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Editorials: Prematurely lame ducks; and Baal’s prayers and decorum

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teachers
Protesting teachers, whose grievances include physically dangerous and unhealthy schools in many places, the apparent diversions from the teachers’ retirement fund to mysterious private sources, broken promises about the funding of education and an ugly looting binge by the political caste in general, at everyone else’s expense. The teachers’ strike in Colon is now into its 18th day. ASOPROF photo, from that union’s Twitter feed.

An early lame duck period

When the end of a government’s term draws near, people who got their public sector jobs by way of political ties who were not thieves from the outset often begin to steal because soon after the turnover they will no longer have government jobs. Public officials, including some elected ones, pay ever less attention and respect to those whom they are hired to serve. They’re on their way out, are not counting on any future, so don’t care how bad they look.

Usually that happens in the last year of an administration. With Nito’s executive branch, the PRD-dominated National Assembly and down to local levels with some representantes and their crews that can read strange handwriting on walls, that process is underway right now.

The “now” is Panama reeling under the impact of an epidemic that has cost us thousands of live and uncounted health problems for a great many others. It’s a Panama squeezed by high prices. It’s a Panama in record debt. We’re in a bad way, folks, and the traditional lowest priorities – Colon, the remote areas, the indigenous comarcas, the people lowest on the economic scale – are being rudely brushed off. It seems that every day someone else is blocking the road. “Dialogue” gets belatedly offered, but rarely cash.

They’re going to give some company a tax break so that theoretically it will create jobs and Colon will be trickled upon? They’re conducting a study RIGHT NOW? Hey! – for the large minority who don’t depend on public transportation, the new license plates are coming soon. LOOK! – the diputada has married a playboy PRINCE of a republic that has no royalty!

None of that stuff matters. It’s even worse, because to scrape by the government is approving ruinous contracts for ephemeral crumbs, destroying our environment for centuries to come to help balance this month’s national economy and making obsequious foreign policy gestures that compromise Panama’s neutrality, interests and dignity.

And all the while, a mad piñata scramble among the PRD. Lame duck periods are ugly things to behold in Panama.

 

2

What to about all the massacres in the USA?

First of all, show all due respect for the thoughts and prayers of a governor who signed the bill that allowed a messed-up 18-year-old to buy an AR-15 without any wait or background check. We heard you loud and clear for too long, Mr. Abbott, and Texans, Americans and the world audience don’t need to hear your whining about decorum when you offer banal thoughts and blasphemous prayers. Disrespect and disruption are all due.

Yeah, the Republicans in Congress are going to block domestic terrorism legislation. You see, they’re really into that stuff. The crowd they assembled to attack the Capitol in order to block certification of the voters’ decision in 2020, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the nazis – those are their constituents. Wouldn’t want to stop them from trying it again now, would we Senator McConnell?

Nothing has worked to resolve the anger and violence out and about in US society. It’s not one simple issue, not a subject for one law, not a catchy bumper sticker slogan.

But you know what? Bill Clinton, whatever one may think about him, did manage to get a useful law passed, the assault weapons ban. It by and large worked. Yes, there were plenty of murders in the decade it remained in effect, but not a new one-gunman massacre every day.

Then the Republicans repealed it. They’re FOR domestic terrorism. They threaten it every day. When it happens because they legislated for it to happen, they falsely accuse someone else.

Let’s start small by going back to where American law once was. Let’s ban assault weapons again. The killers might still kill, but it will be harder for them to inflict mass casualties.

 

3
Marie Curie working in her lab. In her fearless research she learned about radiation sickness and eventually died from it. And the world tended to understand.

 

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.

Marie Curie

Bear in mind…

 

 

The accent of one’s birthplace lingers in the mind and in the heart as it does in one’s speech.

François de La Rochefoucauld

 

 

To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered.

Oscar Wilde

 

 

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

Charlotte Brontë

 

 

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Rohde, What is monkeypox?

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do the monkey
Monkeypox causes lesions that resemble pus-filled blisters, which eventually scab over. Photo by CDC/Getty Images

What is monkeypox? A microbiologist explains
what’s known about this smallpox cousin

by Rodney E. Rohde, Texas State University

On May 18, 2022, Massachusetts health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a single case of monkeypox in a patient who had recently traveled to Canada. Cases have also been reported in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Monkeypox isn’t a new disease. The first confirmed human case was in 1970, when the virus was isolated from a child suspected of having smallpox in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Monkeypox is unlikely to cause another pandemic, but with COVID-19 top of mind, fear of another major outbreak is understandable. Though rare and usually mild, monkeypox can still potentially cause severe illness. Health officials are concerned that more cases will arise with increased travel.

I’m a researcher who has worked in public health and medical laboratories for over three decades, especially in the realm of diseases with animal origins. What exactly is happening in the current outbreak, and what does history tell us about monkeypox?

A cousin of smallpox

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to a subset of the Poxviridae family of viruses called Orthopoxvirus. This subset includes the smallpox, vaccinia and cowpox viruses. While an animal reservoir for monkeypox virus is unknown, African rodents are suspected to play a part in transmission. The monkeypox virus has only been isolated twice from an animal in nature. Diagnostic testing for monkeypox is currently only available at Laboratory Response Network labs in the United States and globally.

The name “monkeypox” comes from the first documented cases of the illness in animals in 1958, when two outbreaks occurred in monkeys kept for research. However, the virus did not jump from monkeys to humans, nor are monkeys major carriers of the disease.

Electron microscope view of monkeypox, showing oval-shaped, mature virus particles and spherical, immature virions
Monkeypox belongs to the Poxviridae family of viruses, which includes smallpox. Photo by CDC/ Cynthia S. Goldsmith

Epidemiology

Since the first reported human case, monkeypox has been found in several other central and western African countries, with the majority of infections in the DRC. Cases outside of Africa have been linked to international travel or imported animals, including in the United States and elsewhere.

The first reported cases of monkeypox in the United States was in 2003, from an outbreak in Texas linked to a shipment of animals from Ghana. There were also travel-associated cases in November and July 2021 in Maryland.

Because monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can provide protection against infection from both viruses. Since smallpox was officially eradicated, however, routine smallpox vaccinations for the United States general population were stopped in 1972. Because of this, monkeypox has been appearing increasingly in unvaccinated people.

Person getting temperature tested at airportIndonesia began screening travelers after a monkeypox case was reported in Singapore in May 2019. Photo by Jepayona Delita/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Transmission

The virus can be transmitted through contact with an infected person or animal or contaminated surfaces. Typically, the virus enters the body through broken skin, inhalation or the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth. Researchers believe that human-to-human transmission is mostly through inhalation of large respiratory droplets rather than direct contact with bodily fluids or indirect contact through clothes. Human-to-human transmission rates for monkeypox have been limited.

Health officials are worried the virus may currently be spreading undetected through community transmission, possibly through a new mechanism or route. Where and how infections are occurring are still under investigation.

Signs and symptoms

After the virus enters the body, it starts to replicate and spread through the body via the bloodstream. Symptoms usually don’t appear until one to two weeks after infection.

