Editorials: Varela; and Trump



Investigate Varela

We have two men who would have been in a position to know who have made public statements that President Juan Carlos Varela took money from the corrupt Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht.

The first to say that had been Varela’s minister without portfolio, de facto leader of Varela’s Panameñista Party and for the first year and a half of this administration Varela’s right-hand man, attorney Ramón Fonseca Mora of Mossack Fonseca infamy.

The second to say that was Spanish-Brazilian attorney Rogelio Tacla Durán, whom Odebrecht hired as an outside counsel to set up a system of companies and bank accounts that would allow them to make corrupt cash payments without leaving any paper trail.

And what has the jailed former CEO of Odebrecht, Marcelo Odebrecht, said? About his company’s general modus operandi in the bribery game, he said that they would either pay off all sides in a country’s political system or they would pay nobody. There is strong documentary evidence and there are multiple witnesses that Ricardo Martinelli was paid handsomely by Odebrecht, so what does that say about Varela’s Panameñistas and the PRD?

Yes, innocent until proven guilty. Yes, nobody whose statements implicate the president is an admirable person whose honesty is beyond question. But the sophistries and pseudo-legal excuses about why Varela can’t and shouldn’t be investigated are annoying. The personal attacks on those who are demanding a proper investigation are sickening. From the Panameñista camp the creepiest of the screeds are coming from the same crew and assuming the same tone as the attacks on those who questioned their flagrantly corrupt hero of yesteryear, Bosco Vallarino.

Varela should agree to and cooperate with a full, honest and independent investigation of the allegations against him or he should resign.



Contain Trump

Will The Donald be going the way of Mr. Flynn and Mr. Scaramucci in short order? Perhaps. It’s hard to see how he can go the distance at the pace he’s going. The replacement will be another set of serious problems if Trump goes. A Democratic Party led by people without many good ideas — to the extent that anyone can be said to lead the party at the moment — would not help matters if he goes right away.

Best for the opposition to dig in for a long struggle, in the course of which it is to be hoped that the factions will find their leaders and a common program will be agreed. Good ideas are actually being introduced as bills in Congress, but of course few of them have any chance of passing. Right now the name of the game is blocking bad ideas.

The United States is at war in too many places, hardly any of them where there is a credible end game in mind. The cost of the present course, which predates the Trump administration, may yet bankrupt the nation. It’s already letting other powers gain economic advantages. Major new wars, escalations of old ones, and geopolitical blunders are the most important avenues of action on which Donald Trump should be blocked. “Tough talk” and foreign policy goading by Democrats may well blow up in the nation’s face. We are dealing with a dangerously unstable man. We aren’t going to get any sober reasoning from Trump and this imposes on his opponents a duty to remain scrupulously level-headed. The demagoguery coming from the White House can’t be usefully countered by its mirror image from Democrats.


Bear in mind…

In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.
Ambrose Bierce


Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.
Jane Goodall


The leader’s good intention is not enough, what’s indispensable is the collective factor that the workers represent. The people of Mexico are no longer impressed by hollow phrases like freedom of conscience or economic freedom.
Lázaro Cárdenas


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