Editorials: The Tonosi case; and In the USA



The high court rejects the Tonosi irrigation case

Why complain about what’s likely to be a temporary insult?

At the bottom line, it’s about an expensive irrigation project that the Panamanian people paid for but didn’t get. Go one step deeper and it’s about an international financial crime that involved former Vice President Felipe Virzi and the now closed Banco Universal that he ran. Look at the threads and the individuals involved — more than 30 in this case alone — and you are led to the Financial Pacific stock swindle and money laundering combine, which in turn involves the disappearance and probable murder of Securities Markets Superintendency investigator Vernon Ramos and international networks of computer crime. The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the irrigation project fraud case as to Ricardo Martinelli, announced during Carnival so that few would be paying attention, was because some of the papers were said to be improperly collated and not dated correctly.

It is and was an easily fixable error, but in a political caste and among economic elites who disdain and just don’t do work, the decision to reject the case will be readily understood. To all of the rest of us in Panama — the great majority — it’s a slap in the face. They are using a holiday to hide things from us and that’s conduct unbecoming of public officials of any sort.

The case can and probably will be brought back with papers in order but between now and then the anti-corruption movement that has focused on Odebrecht and the executive and legislative branches of government ought to turn its attention for a moment to the courts. This sort of brazen insult at a time of a great moral crisis in the nation is a good indication of why the best way to get out of the predicament is by way of an originating constitutional convention, an assembly that assumes the powers of all branches of national government while in session, including control over the judiciary. The system is broken and we can’t allow magistrates who pull these sorts of stunts to interfere in its reconstruction.


the fallen
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian engineer slain in the wave of racist hysteria whipped up by Donald Trump.

This past week in the USA

The brains behind the Trump White House, Steve Bannon, proclaimed a New Order.

Immigration cops burst into hospitals and dragged away seriously ill patients who were in the country illegally. Immigration cops held Muhammad Ali Jr., son of the great boxer, the son who was born in Pennsylvania, of a father who was born in Kentucky, to interrogate him about being a Muslim. Immigration cops barged onto a domestic flight, checking everybody’s ID to look for non-citizens.

A white supremacist opened fire on an engineer from India and his Indian-American friend, shouting that they should leave his country. Federal authorities wouldn’t call it either terrorism or a hate crime.

The Trump White House banned nine media organizations from its press conferences, including the British state-owned BBC. Two other media organizations, Time and the Associated Press, refused to participate under such conditions. Trump, meanwhile, berated the FBI for not issuing him an “all clean” certificate with respect to his campaign’s ties with Russia, and said that he intends to criminalize the use on confidential sources in news reporting.

A New Order? Join The Resistance.


Bear in mind…

The constant development of unprecedented problems requires a legal system capable of fluidity and pliancy. Our society would be strait-jacketed were not the courts, with the able assistance of the lawyers, constantly overhauling the law and adapting it to the realities of ever-changing social, industrial and political conditions; although changes cannot be made lightly, yet law must be more or less impermanent, experimental and therefore not nicely calculable. Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value.

Sonia Sotomayor

I studied all about Gauguin. He was a banker. He was a banker who — he used to paint on Sundays. And one day he hated himself for painting on Sundays.

Anthony Quinn

If anything could justify insurrection in a free and constituted country, it would be precisely the caprice of the legislators who don’t make necessary reforms, after great defects in the constitution are proven.

Justo Arosemena


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