Bernal, Required reading to understand the Panama Papers


Shiver me tmbers

Treasure Islands

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

Just six months ago the Panama Papers, just six months ago, shook countless governments and rulers, media, financial centers and banks from east to west and north to south, with the exception of Panama. That’s not to mention the citizen reactions in several countries, where important figures were exposed unseated.

The Panamanian government has managed to cover with a blanket of protection and concealment — larger than the ridiculous pink tarp on El Valle’s India Dormida — the irreparable damage that their complicity in this matter has meant to our people.

A recent article by Joseph Stiglitz and Mark Pieth comes back to expose the Varela administration and its double standard on the subject of the Panama Papers.

It thus makes it worthwhile, for its importance and relevance, to read what Nicholas Shaxson offers us in his book, Las Islas del Tesoso: los paraísos fiscales y los hombres que se robaron el mundo (Buenos Aires, Fondo de Cultura Económica 2013) — find its original English version here. It’s a rich investigation of why tax havens are not only found in the heart of the global economy, but also the most important reasons why poor people and poor countries remain poor.

The 500 pages of this book forthrightly show us that this extraterritorial system of tax havens concentrates the ties between the criminal underworld and the financial elite, and links the senior leaders of diplomatic and intelligence services with multinational firms. It’s the way power operates today, and it has concentrated wealth and power in the rich more strongly than any other historical event. However, its effects have been almost invisible.

In Panama, where media manipulation has kept people from knowing what has happened and why there are tax havens, this is required reading.

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