Monkeypox produces smallpox-like skin lesions, but symptoms are usually milder than those of smallpox. Flu-like symptoms are common initially, ranging from fever and headache to shortness of breath. One to 10 days later, a rash can appear on the extremities, head or torso that eventually turns into blisters filled with pus. Overall, symptoms usually last for two to four weeks, while skin lesions usually scab over in 14 to 21 days.

While monkeypox is rare and usually non-fatal, one version of the disease kills around 10% of infected people. The form of the virus currently circulating is thought to be milder, with a fatality rate of less than 1%.

Vaccines and treatments

Treatment for monkeypox is primarily focused on relieving symptoms. According to the CDC, no treatments are available to cure monkeypox infection.

Because smallpox is closely related to monkeypox, the smallpox vaccine can protect against both diseases.

Evidence suggests that the smallpox vaccine can help prevent monkeypox infections and decrease the severity of the symptoms. One vaccine known as Imvamune or Imvanex is licensed in the United States to prevent monkeypox and smallpox.

Vaccination after exposure to the virus may also help decrease chances of severe illness. The CDC currently recommends smallpox vaccination only in people who have been or are likely to be exposed to monkeypox. Immunocompromised people are at high risk.The Conversation

Rodney E. Rohde, Regents’ Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science, Texas State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

¿Wappin? Rainy day music / Música de día lluvioso

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Boza
Boza performs for prisoners in Bogota. Photo from his Twitter feed.
Boza actúa para presos en Bogotá. Foto de su cuenta de Twitter.

Sonidos para crecer y renovarse
Sounds to grow and renew

Boza – San Andrés
https://youtu.be/mq3S6eRtwEc

Barry Mann – Who Put the Bomp
https://youtu.be/lXmsLe8t_gg

Prince & The Revolution – Purple Rain
https://youtu.be/bm03wqLY3Nc

Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin – A Love Supreme
https://youtu.be/p2IpZb3osxY

Ismael Rivera con Kako y Su Orquesta – Cantar Maravilloso
https://youtu.be/khuRDG0eCto

Mon Laferte – No Soy Para Ti
https://youtu.be/NaLSPQvQHaU

Billy Bragg – Never Buy The Sun
https://youtu.be/l1P6KUyOhBc

Any Tovar – Corazón En Huelga
https://youtu.be/GFIKo4YEqFw

Avril Lavigne medley at the 2022 Juno Awards
https://youtu.be/rK5GUFk5WuM

Little Eva – The Locomotion
https://youtu.be/lNNW0SPkChI

Yomira John – Solita
https://youtu.be/9B4G7wppIuY

Osvaldo Ayala – Dos Rumbos
https://youtu.be/05y0-xOrqIc

Lady Gaga – Hold My Hand
https://youtu.be/O2CIAKVTOrc

Roger Waters – The Gunner’s Dream
https://youtu.be/aC9rY4HeN6A

Samy y Sandra Sandoval – Por Culpa de Mi Pasado
https://youtu.be/145T5Nvqi9g

 

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Aponte, Written presentation to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

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Aponte
Mari Carmen Aponte, five years ago when she was acting US Assistant Secretary of State for hemispheric affairs. State Department photo.

Statement of Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte
Nominee for US Ambassador to the Republic of Panama
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
May 18, 2022

Chairman, Ranking Member, distinguished Members of the Committee, I feel honored and grateful for the trust and confidence President Biden and Secretary Blinken placed in me by nominating me to serve as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Panama. It is an honor to appear before you for the second time, after having served as Ambassador to El Salvador and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere. I look forward to discussing my view of the bilateral relationship and how I will make it even more productive and dynamic if confirmed as ambassador.

The United States and Panama have a long history of partnership and collaboration to advance mutual goals. We remain Panama’s largest trade partner and its number one source of foreign direct investment. Panama’s location and role in global trade, due to the Panama Canal, make its success important to both US prosperity and national security. Traffic to or from the United States represents nearly seventy percent of all Canal transits.

Panama’s strategic location along major land and sea transit routes makes it critical in the interdiction of illicit drugs destined for the United States and a vital partner in addressing irregular migration. As a carbon negative country, Panama has the potential to serve as an environmental model not only for the region but for the world.

While Panama and the United States have ample historical, cultural, and economic ties, challenges exist in the bilateral relationship. Each year, thousands of migrants take a perilous journey through the Darién Gap, many passing through Panama on their way to the United States. We must find more ways to work together to manage migration, provide protection, and give potential irregular migrants incentives to remain in their home countries.

We must also continue to promote democratic governance and rule of law. Corruption, a serious challenge in Panama, has a corrosive effect on many layers of the state; we must not allow it to progress further. The government efforts to enforce recent anti-money laundering reforms and to correct deficiencies required for Panama’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s Grey List will determine Panama’s financial stability and attractiveness to investors. Panama also suffers from organized criminal activity, which threatens to undermine democratic institutions and economic prosperity.

If confirmed, I will use my position as ambassador to strengthen our relationship with Panama and build the security and prosperity of the entire region. This includes continuing our engagement with Panamanian government ministries, civil society, and the private sector to showcase our strong partnership and hedge against problematic PRC influence and activities. We need a stable, strong, and secure Panama, and Panama needs the United States as a friend, ally, and partner.

Effective implementation of US foreign policy in Panama requires a cohesive, diligent, and effective whole-of-US-government team, and we have an extraordinary interagency embassy team in Panama. The Mission’s efforts center on the strategic work of ensuring the United States remains a valued partner,
collaboratively managing migration through the Darién, and the battle against corruption that threatens the foundations of institutional democracy. Just as I did in El Salvador as US Ambassador there, I want to empower and listen to the Embassy team to make the bilateral relationship stronger, more effective, and more dynamic. If confirmed, I will prioritize strengthening diversity and inclusion. I commit to ensuring our workplace remains a safe, fair, and just space for all.

The challenges we face, now more than ever, call for strong, smart, and vibrant diplomacy. Panama can and should serve as a key player in confronting Central America’s challenges. We will strengthen bilateral ties by reaching out to the complete spectrum of Panamanian society, not just to government leaders and the country’s elite, but to community leaders, minority and women’s groups, youth, and all facets of civil society. We are going to do this with Panama, hand-in-hand, so that together we can move forward stronger.

If confirmed, I will lead our Embassy team in Panama City with pride and dedication and look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress. I will prioritize protecting US citizens in Panama while championing the interests of the United States in cooperation with our Panamanian friends.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to answering your questions.

 

Editor’s note: The questions and answers were typical and in many cases reflected the fears, opinions and presumptions of the committee members — which ought to give pause to US citizens who are Latin Americanist observers of Washington’s dysfunctional and often delusional notions about the region.

  • The obsession about China? It at least reflects a real business and geopolitical rivalry, even as old Republican fantasies of Chinese assignments of PanCanal pilots probably live on as footnotes informing QAnon thinking.
  • A “troika” of an unpopular government in Panama, an unpopular and now departed Costa Rican administration and the Dominican Republic? Sounds like SEATO or some such figment of US imagination, or Comrade Enver Hoxha’s invincible one-billion-strong Albanian-Chinese Alliance. Even if the idea for it may not have come directly out of Washington.

Be that as it may, in Ms. Aponte we deal with someone who knows the ropes, knows the region and has been confirmed by the Senate before. Hers is not a controversial nomination and it looks likely that after four years without a formal ambassador here the United States will be fully represented in Panama. Adequate funding for consular services and other US diplomatic functions in Panama? To be seen. But surely an upgrade in US relations with the Panamanian government, friendly or combative as the ties may turn out to be.

