Editorial, Nito’s turn; and Close the camps

We can like what Nito does or not, but he has the votes in the Assembly.
Photo by the Presidencia.

United yet dissonant Inauguration Day

Who has the votes to control the National Assembly? Who controls most of the municipal governments? Who will assume control of the Panama Canal authority in short order? Who will be making some key appointments that the legislature blocked former President Varela from making?

With Panama’s strong presidential system, you would be almost entirely right to say Nito Cortizo. It would be slightly more accurate to day the Democratic Revolutionary Party. But still it might be too simple in several important cases.

In his inaugural address Cortizo more or less owned up to part of that:


Panama demands the restoration of effective justice.
It will not be up to me to elect a prosecutor, nor an attorney general, nor a judge, nor a magistrate nor a comptroller general.
Thus I reiterate to the prosecutors, judges and magistrates — YOU owe it to the country and to your own consciences. No political pressures, nor economic ones. And much less from me!


Which is perhaps comforting. He’s not going to play it like Martinelli, and send somebody like Salo Shamah around to the court with orders for the magistrates.

Cortizo also emphasized that there will be no untouchables in his administration — not legislators, not ministers, not powerful business magnates — and that he intends to maintain a rule of law and let no private interest trump the national interest.

Easy enough to say, but earlier in the day the legislature elected its leaders. The woman whom he beat in the PRD presidential primary, under suspicion for money that was supposedly for the sports scene that passed through her office over the past five years, is now the first vice president of the National Assembly. In HER inaugural speech, she railed against the comptroller general and the attorney general for having the audacity to to look at money that passed through the legislature, often enough stopping in legislators’ pockets.

Thing is, soon enough the terms of the current attorney general and comptroller general end, and it’s the legislature, not the president, who fills those posts. Meanwhile in the assembly, Ricky Martinelli’s Cambio Democratico block gave its support to the PRD and MOLIRENA alliance’s leadership slate. As in, it appears, some sort of pact to end all of the investigations and prosecutors of more than a decade-long crime wave that has cost Panamanians billions of dollars.

Cortizo offered a neoliberal plan of action that includes austerity measures that a lot of people will hate, but some things that may also be popular. We shall see how he and his party can stick together about the hard decisions. Odds are, he will be criticized, but he won’t be stopped. Until, perhaps, he goes to the voters with a lame set of constitutional proposals.


freedom now
Trump supporters will argue, but there are now US concentration camps for the children of asylum seekers.

FREEDOM NOW! Join the worldwide protest

It’s quick, cheap and easy: 1) Make a sign; 2) Take a selfie with that sign; 3) Share it and urge others to join.

You might also register your protest by starting with a photo of yourself, with Gimp or Photoshop or so on using your computer to create an electronic sign of just the right size and pasting it into the photo. Some options look like these, but there are many ways to do it.

The thing is your personal message to join the online chorus. Post it on social media. Perhaps on The Panama News Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thepanamanews or in the Democrats Abroad Panama Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/311349865599942/. Surely on your own Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed. Maybe in some group or social circles where people will be receptive to the call.


this horse learned METHOD acting -- he doesn't DO moo, because he doesn't have it in him

Bear in mind…

I am I because my little dog knows me.

Gertrude Stein

There’s a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.

Charles M. Schulz

Those who don’t move don’t notice their chains.

Rosa Luxemburg


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