Editorials: Reject the copper mine contract; and Let established processes work

the mine
The Landsat view of that gash in the land that is the copper mine, which under the proposed new contract may be all that’s available. Google claims a copyright to this image — to which their work contributed — but it’s derived from a US Geological Survey satellite photo, which should be in the public domain. The Panama News editing also contributed to this image.

Reject the copper mine deal

A spinoff from a gold mine scam was sold to foreigners who cheated Panama in a big way. Then the high court ruled that the original concession was so outrageous as to be unconstitutional. THEN the Cortizo administration negotiated a new contract with the spinoff that’s far worse than the one that the court voided.

Not only does the new contract expand the part of Panama that can be strip mined, but it also cedes to a multinational company elements of national sovereignty. Perhaps the worst of these is control over part of the national airspace, so that nobody without a satellite can look down to see and document what environmental devastation might be ongoing.

It would have to be approved by the National Assembly, so we are likely to see a showdown that could either split or assign to permanent irrelevance the president’s party ahead of the 2024 elections.

Do we have a cross-party majority of the “What’s in it for me?” faction of the legislature? Yes, there will surely be blandishments offered, but the question would not solely be answered in light of those. “What’s in it” could be made to be the ends of legislators’ political careers, both inside and outside of the PRD.

The Panamanian voters need to let the legislators know in advance of the vote on that contract that if they vote to approve such a toxic deal, they will lose their power and their reputations.


An FBI poster released shortly after the January 6, 2021 US Capitol riot. Not everyone about whom information was sought has been convicted of a crime – some probably did nothing illegal, some probably did but it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, some the FBI may have wanted to talk with merely in order to gather information about other people’s offenses. Remember, in the US system a person is supposed to be presumed innocent unless found guilty, and what the courts find is frequently enough erroneous.

If Trump’s people go nuts this week

It would be about one of the former president’s lesser offenses, falsifying business records to conceal a violation of campaign finance laws, that is to hide the payment of hush money to a prostitute in order to advance his 2016 presidential campaign. So it is alleged.

There are other matters in various stages of development. Like allegedly browbeating Georgia officials in an attempt to get them to falsify vote records. Like a slew of possible offenses in the handling of public documents after his presidency, many of these papers being classified as government secrets. Like allegedly inciting violence to prevent the orderly transition of power in light of the 2020 US presidential election results.

The United States has law enforcement agencies and officers, courts with judges, military forces that will remain loyal to the republic – and above all LAWS – to deal with whatever disruptions or attempted disruptions might come up this Holy Week or thereafter. America – both in the narrow gringo sense and across the Western Hemisphere, where plenty of expatriated US citizens live – is not disposed to be intimidated by thugs.

And US jurisprudence? It’s beset by many maladies these days, but one of its still common features is the judicial tendency to treat the betrayal of public duties by those sworn to uphold the constitution and laws more harshly than it treats similar crimes by civilians who have not taken on such duties.

Calm down, everybody. Let the court procedures, and the democratic electoral processes, try to sort things out before getting all bent out of shape.


Zora Neale Hurston portrait by Carl Van Vechten made in 1934. Photo from the Yale Library Archives.

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.

Zora Neale Hurston

Bear in mind…

I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.


Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.

Jonathan Swift

The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Jane Goodall


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