Catch Ambassador Aponte’s testimony here, in an excerpt by La Prensa from the Senate committee hearing. Due to microphone problems the first part of the testimony has an echo but that problem gets fixed a few minutes into the recording.

 

 

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Editorials: End corporate secrecy for Panama’s sake; and Fix the summit

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DEG
With a label like this, a great tragedy could have been avoided. However, the original label was in Chinese and new, erroneous labels were put on the poison in Spain, then in Panama. But there was no compensation forthcoming from the Panamanian company, due to the corporate secrecy laws here. Master Chem photo.

For a more just Panama, not just to please the rich countries

Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes, to a business publication on the eve of a gathering here convened by the dark money guy – “Democratic Majority For Israel” politician and billionaire Michael Bloomberg – recited the long-running complaint that Panama is unfairly singled out as a tax dodgers’ and rich thugs’ financial haven. US President Joe Biden, who after all represented Delaware all those years, ought to understand a thing or two about tax havens. So should the queen and leading politicians of the United Kingdom, given all the financial manipulations of the City of London and the crown colonies in the Caribbean and English Channel. Panama’s position may be reasonable enough in light of such comparisons.

However, it’s unreasonable in light of the interests of ordinary Panamanians.

About 16 years ago, a rash of mysterious deaths erupted. The administration of the time, headed by Martín Torrijos, suppressed news of it for months. Hundreds died and many more were left injured.

What happened was that a politically connected anonymous corporations sold mislabeled diethylene glycol to a government lab which, having been misled that it way glycerin, mixed it into cough syrup that was distributed via government pharmacies. It was not an intentional crime, but a series of negligent acts that stretched back to China, through Spain and through that anonymously owned import company that sold the stuff to the government – and through government agencies that were not given the budgets to test the stuff.

A bunch of the culpable parties settled lawsuits but here, the owners of the import company were shielded by corporate secrecy and by the time the trail led to that business it was an empty shell with nobody around and no resources that could be seized to compensate the victims.

It could happen again tomorrow. Panamanian corporate secrecy is not just the world’s rich “beautiful people” cheating tax collectors, it’s part of the dysfunctional Panamanian justice system that provides impunity for the rich and connected and no recourse for ordinary people who get injured.

Set aside the excuses on the world stage. Let’s end corporate secrecy for the benefit of the Panamanian people.

 

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The Americas are much more than the United States of America. The many other countries are not appendages of the USA. Let’s delay the gathering, take the time to correct mistakes and have a proper summit.

Start over on the Summit of the Americas

Most Latin American and Caribbean heads of state say that they won’t attend next month’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. The first stated objection was President Biden’s decision, in the name of freedom and democracy, to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Not the violent Colombian regime, where death squads are right now killing and disappearing people to affect upcoming elections. Not Mr. Bolsonaro’s Brazil, whose abuses are not outdone by those of Maduro’s Venezuela. Not Mexico, where it’s way more dangerous for journalists than a Cuba that seriously restricts freedom of the press. Not El Salvador, where recent mass arrests have outdone what has been going on in Nicaragua.

So, a “Summit of the Americas” in which Joe Biden, whose administration seeks to have journalist Julian Assange jailed for the rest of his life for embarrassing the United States, lecturing a small rump of regional leaders about freedom and democracy?

That may be what the totalitarian heirs of the dictatorship that Fidel Castro overthrew years ago might want to see. However, they’re almost all Trumpsters. They never see a repressive right-wing regime that they don’t like. The values of a political clique that holds forth in the Miami area are not the values of most of the American people.

Joe Biden should admit that this summit has gone off the rails and postpone it. There should be consultations with every government in the Americas, invitations to all of them, and a real summit of the hemisphere’s heads of state after that sort of fresh start. A real summit won’t solve all of the many problems. It will get the Americas back on speaking terms and a bit more respectful of one another.

 

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The Kiwi prime minister visiting NATO headquarters in Brussels in 2018. NATO photo.

Leadership is not about necessarily being the loudest in the room.

Jacinda Ardern

 

Bear in mind…

 

Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.

Isaac Newton

 

It is important that the musician just lets the music be written.

Björk

 

Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

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The Panama News blog links, May 19, 2022

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The Panama News blog links

a bilingual Panama-centric selection of other people’s work
una selección bilingüe Panamá-céntrica de las obras de otras personas
If you are not bilingual Google Translate usually works
Si no eres bilingüe, el traductor de Google generalmente funciona

Canal, Maritime & Transport / Canal, Marítima & Transporte

TVN, Naviera Atlas iniciará operaciones con puerto base en Panamá

MundoMarítimo, Crisis logística en China lleva a EEUU a relocalizar la producción

El Siglo, Un nuevo aumento en la gasolina a partir de este viernes

TVN, Congelan precio del combustible a $3.95 para transportistas

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Economy / Economía

TVN, 30% de los desempleados del país son colonenses

Stiglitz & Ostry, The IMF is still behind the times on capital controls

LA Times: Bitcoin, NFTs, SPACs, meme stocks — all crashing

Common Dreams, USA ranked world’s biggest financial secrecy jurisdiction

Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología

EFE: Wanda, Latin America’s first sustainable wheel that catches floating garbage

Anthony, Bad news for the 2022 hurricane season

AFP, Los “bots” en el centro de la pelea por la compra de Twitter

Telemetro, Viene primer hospital gubernamental para la fauna silvestre

EFE, The world’s oldest mummies seek new home

Note: The sound on this begins with an echo, but shortly into the video the problem is corrected.

News / Noticias

Telemetro, Juez deja sin efecto el proyecto del Mercado de Mariscos

TVN, Ministerio de Ambiente rechaza el relleno en Amador

Metro Libre, MiAmbiente rechaza la mina El Remance

La Prensa, Audiencia de New Business sin Martinelli

FOCO: Para abonar la multa de Odebrecht, un juez mandó a retener $7.9 millones

La Estrella, 15 diputados de CD enfrentarán audiencias el 25 de mayo

Telemetro, CUCO no asistirá a reunión con presidente Cortizo

ABC, US Interstate highway shootings surged during pandemic

Newsweek, Biden’s centrist brand dealt new blow by his own party in Pennsylvania

Grim, Manchin-Sinema Dems got routed last night

Politico: Manchin and Sinema ‘sabotaged’ Biden’s plans, Sanders says

Summit of the Americas / Cumbre de las Américas

Expansión, AMLO descarta ruptura con EEUU

Winter, What the Summit of the Americas mess really tells us

Snider, US and Latin America: trouble in the backyard

Financial Times, US summit struggles in Latin America are a boon to China

COHA, US policy of exclusion at the Summit of the America

Responsible Statecraft, Boycotts may turn Summit of the Americas into a disaster

Black Alliance for Peace, Boycott the Summit of the Americas

El American, Biden’s Americas summit opportunity

Benjamin, Obama’s handshake with Raúl Castro shows the way

AP, Presidente de Guatemala no irá al cumbre

Opinion / Opiniones

Soifer, The Supreme Court’s text mess

Smith, Buffalo shooting is the culmination of California’s ‘great replacement’ theory

Santiago, Estas son nuestras reglas

Rodríguez Santos, Nos unimos en la lucha o nos esclavizan

Blades, El problema de Colón

Reyes, Apoyar la justa lucha del pueblo colonense es un deber

Santamaría, ¿Hasta el obscurantismo?

