Editorials: Coalition talks; and Standing by if needed

How much weight should Panamanian voters give to Uncle Sam’s preferences? Panama has been formally decolonized since 1979, even if Washington and some of its emissaries seem to ignore that fact. It’s a choice for Panamanians, not anybody else. Archive photo of a slate arranged at the US Ambassador’s Residence. Both members of that 2009 ticket are now barred from the USA for alleged corruption.

Now that primary season is over and alliance talks are on…

Former Panama City mayor José Isabel Blandón did well enough in his primary to negotiate on a level with former foreign Minister Rómulo Alberto Roux. But would those two guys be enough? Or would voters say “ENOUGH!” and decide that, opposition or not, more establishment politics won’t suffice?

What if alliance talks got down to everybody who is neither PRD nor Martinelista? There are many problems with that, but two big ones for starters:

1. Will Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal even be on the ballot for a “Stop __________ pitch?
2. Who is PRD? Would those seeking an alliance want to talk to Martín Torrijos Espino, or Zuly Rodríguez Lu?

There is a palpable sense that people want change, not just a smiley face on what we have now. All contenders are likely to say that we need a new constitution – but a basic charter that says what? Everybody’s against inflation and crime – but how?

Plus, how much to the left, and how much to the right, and how deep into the grass roots, should a broad national alliance for change reach to get a national consensus? There will be people and factions saying with varying justifications that “If SHE is in it, I’m not.”

Some talks are in order, and not based on the pecking order of the 2019 runners-up results. A good starting point is for interested people – not just the usual power brokers, maybe not even including them at all – to speak up about what they, what WE want this nation to do next. Forget the chicken in every pot stuff for just a moment, and think about what kind of society, with which sort of economy, we want to be. Think of projects to inspire a nation, not necessarily to attract hypothetical foreign investors. Agreement on those sorts of things would be the basis for a worthy coalition.


As people on the left and right taunt Joe Biden for senior moments…

The USA has a pretty good insurance policy in case of surprises from the actuarial table.

Kamala Harris is a different person than Joe Biden, but well qualified to step up to his podium and sit at his Oval Office desk if need be.


Indira Gandhi portrait in the Dutch National Archives.

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

Indira Gandhi

Bear in mind…

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.

Isaac Asimov

It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

Emiliano Zapata

Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare.

Harriet Martineau


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