscura”, si es que se habla de ello, porque de esa manera la traición cometida en 1903 queda embellecida como “una liberación”.

La tarea en que se ha empeñado la historia oficial es pintar a Panamá como “un hecho singular” en el conjunto de Latinoamérica, como si no hubiera nada en común, ni la historia, con nuestros hermanos colombianos o centroamericanos. Una historia así contada satisface la aspiración de la oligarquía panameña que soñaba con ser una estrella en la bandera yanqui borrando su estigma hispano, indígena, africano.

“Panamá se independizó sola de España”; “Bolívar no tuvo que venir a Panamá; “La nación panameña tiene 500 años de historia”; “Nos constituimos en nación independiente el 28 de Noviembre”. Con afirmaciones de esta índole es natural que alguien un poco ingenuo y carente de conocimientos históricos piense que hace 200 años se fundó la república de Panamá.

Cuando se habla del Panamá colombiano del siglo XIX se le pinta como algo sumamente negativo, que conviene olvidar: porque “los colombianos” nos tenían “olvidados”; nos “oprimían”; nos “explotaban”; nos sometían a cruentas guerras civiles a nosotros los “pacíficos” panameños; siempre fuimos una nación diferente, nunca fuimos colombianos; por eso Estados Unidos nos “liberó” dos veces, la primera de Colombia y la segunda de Noriega.

Dichas las cosas de esa manera es natural que el siglo XIX sea visto como “un trauma”, dicho a la manera de Hernán Porras o de Sigmund Freud, con lo cual es natural que tienda a olvidarse esa época “mala” y que alguien con buenas intenciones crea que en realidad la república panameña nació hace 200 años, ya que “nos independizamos solos”.

El anacronismo es el peor pecado de los historiadores, pero el más común, puesto que la historia manipulada es el caldo de cultivo de los nacionalismos, chauvinismos y la xenofobia muy conveniente a la burguesía que se representa así misma como encarnación y guía de la nación.

La realidad es que, no solo no surgió ninguna “República de Panamá” hace 200 años, sino que tampoco “nos independizamos solos”, y que la historia de ese periodo para su cabal comprensión no admite los estrechos márgenes del localismo y provincialismo, sino que exige una visión global y continental porque los que se deshizo fue el imperio colonial “español”.

Hace 200 años en Panamá no habría pasado nada, ni el general monárquico José de Fábrega se hubiera pasado al bando republicano, sin las victorias previas de Vicente Guerrero, José de San Martín y Simón Bolívar y sin las previas independencias de la Nueva España, la capitanía de Guatemala (Centroamérica), la Nueva Granada, el Río de la Plata, Chile y la Villa de Los Santos todas las cuales precedieron al 28 de Noviembre y lo marcaron.

Basta de chauvinismo, provincialismo y pseudo nacionalismo en la historia panameña para que reconozcamos sin ambages que estamos celebrando el Bicentenario de la Independencia de España y de la República de Colombia de la que los istmeños hicimos parte orgullosamente.

 

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Negrete, The United States after Trump

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rednex
The economic forces that helped to give rise and direction to the Trump phenomena have social and political consequences. These will not just disappear and cannot be quantified as an exact science. So these kind of people will also affect the post-Trump USA. Photo by Blink O’fanaye.

The United States after Trump

by Armando Negrete — Latin American Economic Observatory

As the world economy moves towards new normality, a period of profound international transformations is approaching. The economic and health crisis provoked by COVID19 has shown the limits of UN multilateralism and international cooperation, the effects of the trade and technology wars against China, the interests behind technological control of the energy transition, and the loss of US leadership. The election of Joseph Biden prevented the continuation of Trump’s program and restored an international Democratic plan to the executive. Given these changes, what can international relations and our Latin American countries expect after the first 100 days of his mandate?

At the beginning of March, Biden published his Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (INSSG), intending to set out the foreign policy and security foundations to define the new National Security Strategy that will replace that of 2017. The document recognizes how China became more assertive and became ‘the only competitor capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to pose a challenge to the international system.’ It identifies, as the most urgent task, rebuilding its economic foundations, regaining its place in international institutions, modernizing its military and diplomatic capabilities, and revitalizing its network of global alliances and partnerships. However, the damage caused by the Trump administration in these areas was profound, and the path of reconstruction will face several problems in all areas.

Concerning its place in international institutions, the United States spoke out against the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO), UNESCO and pulled out of the Iraq Nuclear Agreement, the Open Skies Treaty, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Under Biden, the United States rejoined the WHO and the COVAX program with an additional $2 billion contribution, and the Paris Agreement, with strengthened emission reduction commitments. In principle, the United States rejoins the fight against two of today’s most essential crises, health, and climate, but does not address its economic problem and loss of leadership.

In his first 100 days speech, Biden announced his three-part Build Back Better (BBB) agenda: rescue, recovery, and rebuild. The agenda incorporates: 1. A Rescue Plan, consisting of $1.9 trillion in income support to households, safe return to schools and reinforcement of the vaccination program; 2. A Jobs Plan, dedicated to job creation through an investment of more than $2.3 billion in construction, infrastructure and clean energy; and 3. A Family Plan, consisting of $1.8 trillion spending for “middle-class prosperity” in education, health care, and childcare, as well as changes to the tax law and reversal of 2017 tax breaks. Overall, the BBB comprises more than $6 trillion in federal spending, the largest in its history.

The Biden administration’s most sensitive focus, expressed in both the INSSG and the BBB agenda, is the economic recovery that achieves growth, competitiveness, and technological development. Between 2010 and 2019, the United States has sustained average GDP growth of 2.2 percent, far below China’s 7.6 percent and even 2.8 percent worldwide. The loss of international competitiveness ended with a trade war against the most dynamic economy, which leads not only in terms of growth rate but also in technological innovation, energy transition, and, increasingly, diplomacy. The gap between these two economies is widening.

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According to Biden, “there is no reason why wind turbine blades can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing” or “…why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.” He ignores the minimal productivity gains that have been dragging on for more than three decades and the high wages of US workers and even seeks to increase them. Since 1990, when China began to open its market and, more strongly, since 2000, when it joined the World Trade Organization, the relocation of production and the building of global value chains have moved towards much more productive economies.

Biden’s national security strategy position recognizes that ‘the United States cannot afford to remain absent on the world stage, as it had been under Trump. However, it does not consider whether it is too late or even possible to return to the same place. The legitimacy of US democracy has finally collapsed, after all the interventions and coups in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, with the latest spectacle of its last elections and the unchecked racial violence in policing. Despite its massive budget, the BBB plan will face its structural limits and the accelerating global transformations led by China. The risk will then be that economic and political avenues exhausted, the United States will seek to regain its leadership by military means. The long-term economic effect of low US growth will be that it will continue to drag down Latin American economies, especially in the Caribbean Basin.

 

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Cabbies snarl the metro area / Taxistas arrasan el área metropolitana

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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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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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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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bono
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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