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Culture / Cultura

La Estrella, Teatro Nacional presenta El Puente en homenaje a Raúl Leis

Sagel, Adiós poeta

Pickering-Iazzi, The photographer who fought the Sicilian Mafia for five decades

El Siglo, ‘Aló, ¿Sech?’

Paxton, The Loch Ness monster: a modern history

Pirates Prospects, Pirates are front runners to sign two players from Panama

 

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PRD: all is not static and titles can be laughable, but the in crowd consolidates

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Benicio
Leader of “La Resistencia?” More like Boss Hogg. But PERHAPS Benicio Robinson is leading the resistance of a patronage-seeking mob that’s demanding more from the president, who was also at the Hotel El Panama taking part in the PRD convention as a relatively low-key delegate. Photo from Benicio Robinson’s Twitter feed.

Legislators dominate PRD leadership races, except…

by Eric Jackson

Over the past weekend the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) elected the heads of its women’s front and youth organization, its top party officers and 10-member National Executive Committee. Writ large, Bocas del Toro deputy Benicio Robinson and his La Resistencia slate cemented their grip on the party by an overall 2-1 margin among the more than 4,000 delegates. Robinson himself won re-election by a 2,716 to 1,365 margin over the former health minister the pediatrician Dr. Rosario Turner.

Turner ran on a slate headed by former legislator Pedro Miguel González, who was running to keep his post as party secretary-general and on a platform of a return to supposed Torrijista ideals rather than transactional political patronage. González was defeated, with 1,876 votes as against 2,120 for former legislator Rubén De León.

Both Turner and González vow to stay with the PRD and fight on, and point to their areas of strength among both younger activists and those veteran members who are not on any politician’s payroll. The cycles of post-invasion presidential elections suggest that the PRD will not retain the presidency in the 2024 elections but even if that tradition holds the power of La Resistencia will largely depend on how badly the PRD gets defeated — or if they win — farther down the ticket. It’s two years out from the elections and the PRD national membership has seen a slight decline — something unusual — but then in Panama party memberships wax and wane with people flocking to the current ruling party in search of jobs, or, on the upper end of the economic scale, government contracts for their companies.

The roots and soul of the PRD?

We might get into ideology and mythology of just what “Torrijismo” is, given the hard opinions that were softened by pragmatism of the brilliant but alcoholic General Omar Torrijos Herrera. “Torrijismo” is arguably misnamed, an update at the time for the social reforming militarism of Guardia Nacional commander and later martyred elected president José Antonio Remón Cantera. He was assassinated before he accomplished that much and always had to deal with the debilitating squabbles of the grasping political caste in the legislature, but Remón most importantly saw eye-to-eye with an old soldier who had been stationed in Panama, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and began a process of more than a generation of negotiations that would end with the abolition of the Canal Zone enclave and the exit of formal US military bases from Panama. The Eisenhower – Remón Treaty was a modest beginning that ended some of the aspects of racial discrimination in the Canal Zone, limited Canal Zone commissary competition with Panamanian merchants and speeded the integration of the Canal Zone’s West Indian community into the Spanish-speaking Panamanian social mainstream. Remón also opened entry into the Guardia’s officer corps to men not of Panama’s “better families” — people like Omar Torrijos, the son of a Colombian school administrator in Veraguas, for example. 

Torrijos steered Panama into the non-aligned movement but never broke relations with the United States, with whom he was negotiating a new treaty to replace the one imposed by the USA via the Frenchman Philippe Bunau-Varilla in 1903. He was for a more economically independent Panama, favoring things like import substitution agricultural policies and a neutrality that allowed Cuba to buy things embargoed by the United States via the Colon Free Zone. He broke up some of the politically connected local monopolies.

On the other hand, Torrijos offered many compromises to bring Panama together during the Panama Canal treaty negotiations. He passed a labor code that de jure legalized unions. He called off a bunch of old dibs that kept businesses from growing and thriving in the face of established powers. But his regime assassinated radical labor activists and protected established businesses that did not oppose the dictatorship from nationalization and the like. In the field of politics, he engineered a 1972 constitution that had as its cornerstone shares of political patronage for those politicians and parties that played along with the system.

So was Torrijos against political patronage? His legacy might in many ways compare to that of the fictional Boss Hogg. But the post-invasion political corruption that we see now and in recent years looks a lot like the sorts of politics that Torrijos personally hated.gonz

In any case, there is this idealized notion of what General Torrijos was and what he stood for, with activists like González and Turner laying claim to that. If we see a PRD in shambles after the 2024 elections, that ideal might become a powerful reorganizing tool.

Neofascism rejected, but not by all that much

On the Saturday before Sunday’s main event, the party elected the leaders of its youth and women’s organizations. The three main factions — Robinson’s Resistencia, González’s and a more or less executive branch group looking up to Vice President Gaby Carrizo and his 2024 presidential ambitions — met beforehand and reached agreements about these races.

The future face of the PRD? Hussein Bolívar Pittí, the head of Panama’s office to attend to the needs of refugees, was elected head of the PRD youth. He is said to be of Carrizo’s faction. Given this administration’s record, he’s a young man acquiring both administrative skills and human rights credentials, so we shall see where he goes in politics. His office, a part of the Ministry of Government, would likely involve contacts with US and Colombian officials, which would be off the record but real foreign policy experience if that is so.

In the contest for the presidency of the PRD Women’s Front, it is said that three men negotiated the result, but of course it was female PRD convention delegates who decided. National Land Administration Authority (ANATI) sub-director Arelys González ousted the incumbent, legislator Zulay Rodríguez, by a vote of 329-155. González is said to be of Robinson’s inner circle.

Zulay? Will she even stay with the PRD? She got trounced in the last PRD presidential primary by Nito Cortizo and has been photographed hanging out with Ricardo Martinelli a lot of late.

Zulay Rodríguez has made a reputation for herself for using her seat in the legislature to bait foreigners of all descriptions, gay men and lesbians and evil financial operators. It’s a standard fascist appeal and if you separate out the bots from the trolls in her occasional vitriolic Twitter campaigns, a lot of the trolls — actual people rather than fake personas — own up to being Donald Trump admirers.

Omar Torrijos could be repressive, but a Nazi he wasn’t. The guy he overthrew, Arnulfo Arias, was the one who was Hitler’s personal friend. 

Rodríguez was removed from the judicial bench at US insistence when she let some Colombian drug suspects whom the DEA had been chasing walk. Her prominence in the PRD is an impediment — maybe not the biggest at the moment — to good relations with the United States. Maybe if the US government turns sharply to the right, she can be Washington’s woman in Panama. I doubt that Biden and Blinken would ever like her very much.

In any case, the PRD has turned down that sort of demagoguery in favor of a more traditional sort of machine politics.

