Editorials, Despite the news suppression…, and An odd alliance

The old adage has been stated in myriad ways, and however put, unity is now common sense around the world. No matter the stuff that a widely despised old political elite and those looking for some crumbs from them might do to make things look otherwise.

The Revolution will not be televised

…but while the street protests were kept out of the mainstream media and well nigh invisible in the social media, in Chiriqui the Chamber of Commerce weighed in against the PRD mining colony proposal and the previously noncommittal neofascist independent presidential candidate – also a PRD legislator – Zuay Rodríguez took here balated stand against this boondoggle.

The handwriting is on the wall. The draft of history’s verdict is edited and polished. But do understand that not everybody counts the same way. PRD politicians may have already counted their money, or may be counting on a landslide defeat next year, which nevertheless leaves a lot of the diputados and representantes in place. Notwithstanding the polls, the popular opinion expressed from nearly all corners of a complex society and the weight of scientific assessments.

Those who are putting Panama up for sale as a colony may prevail this week or next. It may take generations to undo what they might do. They might get the courts to penalize those who publish the truth about what they are doing. But Panama has reached a consensus and what remains is to get more organized and adamant about it.


It’s about this, all across Panama. Even if they jam it through the National Assembly now in hopes that voters will have forgotten by next May. Even if they cede Panama’s airspace to a foreign corporation so that nobody can see what they’re destroying.

Alliance time

Now isn’t that the dumbest presidential and vice presidential slate that ever was? Two erstwhile political allies of Ricardo Martinelli, who like Donald Trump is running for president and vowing revenge in hopes of avoiding prison, have papered over their most important disagreement with the announced intention of stopping somebody. Stopping Ricky Martinelli, stopping Gaby Carrizo. Rómulo Roux, a corporate lawyer directly tainted by scandalous mining ties and in favor of a next wave of colonialism for Panama, is on the wrong side of these times. José Isabel Blandón says he’s against the mine contract, but he’s going to be Roux’s running mate anyway. Already we see resignations of old Panameñistas. Plus, while Blandón is signing on with the pro-colonial Roux, the vice mayor from his years of running Panama City’s municipal government, Raisa Banfield, is the de facto main leader of the opposition to the mining colony project. Blandón does not bring all of his party’s base and old friends with him into a pact with Roux.

History and his innately corny demeanor will relegate Carrizo to a place in the national memory that he will not like. Will MOLIRENA stick with him in hope of retaining control over the national lottery? How far Panamanian liberalism has fallen, but that prospect tells us that it can get worse for them.

Martinelli is what he is, and Panama risks unpleasant new impositions from the north if that’s what we get. A coup d’etat, a military invasion, crippling economic sanctions – those sorts of things Panama has seen before. Martinelli will say anything he thinks is convenient, but history shows us his true promise. Uncle Sam’s stated specific objections are about certain financial transactions – points well taken, actually – but at the time and since there has been nary a peep from the US Embassy about burning teenagers to death in front of television cameras. Are Panamanians so desperate as to go for that in exchange for a bag of groceries and a promise of chump change to come? A lot of folks are that demoralized and corrupted and it doesn’t take a majority to elect a president – just a plurality under the dictatorship’s constitution that we still use.

The independents are barred from formal alliances with parties and are likely to serve the sole function of bringing up ideas in the course of lost cause campaigns. Intolerant fascist ideas in the case of Zulay Rodríguez, a leftist agenda which might get partly stolen by the eventual winner put forward by Maribel Gordón.

And then there is Ricardo Lombana. Will he go it alone, or ally himself with one or more political parties? He says that he’s already aligned with a lot of independents down the ticket. He also denounces the traditional parties as hopelessly corrupt and says he is not forming alliances with them. But over the course of this year he has met with Ricardo Martinelli and had cordial things to say, and now the “grand exposé” is that he met with Blandón. So, from the expected crowd of would-be kingmakers comes a hue and cry about how the former diplomat is a liar and a hypocrite. It can be supposed that if Lombana picks a running mate who has some experience in government those cries will go up in volume and pitch. But then, at a time of a weak economy, lives disrupted by a great epidemic, a major crime wave, uncertainties on the regional and world stages, many years of sneering public corruption on our isthmus and lots of nastiness out and about in society, there will be some voters who like the wild idea of a calm and cordial president of Panama.

By the end of the month, alliances will be formed. By the end of December we will know whether the convicted criminal Ricardo Martinelli will be on the ballot and if not, what his replacement would be.

By then the voters should have compiled personal mandatory lists of qualifications and disqualifications, and discerned who actually has a chance of being president. Panamanians should listen to what remains between that time and Election Day. We won’t see perfect government, but we may choose new leaders who do well enough.


Tina Fey. Wikimedia photo by Gage Skidmore.

               Confidence is 10% hard work and 90% delusion.

Tina Fey               


Bear in mind…


There are some duties we owe even to those who have wronged us. There is, after all, a limit to retribution and punishment.



I am not going to question your opinions. I am not going to meddle with your belief. I am not going to dictate to you mine. All that I say is, examine, inquire. Look into the nature of things. Search out the grounds of your opinions, the for and the against. Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in you.

Frances Wright



Rejoice not at thine enemy’s fall – but don’t rush to pick him up either.

Jewish Proverb


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