Editorials: Appreciation; and Accountability

From her Twitter feed, Erika Mouynes thanks Panama and says goodbye to a phase in her life.

Thanks, Erika Mouynes

We are in the reshuffle for the last year and a half of an administration that has faced enormous external challenges, some really awful behavior from within the ranks of the governing party and coalition and some chronic problems that span successive national governments and international borders. Panama has not been ever victorious. Nobody in the Cortizo administration has racked up a perfect score.

The Panama News would give the legislative and judicial branches of government low grades on this shift, a failing grade to Vice President Carrizo when he has had to step into the president’s job for moments and in his zeal to be the next PRD standard bearer, mixed reviews for various ministries, and denigration and disgust for the grasping political patronage culture that grips almost the entire political caste from top to bottom. The times have not been usual, but the “What’s in it for me?” attitude that holds back progress and prosperity for Panama is as long established as it is destructive.

Yet through all of those sordid administrations, and through all of the governments led by honorable presidents who found themselves surrounded by too many disgraceful characters, there have been noteworthy ministers who have walked away with their heads rightfully held high.

Erika Mouynes has been one of those latter. She can defend herself, and detractors with various motives can throw darts at her, but at the bottom line she made Panama look good.

Sometimes her job has been in the nature of a lawyer representing a notoriously disreputable client, as in defending Panama from international financial sanctions for the money laundering that goes on here or is organized from here to take place across multiple jurisdictions.

Mostly, though, she’s made Panama a respectable player in the face of climate and migration crises, a pandemic that has killed nearly 9,000 people here but could have easily killed several times that number, challenges from within and without posed by international gangsters who have used us as one of their hubs, and a foreign service traditionally infested with way too many unsuitable appointees.

She goes on to her life’s next challenges with her head held high, and all Panamanians can be a bit prouder of what our country does in and means to the world because of her service. Whatever the “true reason” for her departure might be.


MAGAs make asses of themselves, Trump cheers. Dems make asses of themselves, Biden asks them to step aside.

Listening to hate and racism from Los Angeles officials talking about redistricting is painful for their fellow Democrats. Republicans have acted out similar hatreds in redistricting in many places across the USA, but have had the prudence or luck not to be recorded while doing so.

On the GOP side, there is no lie, no bigoted statement, no act of domestic violence, no sexual exploitation, no conflict of interest that will lead Donald Trump to oppose one of his chosen people.

On the Democratic side, factions of the party have long squabbled among one another for reasons good or bad. Attack the Democrats’ core values in a sleazy discussion about a sleazy gerrymandering scheme, and whether a local elected official or a locally influential labor leader, and Democrats don’t hold a prayer session to defend what has been done. Starting at the grass roots and all the way up to President Biden, Democrats draw a line and demand that the offenders leave public life.

It’s about accountability, which is and ought to be a central issue in the upcoming US elections.


Chief Joseph. Photo by Edward S. Curtis.

It does not require many words to speak the truth.

Chief Joseph

Bear in mind…

If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

In times of strife, we have our imagination, we have our creative impulse.

Patti Smith

Most people rush after pleasure so fast that they rush right past it.

Søren Kierkegaard


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