Editorials, Mayor Fábrega et al relapse; and Varieties of war talk

he's back
Álvaro Alvarado’s reader-response “insty-poll” on Twitter is on several counts non-random and thus does not accurately reflect Panama City voters’ opinion of whether it would be a good idea to recall the mayor. The survey also doesn’t accurately gauge public opinion about the mayor’s proposal to build a new seafood market and revive the artificial beach plan for the horribly polluted Panama Bay. However, it more accurately reflects public opinion that last November’s secret “public consultation” wherein 19 people applauded the idea. The top is from the mayors’ propaganda touting the $40 million scheme. Below is from Mr. Alvorado’s Twitter feed poll to which more than 5,000 people responded. 

The fix is in — perhaps

Mayor Tank of Gas and most of the capital’s city council are at it again. The cable car from the seafood market to the top of Ancon Hill was a quick disappearing blip. The artificial beach on a stretch of the city’s waterfront between the malodorous mouth of the Matasnillo River and the Casco Viejo was pretty much shouted down before that blip, but now it’s back, as part of a $40 million project that calls for a new seafood market and nearby developments, one of which is bringing in sand to create an artificial beach.

The mayor has the support of all but two members of the city council on this. Don Bosco’s representante Guillermo Bermúdez, who cast one of the two “no” votes when the city council jammed through a call for bids on the project, said that the mayor is “disconnected” from what city residents think. But is he really? An irrisory “public consultation” that drew only a selected 19 participants last November? A project of this magnitude brought from the floor at a February 15 city council meeting, with none of the usual supporting analysis? It sounds very much like the mayor knows exactly what public opinion is and he’s hiding from it and mocking it.

As a gift to Panama, Japan built us a perfectly good Mercado de Mariscos. It needs more regular maintenance. The city probably needs another seafood market on the east side, perhaps near the mouth of the Juan Diaz River. The city probably needs one or more new parking structures to serve the seafood market and the Cinco de Mayo area and its Metro station and bus terminal.

However, a debt crisis is looming. Panama has a hard enough time paying for things that we need. This latest mayoral boondoggle is likely to be shelved for lack of money.

Why would Fábrega and the representantes do this? This editor guesses that promises have already been made. Maybe some money has already been put down with respect to this project.

Moreover, the mayor and his backers are doing this because in the short term, they can. A lawyer is filing papers with the Electoral Tribunal to start a recall petition, but the present constitutional requirements make it next to impossible to gather enough signatures in the required time.

Just because this game can be played however, does not mean that people should shut up and let it continue. The inherent weaknesses of this plan, and enough public opposition, are likely to pause and ultimately stop this foolishness.


War propaganda

There are causes. There are grievances. There are demands.

On all sides.

Do the Ukrainians want to be their own sovereign nation? As in not to have Russians determine their fate? To be unlike the Bolivians and the Hondurans and the Chileans and the Panamanians, all of whom have seen US-aligned interventions to change their governments?

Do the Russians want to live without hostile foreign military bases close by? Like the Americans objected to Soviet nuclear ballistic missiles stationed in Cuba back in 1962?

Let’s not get into arguments about who’s worse, or who started what and when, so as to justify the horrors of war. Let’s not cheer as two great powers who both lost wars to Afghanistan maneuver and bluster to polish tarnished reputations.

In the history of western and central Europe, going to war with Russia has always been the most self-destructive of follies. In Russian history, the times when Russia was a vassal to powers from the east were the times of violence and degradation.

Will the unfolding conflict end short of all-out war, with a Russia that can no longer do business with many other countries becoming an economic dependent of China? Perhaps that would serve them right, but would it serve US interests?

Among American citizens, both in the USA and abroad, the divisions are multiple, stark and dangerous.

Donald Trump calls Vladimir Putin a “genius” for what he’s doing. “How smart is that? He’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper.” Well, yeah — from a guy who engineered a coup in Bolivia that put a far-right white minority regime headed by a religious fanatic in power for a year or so. From a guy whose pretenses of being fabulously rich were rescued by members of Putin’s Russian Mob power base buying units in his real estate projects. From a guy who unsuccessfully tried to bully the Ukrainians into taking his side in the 2020 US elections.

It’s one thing to understand, even sympathize with, Russian demands. It’s quite another to idolize the Russian autocrat.

What if the opposition to such disloyalty to US traditions and manners, coming from both Kyiv and Washington, is Ukraine the US military base? What long-lasting good does that do for anyone?

That is, anyone other than for those who sell weapons of war?

There is this confrontation to play out, and the world should hope, wind down. Afterward, all concerned need to review and revise the stereotypical thinking that got the world into this crisis.



Morality becomes hypocrisy if it means accepting mothers’ suffering or dying in connection with unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions and unwanted children.

Gro Harlem Brundtland


Bear in mind…


Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Rainer Maria Rilke


It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.

Aretha Franklin


Our mind should be soft and open enough to understand things as they are… It is called mindfulness.

Shunryu Suzuki




Contact us by email at fund4thepanamanews@gmail.com

To fend off hackers, organized trolls and other online vandalism, our website comments feature is switched off. Instead, come to our Facebook page to join in the discussion.

These links are interactive — click on the boxes

night oil