Editorials: The PRD mulls its options; and Ukraine’s friends and foes

OTH of the PRD
General Omar Torrijos Herrera, founder of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).

PRD offerings

Will there be a fourth, or fifth, entrant into the PRD presidential primary? And what about races down the ticket?

At the moment three different candidacies highlight three different pitches to the party members, and to the nation. The establishment favorite is the nation’s vice president, Gaby Carrizo, a corporate lawyer who specialized in the banking sector. Crispiano Adames, the president of the National Assembly, symbolizes the political patronage machine that has always been part of the PRD and promises to those who support it that the gravy train will keep running. Former legislator, former PRD secretary general and reputed former urban guerrilla Pedro Miguel González identifies himself with the people who took to the streets in protest in the middle of last year and promises both constitutional reform and a reorientation of public policies to reduce Panama’s social and economic inequalities.

The conventional wisdom is that Carrizo gets the nomination and loses the general election, but retains the inside track to be the PRD nominee in 2029. But of course, if he loses to Ricardo Martinelli all bets will be called off during such an interregnum, as the former president is talking about revenge. An even worse for Panama scenario would be the premature end of such a presidency by way of foreign intervention.

Carrizo showed his stuff during last year’s protests and it was most unimpressive. He clumsily went about the politician motions and convinced nobody. That is, other than of the proposition that he’s not capable of leading the country in a difficult time.

Does Dr. Adames want to lower the standards for passing the medical competence test and get a physician’s license, so as to boost the fortunes of family and friends? Just one more instance of the sordid and harmful to the national interest set of partisan privileges for which the current legislature stands.

Is González a dangerous criminal who, ignoring George H. W. Bush’s declaration of US victory, continued to bear arms against foreign invaders? Did he, in the process, kill a man, a US Army sergeant from Puerto Rico who was just driving down the road? And whatever the truth of the allegations, are Panamanian voters and Washington politicians ready to set those things aside as war stories from a conflict long over?

The primary takes place on June 11. It’s a closed PRD thing.

The general election takes place on May 5 of next year, after other parties sort out their offerings, independents qualify for the ballot or don’t, and various alliances create possible fusion slates. That general election will be an all Panamanians thing.

We are not fully recovered from an acute crisis that cost Panama some 8,600 lives and severely affected our economy. Not only have we not recovered from the decades-old chronic malady of corruption, we have seen it become a degenerative disease that gets ever worse.

Will Panama see a generation ready, able and willing to answer history’s call? Will we get a new set of leaders who can rise above their personal flaws to properly lead this country’s defense? Those are the questions of our times, even if we have people and institutions ready to substitute “Will you give me your vote if I give you $x or its equivalent?” as the issue before us.

Choose well, PRD. Choose well, Panama.


Ukrainians who did not flee take shelter from Russian shelling in a basement in Chasiv Yar, a town about eight miles from Bakhmut. Photo by Aris Messinis, via AFP and Meduza.

Friends with things in common

Over this past weekend the US ultra-right Republicans gathered at the CPAC convention to hear a call for genocide – the “eradication” of transgendered people. Surely it was music to the bigoted Vladimir Putin’s ears.

At that same convention, QNut congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green railed against US assistance to Ukraine and got the crowd booing Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, whom she accused, along with members of America’s LGBT communities, of having evil designs to be “coming for your children.”

Meanwhile Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner and commander of the Russian mercenary corporation Wagner Group, warned in a video that if his forces withdraw from Bakhmut in Ukraine, then “the entire front will fall to the Russian borders, and maybe further.” Most Ukrainians, and most Americans, and most Europeans, think that this would be a good thing.

War has its heroes and valiant deeds on all sides, but it’s hellish brutality. Let’s not be taken by the arms hustlers and fanatics who would sell us Cold War II. A negotiated peace that saves the Ukrainian nation would be a good thing. But let’s not abandon those upon whom Vladimir Putin and his US cheering section pick.


Photo by Pablo Valadares — Brazilian House of Deputies.

As long as war is the way to settle our conflicts and resolve them, we will continue in prehistory, with the only difference that the barbarity of primitive humans seems like child’s play compared to the barbarity of contemporary men. Until when?

Pepe Mujica

Bear in mind…

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.

Anna Freud

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

Lao Tzu

If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start from any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.

Mary Pickford


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