 

 

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The nazi gunman mentality goes mainstream

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asshole

Critics: Buffalo gunman a product of mainstreamed white nationalism

by Jon Queally — Common Dreams

Amid the outpouring of grief and heartache following Saturday’s massacre in Buffalo that left 10 people dead and three wounded, critical observers say the racial animus which evidence shows motivated the killer must be seen in the larger context of a white nationalist mindset that has increasingly broken into the mainstream of the right-wing political movement and Republican Party in recent years.

Taken into custody at the scene of the mass shooting at the Tops Market and identified as Payton Gendron, the white 18-year-old male charged with the murders of the victims live-streamed his attack online where he also posted a detailed, 180-page document that has been described by those who have reviewed it—including journalists and law enforcement—as a white nationalist manifesto rife with anti-Black racism, antisemitism, and conspiracy theories about “white replacement.”

According to local outlet News 4 in Buffalo:

The document, which News 4 has reviewed, plotted the attack in grotesque detail. The writer plotted his actions down to the minute, included diagrams of his path through the store and said he specifically targeted the Tops Markets location on Jefferson Avenue because its zip code has the highest percentage of Black people close enough to where he lives.

“This was pure evil,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia during a press conference on Saturday. The killings, he said, “was straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”

A senior law enforcement official in Buffalo told NBC News that they were working to verify the document’s authenticity and confirm Gendron was behind it.

“We are aware of the manifesto allegedly written by the suspect and we’re working to definitively confirm that he is the author,” the official said.

NBC, which reviewed the document, reports:

The manifesto includes dozens of pages antisemitic and racist memes, repeatedly citing the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory frequently pushed by white supremacists, which falsely alleges white people are being “replaced” in America as part of an elaborate Jewish conspiracy theory. Other memes use tropes and discredited data to denigrate the intelligence of non-white people.

In the manifesto, Gendron claims that he was radicalized on 4chan while he was “bored” at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.

The document also claims “critical race theory,” a recent right-wing talking point that has come to generally encompass teaching about race in school, is part of a Jewish plot, and a reason to justify mass killings of Jews.

The manifesto also includes repeated references to another mass shooter motivated by racial hate, Brenton Tarrant, who in 2019 live-streamed his vicious Islamophobic assault on a mosque in Christ Church, New Zealand where he murdered 51 people and wounded dozens of others.

With these and other facts established about Gendron’s apparent motivations and ideology, many of those horrified by Saturday’s killings responded by saying the brutal and deadly attack in Buffalo cannot—and should not—be separated from the growing embrace of this kind of violent far-right nationalism that has increasingly found a home inside more mainstream institutions in the USA, including right-wing media outlets like Fox News and a Republican Party enthralled by the xenophobia and fascist conspiracy theories of Donald Trump.

“We are horrified, heartbroken, and enraged at the news of the vicious attack on our neighbors and loved ones in Buffalo, New York,” said People’s Action, the progressive advocacy group, in a statement.

“This racist attack is a pure example of evil,” the group added. “It’s also the predictable result of the relentless onslaught of white nationalist and antisemitic conspiracy theories spewed from the far right, increasingly distributed by major corporate news outlets like Fox News and the extremist politicians their billionaire allies have cultivated.”

“In Christchurch, New Zealand and El Paso, Texas and Poway, California and now again in Buffalo, New York, a gunman motivated by a white nationalist conspiracy theory about invading immigrants shot and killed people of color,” said Sumayyah Waheed, senior policy council for Muslim Advocates, in a statement referencing a series of mass shootings carried out by white supremacists in recent years.

“Just like in Christchurch,” Waheed continued, “the alleged Buffalo shooter both posted a manifesto about the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory and also livestreamed his massacre on social media. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and to the people of Buffalo.”

In a statement on Sunday, Kina Collins, a gun violence prevention advocate and Democratic congressional candidate running for Congress in the 7th District of Illinois, made similar arguments.

Calling the shooting a “devastating and sickening display of the racism, white supremacy, hate, and gun violence that plague this country,” Collins said, “Black people in Buffalo were targeted for no reason other than that they are Black.”

“This was an act of terrorism and it should be treated as such,” she added. “It is another reminder that white supremacy has and will always be America’s greatest threat. White supremacy has infiltrated our military and police departments. It was also on display on January 6th last year as insurrectionists, fueled by white supremacy, attacked our Capitol and threatened the lives of sitting members of Congress.”

Journalist Sam Sacks also made a connection between the Buffalo shooter and the “Big Lie” movement that drove the January 6 insurrection last year.

Waheed in his statement said “This hateful, white nationalist rhetoric is not just being spread by lone gunmen.”

Such rherotic, he said, “can also be found on cable news and in the rhetoric of politicians today. On his cable news show, Tucker Carlson said that ‘the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.’ In campaign ads, Donald Trump described Latino immigrants as an ‘invasion.’ In a speech, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene called the election of Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib ‘an Islamic invasion of our government.'”

With Republicans and major media personalities “normalizing white nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-Black, anti-Latino, antisemitic and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories,” and gunmen like the one in Buffalo carrying out such attacks, Waheed said it is now “clear that white nationalism is the greatest threat to our nation’s security and we must hold everyone who spreads this hate accountable before anyone else is harmed.”

 

 

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Beluche, Victoriano Lorenzo y sus motivos

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Lorenzo
Victoriano Lorenzo, “El Cholo Guerrillero.”

Las razones de Victoriano Lorenzo 

Por Olmedo Beluche

Entre 1821 y la década de 1850, el estado colombiano dictó innumerables leyes y decretos que reglamentaban la imposición de contribuciones. Muñoz Pinzón lista más de media docena de leyes expedidas sobre el tema de los impuestos que se aplicaron el Istmo, entre ellas: “el impuesto a la sed” (a los aguateros), al papel sellado, correos, sobre tonelaje de carga en barcos, registros documentales e hipotecarios, al comercio, a la actividad pecuaria (cinco centavos anuales por cada res y un peso por cada res consumida, 50 centavos por cada cerdo u oveja, ley de 17/10/1855), las salinas, “remate de paso” (por los ríos Santa María y La Villa),  etc.[i]  

 Las cuantiosas cargas fiscales del imperio colonial español ya habían sido motivo de descontento durante el siglo XVIII en muchos lugares de América convirtiéndose en un aliciente de los movimientos independentistas. En el período colonial el impuesto que principalmente pesaba sobre las personas era el diezmo, literalmente se pagaba el 10% de los ingresos anuales. Originalmente, al inicio de la Edad Media europea, fue un impuesto que cobraba la Iglesia católica, pero en el siglo XVIII pasó a ser administrado por funcionarios de la Corona. 

 Durante los primeros años de la Independencia lo siguieron cobrando funcionarios del Estado, que eran los mismos terratenientes[ii], aunque cabe preguntarse respecto a la eficacia de este cobro y qué porcentaje de la población realmente lo pagaba, especialmente en los campos. En un intento de modernización de las cargas fiscales fue sustituido el diezmo por dos son las contribuciones que pesaron más contra los campesinos: la contribución directa (1821) y la contribución personal de indígenas (1825).  

 La contribución directa consistía en el pago de 20 pesos anuales por persona, pagadero en efectivo o con trabajo (equivalente a 7 días por año), aplicable a los vecinos varones del municipio, con una lista confeccionada por las autoridades locales. El hecho de que, a mitad del siglo XIX, este impuesto constituía el principal ingreso de las administraciones provinciales se prestó para abusos por parte de los recaudadores locales, los regidores y los alcaldes quienes además tenían la potestad de imponer multas adicionales, que aumentaron el descontento, principalmente en la península de Azuero.

