Editorial: Trump’s envoy incites anti-Chinese racism here

Top of the title page of the most infamous work of Panamanian racism.
In 1941 Panamanians of Chinese descent were among those stripped of citizenship.

Donald Trump sees urgent business to do in Panama, above and beyond retrieving the management contract for the hotel and condo complex in Punta Pacifica that he lost in bankruptcy proceedings in the US federal court for the Southern District of New York. His big priorities are to overthrow the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua, and to draft the whole world into his economic war with China. So he sent this hardcore right-wing Cuban-American fanatic, Mauricio Claver-Carone, to be his special envoy with messages for outgoing President Varela, President-Elect Cortizo, the Panamanian public via the Debate Abierto television show, Panama Canal administrator Jorge Quijano and various reputed economic and political power brokers here.

The conversations with Varela and Cortizo were separate. The reported plea with Varela was for Panamanian participation in the overthrow of the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua. With Cortizo the discussions were reportedly more general. In all discussions an attack on the Chinese was salient. Claver-Carone demanded that Panama prevent tankers carrying Venezuelan oil to China from passing through the canal, notwithstanding the treaty on canal neutrality. He warned about sinister military purposes in Huawei cell phones and communications networks. Without making any competing US offers, he warned against doing business with the Chinese in general.

And he told Panamanians to be “very cautious about Chinese tourists.”

Claver-Carone not only heads the ultra-rightist US-Cuba Democracy PAC that Trump is counting on for help in carrying Florida in 2020. He is not only an international radio show host. He is not only a former US Treasury Department lawyer. He is also teaches at George Washington University and once taught classes at Catholic University of America. He well knows the long history of anti-Chinese racism in Panama. He knows that this racism was once embedded in our constitution.

Claver-Carone, and Donald Trump, know the race card they are playing. They are appealing to Panamanians to look with suspicion not only against Chinese tourists, but against every Panamanian who looks Chinese.

Panama has laws against foreigners coming here and preaching racism. These should be invoked. Claver-Carone ought to be declared persona non grata. Let him preach racism in Miami, but not in Panama.


Correction: In an earlier version, based on this source, Claver-Carone was identified as a law professor at Catholic University of America. The school says that although he once taught classes there, he was never a tenured professor and does not teach there now.



Protesters at the Minnesota state capitol. Photo by Lorie Shaull.

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