Editorials: A virus in control; and Orderly justice

ugly numbers

How did we go from one of the best
to the worst in this short time?

The most basic reason is that President Cortizo will not say no to his wealthy donor base, nor to the thugs in his own party, who insist on privileges even when that upon which they insist is, in their own self-centered terms, short-sighted and self-destructive.

So heiress Ursula Kiener Ford, who was on the legislature’s payroll, shows her Norieguista bona fides – just like the former strong man abandoned his command when the shooting war came, she heads out for Europe, with insults for a whole nation, as the epidemic spikes here. Perhaps she will be quarantined on the other side of the pond. Perhaps EU authorities will want her explanation of the death of Jacob Ehrler. But maybe over there they will see a young woman’s face and lots of money and embrace her as an “influencer” to bring banana republic values to their shores. Here, PRD legislator Raúl Pineda owes his party and his constituents an explanation of why he put her on the public payroll.

So Panama City mayor Tank of Gas Fabrega got caught violating quarantine, and to add to the insult in someone else’s municipality. He may yet be held to account in some fashion, but what about the tens of thousands of other with dubious, purchased, fraudulent or unnecessary passes who bring COVID-19 from the metro area to the Interior every weekend? Are we going to punish individuals, how many thousand times? Or shall we demand an accounting from a very few people who let it get this way?

Labor doesn’t get to talk to the legislature about labor legislation. Nito’s thug deputy from Colon, Bolota, saw to that. So of course labor is going to resist Nito wherever, whenever and however it can. Bolota is what he is, but it’s Nito’s fault for losing control of his party, which has turned into a grasping clutch of gangsters, very much like it did in Noriega times.

The Catholic archbishop calls for talks among many sectors of society. It’s a good idea but Nito and Bolota have made it abundantly clear that some holy men, Tank of Gas, Bolota, Pineda, Ursual Kiener’s social circle and a few business and civic organizations will be welcome but the vast majority of Panamanians will not be.

Your move, President Cortizo.


Photo by the Presidencia, way back when.

Do review the abuses to which judges are subjected

Send in a squad of lawyers to run a scorched earth strategy on the court? The person who sent them should be penalized, but what should be definitively burned is those lawyers’ licenses to practice law.

Ricky Martinelli gets excused from defending criminal charges against himself until a time more convenient for himself on account of mental illness? Then when bringing a case to harass someone else he should be held mentally incompetent to bring his insane penchant for revenge into another court.

A rich fugitive sends a legal team before a judge to get a writ of habeas corpus? The judge ought to have every right and duty to refuse to hear a motion on behalf of a fugitive.

There is plenty of ugliness to go around in Panama’s legal system, but to mount a media defense of dishonest vilification or threats against the judge ought to get the person doing it held in contempt.

Maybe the Supreme Court magistrates will get that radical in response to Judge Rowe’s petition for protection of her judicial independence, maybe they won’t. But let’s bear in mind that rules like these are the norm in most of the world. It would not be an inferiority complex for Panama to adopt them, but rather an assertion of self-respect.


Sketch by Daniel Alvarado Silvera / Wikimedia.

Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen.

Bob Marley


Bear in mind…


Language is the laughter of the soul.

Pablo Neruda


Mitch McConnell is privately telling GOP candidates to distance themselves from Trump if they need to. Welp, they can stand 6,000 feet away & wear 10 masks. It’s too late. They’re all infected with #Moronavirus.

Bette Midler


When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.

Malala Yousafzai


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