 El otro aspecto que contribuyó a la cruenta guerra civil que fue creciendo a lo largo del siglo XIX, que adquiriría una dimensión particular en la Guerra de los Mil Días en el campo panameño, fue el robo de tierras de los resguardos y  tierras particulares de indígenas por parte de los terratenientes, así como los abusos reiterados de las autoridades locales para imponer la contribución personal indígena, consistente en una serie de trabajos forzosos para beneficio municipal  o de los hacendados. 

 Mario Molina Castillo explica que: “Luego de la Independencia de Panamá de España en 1821, se mantuvo un sistema colonial en las tierras de producción de los pueblos indígenas como Bugaba, Boquerón, San Pablo, Dolega, Gualaca, a los que se llamaba “El Común”; terrenos cultivados de maíz y plátano por las comunidades reducidas, desde el siglo XVIII.”[iii] Durante la segunda mitad del siglo XIX empezó el sistemático proceso de desalojo de estas comunidades indígenas y de despojo de sus tierras comunes a manos de los terratenientes ganaderos, según Molina. Ese proceso que muy bien describe Molina para Chiriquí se repitió a lo largo del Istmo.

 Este otro tipo de abusos tuvo su región de conflicto en lo que se conoce como Coclé, cuyas dimensiones llegaban hasta Capira, hoy en la provincia de Panamá Oeste. Como ya hemos consignado anteriormente, Coclé, y particularmente Penonomé, constituyó la primera región en que tuvo relativo éxito el proceso de sometimiento de la población indígena y de aculturización, atrayéndolos a asentarse en poblados indígenas cercanos a poblados españoles para que fueran mano de obra disponible a lo largo de los siglos XVI y XVII. 

 Pero también hemos visto que la ida al “interior” de los criollos panameños, a lo largo del siglo XVIII, tuvo en Penonomé uno de sus lugares de asentamiento, desplazando a la población indígena o “chola” hacia la cordillera. Este proceso de desplazamiento y expropiación de tierras ejidales y particulares continuará a lo largo del siglo XIX y derivará en la guerra campesino indígena liderada por Victoriano Lorenzo.

 Antes de describir las pequeñas guerras campesinas que asolaron al sector agrario panameño, conviene tener presente que los conflictos de clase a lo largo de la centuria, a veces se presentaron directamente como luchas contra los impuestos y los abusos, como en Azuero en 1856; pero muchas veces se presentaron revestidos de un cariz político que lo encubría y del que algunos historiadores parecen no percatarse.

 Por ejemplo, el valioso estudio de Armando Muñoz Pinzón, que hemos citado, demuestra que el grave conflicto de 1854, mediado incluso por asesinatos, que aparentemente es una disputa por el control de la Gobernación de la recién creada provincia de Azuero, entre las familias Goytía y Guardia, en realidad esconde un conflicto clasista entre latifundistas y minifundistas. 

 El sociólogo Milciadez Pinzón, realiza una interesante síntesis de la variedad de interpretaciones que a lo largo del tiempo han tenido los conflictos agrarios de la década de 1850 en aquella región: 1. Empieza con Juan B. Sosa, quien sólo visualiza un conflicto entre familias; 2. Para Rubén Carles O., se trató de un conflicto entre liberales y conservadores; 3. Es Hernán Porras el primero en percibir un conflicto de clase entre terratenientes y minifundistas; 4. Según Milciades Pinzón el estudio de Armando Muñoz es un salto hacia la precisión pues incorpora el conflicto de clase en el sentido del descontento popular con los impuestos; 5. Finalmente, menciona la interpretación de Marco Gandásegui, para el cual el detonante de la crisis es la competencia por el mercado de la zona de tránsito entre formas de producción distintas Veraguas vs Azuero[iv].

 Lo que es más evidente hoy en día, es que las diversas guerras civiles entre liberales y conservadores, de las que hubo muchas en el siglo XIX panameño, en el campo expresaban un conflicto entre dos clases: los terratenientes y ganaderos  sostenedores del bando conservador, aliado a los conservadores del resto de Colombia de manera consecuente, identificado con las familias Fábrega, De la Guardia, Guardia; y el pequeño campesino precarista, siempre vinculado al bando liberal, identificado por líderes como los Goytía, Porras y Victoriano para los indígenas.

 Sin embargo, el problema se vuelve complejo desde el punto de vista del programa liberal hispanoamericano y colombiano del siglo XIX, porque como bien señala Jorge Conte-Porras[v], a partir de la década del 50 éstos intentaron traspolar ideales europeos sobre una realidad distinta en América, con lo cual los resultados fueron desastrosos o contrarios al objetivo. 

 Por ejemplo, el intento de copiar el modelo francés de reforma agraria (que eliminó el latifundio francés entregando parcelas a los pequeños campesinos) en nuestro continente significó expropiar tierras colectivas de Resguardos indígenas y ejidos municipales que, a la postre acabaron en manos de los latifundistas. Otro tanto sucedió con la expropiación de las enormes tierras de la Iglesia Católica que fue a parar a los terratenientes fortaleciéndolos. 

 En el plano de los impuestos, el ideal de la descentralización política y el federalismo los llevó a entregar su administración y cobro a los Cabildos y autoridades locales, lo cual fue contraproducente, y empeoró las injusticias contra los campesinos pobres. 

 Por eso, en términos generales el programa liberal fracasó en Colombia y el resto de Hispanoamérica, transformándose en un beneficio para los enemigos de la causa liberal. Ahora bien, estas contradicciones no impidieron que las demandas del campesino pobre, así como de los artesanos y pobres urbanos, encontraran siempre cobijo bajo la bandera liberal, y para nada bajo la de los conservadores, a quienes veían como enemigos de clase y políticos.  

Las principales figuras populares del siglo XIX panameño, todas fueron liberales: Pedro Goytía y después Demetrio Porras, representantes del minifundio de Azuero; Victoriano Lorenzo, representante de los indígenas, cholos y campesinos pobres de la cordillera coclesana; Buenaventura Correosos, representante del arrabal de Santa Ana en la ciudad de Panamá.

 Veamos la lista de los conflictos y guerras civiles que asolaron el campo panameño a lo largo del siglo XIX que hemos podido recabar: 

 1. Como antecedentes, en el siglo XVIII, están las incontables sublevaciones y resistencias del pueblo Kuna, en las dos vertientes del Darién, los cuales no pudieron ser “pacificados” a lo largo del período colonial; en ese mismo siglo, las varias revueltas de diversos pueblos indígenas de la región de Chiriquí y Veraguas, que abandonaban y saqueaban las reducciones en las que aparentemente habían sido “pacificados”,en 1783 en Bugaba, 1788 en Tolé, 1805 en Santa Fe[vi]   

 2. En el siglo XIX, la primera sublevación del campesinado azuerense es el “Grito de Independencia de La Villa de Los Santos”, del 10 de noviembre de 1821. Hecho que la historia oficial vincula a “sentimientos patrióticos”, pero cuyo móvil real e inmediato fue el descontento del campesinado pobre contra el avituallamiento forzoso del ejército español cada vez que marchaba a combatir a los independentistas en Sudamérica. El historiador Alfredo Castillero C. aporta nueva información que permite establecer que, en octubre de 1821, el capitán general Mourgeon impuso las últimas contribuciones forzosas de ganado y otros bienes de las cofradías, antes de partir con su ejército hacia Ecuador. El descontento campesino que esto produce da lugar a una proclama del natariego Francisco Gómez Miró seguida del pronunciamiento del Cabildo de Los Santos dirigido por Segundo Villamil, y es lo que explica que aquella región fuera la vanguardia en la independencia panameña[vii]. 

