Publishing on poverty rations in plague times

meowis propaganda

How this works — and doesn’t

by Eric Jackson

So, I’ve run out of time – that is, money – on the Claro chip by which my laptop, through a Huawei dongle stick, connects to the Internet? And worse yet, not enough for a recharge to get me slowly on my way for another month?

The former calculation was to work offline, get the most important things ready to upload, then for the price of bus fare to and from Anton or Penonome, go with my computer to a place with free WiFi. From there I could connect with the web to upload to The Panama News website, plus check my email and the social media chatter. Repeat as needed, but not a whole lot of money would be needed but when money did come in it was only $15 plus tax to get a month’s slow connection to Claro, by monopolistic arrangement the only Internet service in my part of Cocle.

Come plague days, no WiFi at the old spots and the cops won’t like someone hanging out in those venues typing on a laptop, either. There’s a rational medical justification for that.

Nito gave us this decree about no cutoff of Internet services, and no utility gouging, during the state of emergency. As to me, it’s lie. That’s for fixed contacts, and the month’s slow service for 15 bucks is not available unless you go to their offices for a recharge, and those offices are closed. Any argument about this between Eric Jackson and Carlos Slim and Nito listens to the Mexican billionaire and pays negative zero attention to the Panagringo journalist.So, loading my chip through Claro cards or money sent in via Ding, depending on how I ration I get a day or two of service for every $15 I put into my connection. It has tremendously increased the cost of producing The Panama News, as little as that was and still is. But then, Nito has been spending prodigiously from the public coffers to flat-out brand everything that comes from the small media as “fake news.”

At a time when everyone, including the relatively small band of donors who have kept this publication going over the years, is hurting in a financial sense, the increased production costs and more modest income means different eating habits for the dogs, the cats and me. For me a starchier diet with the greens, peppers and beans I grow makes me fatter at this point and the dogs are not that picky. Felines are more demanding.

On hold waiting for more money? Updating the WordPress theme and the antivirus protection. A new external keyboard. A new USB interface for camera chips. New reading glasses calibrated to the distance at my work station. (Optical, audiological and dental are also on the health list but not so closely production-related.) A new laptop so as to make this machine the backup. A travel budget, when they allow travel again. All sorts of tools and supplies for my “other job” as a Third World peasant.

Would it be the stuff of The Blues? Yeah, but the Upper Great Lakes is where I got the bulk of my appreciation for that. Not that the Detroit River isn’t also one of the world’s busiest waterways, but Panama and its canal are different. So maybe a decima? Naaah – I get enough mockery from weenie Facebook trolls.


Claro has increased the cost of Internet service for The Panama News by at least six-fold. To help with that, there are two things you might do:
1: Send money to the The Panama News Internet chip’s Claro number, which is (507) 62757611, via Ding at
2. Buy Claro prepaid phone cards, scratch off the covering on the code numbers and email those numbers to

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