Editorials: Panama and Venezuela; and Off the deep end

The number about participation well enough negates claims of a mandate. TeleSur screenshot.

Panama and Venezuela

Ever since Nicolás Maduro manipulated things so that he didn’t face a recall election for which sufficient Venezuelan voters had duly petitioned, democracy has been a hollow concept in his country. There is a broad consensus among democratic people, in places both free and not, that Sunday’s Venezuelan legislative elections didn’t really return a mandate that corresponded to popular wishes and aspirations in that troubled country.

Still, what is Panama doing signing onto a document along with the thuggish regimes in Honduras and Brazil that criticizes any other country’s election?

It could have been worse. The Cortizo administration might have signed onto Donald Trump’s bullying bluster.

Panamanians should recall that before Hugo Chávez’s ascent to power, Venezuela helped Panama keep the lights on and the buses running during the privations of Noriega times and the US sanctions that made them so much worse. As sister republics descended from Simón Bolívar’s liberation movement, over many years Panama and Venezuela are tied by countless debts and favors.

As the fossil fuel age ends, Venezuela needs plenty of help to adapt to the change. As the nature and routes of shipping, and of the production of things that get shipped, change and move about, Panama may also have to move beyond its present principal industry, just like we did when the 17th century heyday of the trade fairs was over. It will not suit the two countries to be estranged as we go through our respective difficult adjustments.



Off the deep end

Surely there are people who want to make others die, and may even be willing to themselves die, over weird conspiracy theories to explain away popular and Electoral College majorities. These people attack every field of academic inquiry — history, law, political science, medicine, climate science and so on — so they are not about to consider what it means for them to make war on the United States of America.

That they have a lame duck US president and a major party in one of the states egging them on should give pause for reflection.


1969 in NYC, photo by Elliot Landy.

               Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.

Janis Joplin               

Bear in mind…


To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or justice.

English Magna Carta


Arms are instruments of ill omen. . . . When one is compelled to use them, it is best to do so without relish. There is no glory in victory, and to glorify it despite this is to exult in the killing of men. . . . When great numbers of people are killed, one should weep over them with sorrow. When victorious in war, one should observe mourning rites.

Lao Tzu


I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.

Lily Tomlin



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