 3. En 1827, en Los Santos, se produce una sublevación de 300 campesinos contra el pago de impuestos, según recoge el general bolivariano O’Leary en sus Memorias, las cuales cita Armando Muñoz Pinzón[viii]. 

 4. En 1851 y 1852 se repiten disturbios en los departamentos de Herrera y Los Santos cuando la Cámara Provincial, mediante ley de 22 de abril de 1850, había sustituido el diezmo por la contribución directa[ix]. 

 5. En 1854, se produce el conflicto por el control de la gobernación de la provincia de Azuero (creada en 1850), que comprendía los departamentos de Herrera y Los Santos. Aparentemente se basó en un acuerdo político, el gobernador José A. Sáez (liberal), y el vicegobernador Agustín Chiari (conservador). Pero ante un cáncer terminal que padecía el gobernador, el bando liberal decide remover a Chiari para imponer a Pedro Goytía (liberal) para que dirija de hecho la gobernación.  Los conservadores, con el apoyo del gobernador de Veraguas, Fábrega, deciden oponerse a la maniobra, intentan asesinar a Pedro Goytía, y luego son heridos dos funcionarios conservadores. En julio de 1854 se produce una invasión de 90 hombres procedente de Veraguas, que toma Parita pero es derrotada en los márgenes del río La Villa por campesinos armados en número de 400. Durante varias semanas se teme una invasión azuerense hacia Veraguas, pero ésta no se produce. Goytía es separado del cargo y, finalmente, desde Bogotá, el presidente encargado José de Obaldía, por iniciativa el senador conservador panameño, Santiago de la Guardia, decretan la supresión de la provincia de Azuero, entregando Herrera a la jurisdicción de Veraguas, y Los santos a la de Panamá[x]. 

 6. En 1856, durante varios meses se suceden incidentes y rebeliones en los pueblos de la península de Azuero. La primera explosión popular sucede el 19 de enero, cuando una multitud de cien campesinos armados rodea la casa del prefecto de Pesé, José I. Rosa, para “que no se pagasen las contribuciones que estaban mandadas a cobrar; que solo estaban prontos a pagar diezmos y primicias...”[xi]. 

 El movimiento se extendió a la vecina Ocú y a Parita, lugar este último donde la comunidad emitió un “Pedimento del Pueblo” que, entre otras cosas dice: “…Que ciendo estos pueblos desgraciados de pobresa y ciendo tantas las contribuciones del Estado, muy ecsorbitantes i los indicados pueblos no resisten las referidas contribuciones,…, salvandose algunos individuos de regular fortuna de la contribucion del estado, que de estos salga la contribucion[xii] 

 El Pedimento del pueblo de Parita es claro, no sólo las contribuciones son elevadas para sus capacidades, sino que hay individuos pudientes que escapan a su pago por ser allegados a las autoridades. 

 El 27 de enero, en Pesé, el pueblo detuvo y golpeó a todas las autoridades locales y saqueó la casa del cura José María Franco el cual era terrateniente, activista político  y aliado de los Guardia y los Fábrega de Veraguas. La alarma cunde entre los latifundistas de Santiago, quienes llaman al vicegobernador del Estado Federal de Panamá, Francisco de Fábrega, para que se apersone con una fuerza represiva desde la ciudad de Panamá antes que el movimiento se extienda, pues provenían ecos de descontento de la región de Chiriquí y en la misma Veraguas, en San Francisco. 

 Fábrega llega con una numerosa tropa a Montijo el 4 de febrero y desde allí organiza una expedición punitiva que llega a Ocú y Pesé el 20 de febrero y a Los Santos el 22. Sin embargo, la actitud de los habitantes fue la de no confrontar al ejército del Estado, sino huir a los campos. Por ello, desde Los Santos el oficial Gil Colunje emite un informe en que se ufana de sofocar la rebelión “…sin disparar un fusil…”[xiii]. 

 Pese a que el historiador Armando Muñoz P., al inicio del capítulo que narra la sublevación de 1856 ha destacado que en los manifiestos de los campesinos no hay ninguna mención a bandos políticos, sino al tema de los impuestos, las autoridades conservadoras enseguida culparon de lo sucedido a Pedro Goytía y sus huestes, como bien remarca en el siguiente capítulo. Así que el conflicto sí queda teñido por la lucha liberal – conservadora sobre todo en los juicios posteriores que se siguieron y en los que Goytía pagó con prisión y destierro[xiv]. 

 Justamente, el 20 de marzo, estalla una nueva asonada en Los Santos por la detención y deportación de Pedro Goytía hacia la ciudad de Panamá. El 5 de abril 100, hombres armados rodean la casa del prefecto Villamil en Los Santos y se produce un tiroteo de 2 horas. El 27 de abril, es asesinado en el caminos entre Chitré y Los santos el agente fiscal José del C. Ríos. 

 El 25 de mayo, para tratar de calmar los ánimos el Cabildo de Los Santos emite un decreto reglamentando el cobro de la contribución directa de manera proporcional, desde 5 céntimos el menos pudiente hasta 3 pesos fuertes[xv]. Pese a ello, entre julio y agosto se produce una nueva revuelta en Pedasí, donde los campesinos se oponen a pagar impuestos.  

 Aunque el historiador presenta como un hecho disociado, nos parece que tiene relación directa con la revuelta campesina el asesinato del cura José María Franco en Macaracas, el día 9 de septiembre de 1856. Ese día, un grupo de campesinos dirigidos por Celedonio Castro se presentó a la iglesia donde esta oficiando el cura Franco, lo arrestó, lo condujo a la cárcel del pueblo, donde fue puesto en el cepo y luego asesinado a tiros. Las investigaciones presentaron el hecho como una venganza personal, por el cobro de una deuda, pero la historia personal del cura y que tuviera que huir al inicio de la sublevación relacionan su muerte con el descontento generalizado contra los latifundistas[xvi]. 

 7. En 1858, aunque el reglamento del Cabildo de Los Santos de mayo de 1856 parecía haber calmado los ánimos, Armando Muñoz P. reseña un tumulto de campesinos que atacan al alcalde y al tesorero por el tema de los impuestos en la zona de Macaracas[xvii]. 

 8. La crisis de 1860 a 1862, guerra liberal – conservadora de amplias repercusiones en Panamá que Jorge Conte-Porras aborda en mucho detalle, ya que el conflicto se extiende en el Istmo porque acá el gobierno conservador de Santiago de la Guardia procuró preservarse mientras los liberales asumían el poder en toda Colombia (Convenio de Colón)[xviii] 

 Lo interesante para el tema que nos ocupa es: 1. Que en la provincia de Coclé surge un liberalismo, encabezado por Isaacs Fernández Feo, que cuestiona el poder conservador de la familia latifundista de la región, lo De la Guardia; 2. Que José Joaquín Mosquera, presidente y cabeza del liberalismo colombiano, tuvo como eje de su gobierno el tema agrario, decretando el 20 de julio de 1861 la expropiación de los bienes de manos muertas en poder de la Iglesia y la devolución de las tierras de los Resguardos indígenas que habían sido apropiadas por los terratenientes ganaderos. 

 Derrotado el conservador Santiago de la Guardia y restaurado el gobierno liberal en el Istmo, empezaron las quejas de los terratenientes, como el propio José de Obaldía, denunciaba ser “despojado” de sus hatos ganaderos por los campesinos indígenas que se amparaban en las leyes dictadas por Mosquera. Es interesante hacer notar que en esta fase, hubo quejas hasta de los propios liberales terratenientes, como el mismísimo Pedro Goytía que, de líder de las masas desamparadas de Azuero, ahora se quejaba de las expropiaciones lanzadas por Mosquera[xix]. 

 Sin embargo, el poder liberal duró poco en el Estado de Panamá, ya que mediante una maniobra en el Cabildo se autoproclamó presidente el conservador Gil Colunje en 1865, ordenando acciones punitivas contra los liberales insurrectos en la zona de Coclé. De manera que, un año después, campesinos de Penonomé se quejaban mediante nota de los atropellos del Prefecto José Arjona. 

 Las medidas progresistas de Mosquera y los liberales finalizaron cuando Rafael Núñez, mediante una alianza de liberales moderados y conservadores, crea el movimiento de La Regeneración y, entre otras medidas, restituye a la Iglesia sus propiedades y prerrogativas.  

 9. Toda la década de 1890 está plagada de reclamos de las comunidades indígenas de Coclé contra los abusos de las autoridades especialmente en la imposición de trabajos forzados e ilegales. Conte-Porras cita una carta del obispo Fermín Jované (1890) que, prueba que está al tanto del problema, lo que no significa que haya hecho nada al respecto; un Memorial (30/1/1891) firmado por cien indígenas de Penonomé, entre ellos Victoriano Lorenzo, quejándose contra los abusos del regidor de Capira Pedro Hoyos obligándoles a pagar tributos a ese distrito cuando ellos vivían fuera de su jurisdicción; otra nota de los indígenas al obispo de Panamá sobre el mismo asunto; y otra de 1897 dirigida al Secretario de Gobierno de Colombia. 

 De manera que, cuando el 23 de julio de 1891, se suscita el conocido incidente en que el regidor de la Trinidad y El Cacao, Victoriano Lorenzo, mata en defensa propia al regidor de Capira Pedro Hoyos, estamos ante un hecho que parece aislado, pero que es un reflejo de una cadena de injusticias. Todos sabemos que Lorenzo purgó 9 años de cárcel sin que ninguna autoridad de las que estaba informada de la situación hiciera nada por defenderlo, igual que sucedería en 1903 cuando fue fusilado. 

 10. La cadena de hechos escritos abona el terreno para la explosión social que fue la Guerra de los Mil Días. De modo que, cuando esta estalla, el caudillo liberal azuerense, Belisario Porrras podía pensar: “¿Cómo no debían tener esos indios hambre de reparaciones? Son una raza de proscritos en la cordillera, a donde los arrincona cada día más la codicia torpe de la autoridad de nuestra tierra. Claro está que siendo ellos así, y nosotros descastados y filibusteros sin patria, había cierta similitud en nuestra común desgracia y bien podíamos hacerlos de nuestra propia mesnada[xx].

 No vamos a detenernos en cómo se desarrolló la guerra, pues no es nuestro tema. Baste clarificar aquí que, en un artículo[xxi] hemos desarrollado la tesis de que la Guerra de los Mil Días tuvo en el Istmo de Panamá, dos fases: la primera, sintonizada políticamente con las demandas del liberalismo colombiano contra el gobierno de La Regeneración, que llega hasta la derrota del Puente de Calidonia (24 de julio de 1900); la segunda, que empieza la guerra indígeno-campesina contra los terratenientes, cuando Victoriano Lorenzo es nombrado general por 500 pobladores indignados por la quema de El Cacao, la destrucción de los cultivos y la violación de las mujeres (20 de octubre de 1900).

 “Victoriano Lorenzo abre la campaña contra el Gobierno por el saqueo del caserío de El Cacao. No habla de liberalismo y conservatismo. Es la lucha de los campesinos recluidos en las montañas que sufren la carga de los impuestos (incluyendo los diezmos y primicias), la escasez de alimentos y los ultrajes de las autoridades y de arrogantes oficiales militares[xxii]

 Desde octubre de 1900 llevó la guerra a los terratenientes de Penonomé, cercando la ciudad y postrándola de hambre, sumando al campesinado de toda la región y aislando al gobierno conservador de la ciudad de Panamá del interior. Así se desarrolló la guerra hasta que, en noviembre de 1902, los liberales y conservadores de Panamá firmaron el Tratado del Wisconsin, por obligación impuesta por Estados Unidos para finiquitar las negociaciones sobre el canal, sin resolver ninguna de las demandas campesinas e indígenas.

 Norteamericanos, autoridades y civiles conservadores, y los mismos liberales moderados veían en Victoriano un peligro que podía echar por tierra sus aspiraciones a un acuerdo canalero. Por esa razón fue traicionado por los dirigentes liberales, detenido desde noviembre de 1902, enjuiciado sumariamente cuando la negociación canalera estaba en su apogeo y fusilado sin poder defenderse el 15 de mayo de 1903.  

Notas

[i] Ibid., Un estudio sobre historia social panameña. Las sublevaciones campesinas de Azuero en 1856.Págs. 25 – 42. 

[ii] Figueroa Navarro, Alfredo. Op. cit. Pág. 106. 

[iii] Molina Castillo, Mario. Chiriquí en sus fronteras de producción. Migraciones, poblamiento y evolución urbana e industrial 1750 – 1950. Impresos Modernos. Panamá, 2014. 

[iv] Pinzón O., Milciades. “Conservadores, liberales y campesinos en Panamá. Una interpretación de los movimientos campesinos azuerenses de 1856“. En Revista Panameña de Sociología No. 3. Imprenta Universitaria. Panamá, 1987. 

[v] Conte-Porras, Jorge. Meditaciones en torno a Victoriano Lorenzo. Impreandes, S.A. Santa fe de Bogotá, octubre de 1997. Págs. 158 – 159. 

[vi] Castillero Calvo, Alfredo. Conquista, Evangelización y Resistencia. Op. cit. 

[vii] Castillero Calvo, Alfredo. La independencia de 1821. Una nueva interpretación. En: Historia General de Panamá. Volumen II. El Siglo XIX. Comité Nacional del Centenario. Panamá, 2004. 

[viii] Muñoz P., Armando. Op. Cit. Pág. 43. 

[ix] Ibidem, Pág. 35. 

[x] Ibid., Págs. 1 – 24. 

[xi] Ibid. Págs. 43 – 44. 

[xii] Ibid. Págs. 49 – 50. 

[xiii] Ibid. Págs. 56 – 64. 

[xiv] Ibid. Págs. 65 – 90. 

[xv] