Editorial: President Nito


Set to take over

On Monday Nito Cortizo takes the oath, and with a working majority in the legislature. By political circumstance he gets to make a bunch of extraordinary appointments that his predecessor could not get confirmed. This is going to be the least divided government since the 1989 US invasion. Cortizo will not, like Ricardo Martinelli did, have to twist arms to get disloyal opportunists to board his ship of state. He has his own people in place.

By a narrow plurality Panamanians elected a politician, not Superman. But he will be the president and the country really can’t afford a fifth straight failed presidency. All patriotic Panamanians, including the nearly two-thirds majority who voted against him, should wish Cortizo well.

He has put together a team of a few old party hands and a new generation about whom we mostly don’t know very much. If he is wise, after a year or two he will ask for the resignations of all members of his team, tell a lot of them that he wants them to stay where they are and carry on, ask some of them to move to some other post in the government and thank and say goodbye to a bunch of others. Too much loyalty to individuals is a time-honored route to failure, but the antidote to that is not to be a miserable boss. We will see Cortizo’s managerial skills in short order.

He inherits a bad economy, one made worse by Panama being caught in the middle of an economic conflict between the Panama Canal’s historic two best customers. A United States with threats but few offers? Cortizo was educated in the USA and knows the good and bad of Americans. A China dangling lines of credit? Cortizo’s a businessman who didn’t run on a platform of how he was going to manage the country like a business, but who surely has the sense to understand that the Chinese will want their loans repaid. Corrupt offers from Brazil? Cortizo needs to be the one who oversees the prison custody of those who took such before and very intolerant of anyone who would play those games in his administration.

The hopes are always higher than the expectations. Let Nito narrow that gap.


the sage

When armies are mobilized and issues are joined,
The man who is sorry over the fact will win.

Lao Tzu                         


Bear in mind…


Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology.

Rebecca West



Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

Horace Mann



We are not gathered here today in order to change the world. We are here with a more modest proposal – which proposes to create a new world.

Comandanta Ramona



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