The Ministry of Health has a Twitter feed which, itself often problematic, does tend to focus on substantive things. The Health Minister’s feed? A lot of self-promotion and political propaganda for the current administration. It would not be so bad, but for the serious things that need to be said and are not. The usual public official’s communications just don’t rise to Panama’s serious predicament. Graphic from the minister’s Twitter feed.
With all due respect, Dr. Sucre…
“Executive Decree 64 of January 28, 2020, refers to sanctions, for anyone who uses the media or social networks to misinform or lie through them.”
Dr. Sucre at a December 27 press conference
Since Day One of the epidemic in Panama, the English-speaking community has seen some dangerous social media posts by its members living here and by anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers reaching down from the USA. Mostly it’s a matter of extreme Donald Trump supporters. The danger is not politically incorrect speech, but anti-scientific ranting puts people off their guard against a deadly plague, and incitement of people here to violate the health decrees, thus spreading illness and death.
It has long been the editorial stand of The Panama News that the best response to false, defamatory, inflammatory and misleading speech and writing is, crudely put, “You asshole!” rather than “You’re under arrest!” Ditch the rude language and the principle remains the same. Refute false and harmful speech to defeat it.
That, however, is rarely what this administration, its ministries or its ministers have done in this crisis. The laws are in place to arrest anyone preaching the circulation in public without masks and, if by a foreigner, to put the person doing it on a plane to somewhere else. Not only don’t we get any such law enforcement or warnings about it, but we have never seen this administration refute such widespread, false and deadly propaganda as the “Plandemic” video, which was peddled in just about every English-language Facebook group that tolerated it.
It was the wiser heads in the community that fought back, either by leaving up on Facebook walls and scornfully responding to it, or erasing it. The Trumpsters who, for example, from the USA baited gringos here for not defying Panama’s health decrees, were largely driven off by being blocked from most pages and groups here.
And Panama has all these highly paid “influencers” and ad agencies on its government payroll, yet has failed to deploy them against the enemy propaganda, nor very much to educate the public about the scientific issues involved.
Panama deserves a better defense in your communications, those of your ministry and those of the Cortizo administration in general. These threats do more harm than good, unless perhaps in an egregious case or two they are conspicuously carried out.
Just answer the false and educate the public.
The gloves are off. There are four more days of early voting. Election Day is January 5.
It’s not about identity politics — it’s about honor, the US Senate, bread and butter
The black reverend and the Jew are running against the white carpetbagger who married the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange and the white scion of a Georgia political dynasty. The married into it billionaire is hobnobbing with white supremacists and anti-Semites. The former governor’s son is laying low in person, but flooding television with low blows financed by his wealthy donor base.
In Georgia, identity politics may work best for the Republicans. They try to use them to get black racists to vote against the Jew, and Jewish racists to vote against the African-American. Add to their advantage the usual trend that Republicans turn out for every election and Democrats don’t.
But you have two Republicans who used insider information to make insider stock trades and profit off of the epidemic while their constituents suffered. How tired are Georgians of all the sordid thugs?
On the other hand, the two Democrats are talking about hard economic facts. In the state that’s home to the Centers for Disease Control, they are resolutely defending science against all the bizarre stuff that comes out of the GOP, QAnon, the Klan and the anti-maskers. Yes, a black man and a Jew in Georgia of all places, but they are not talking about being “the first since” but about politics that matter to people with all sorts of identities.
Control of the US Senate is in the balance. With one out of every thousand Americans already having died of COVID-19, a lot of lives are also hanging in the balance.
Time and time again we forget all too easily that nonviolent action embraces a wide and imaginative range of behavior which can always be stepped up.
Bear in mind…
Without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men.
Investing in health will produce enormous benefits.
Gro Harlem Brundtland
If I fall, pick up the flag, kiss it, and keep on going.
Omar Torrijos Herrera
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