Three old stories that hackers had erased from our archives


A tiny bit of restoration after an old criminal attack

by Eric Jackson

The erasure and falsification of the historical record is an old, old story in Panama — and as new as the latest revelations about many teachers here having been hired on the basis of fraudulent academic credentials. It was going on before there were computers, and before there was a Republic of Panama. These three stories, from 2002 and 2003, are retrieved from the massive series of hacks between 2013 and 2015 that erased most of The Panama News archives.

The editor has a short list of suspects, but really doesn’t know who did it, nor can he prove a case against anyone.

When we had a rector of the University of Panama with a fake doctorate, and a president of Panama who claimed a doctoral degree that he didn’t have — both still-living men — you get into a culture of “everyone does it” and “it’s terribly rude to point that out.”

But the nation’s history does matter, and erasure of the record is a serious matter. There are always more pressing things to do, but bit by bit there is restoration work ongoing at the Panama News.

These three stories no doubt offend some people — indeed, some powerful people and powerful institutions. So be it. They are about our history, about behaviors that need to change if current scandalous realities are ever to change.



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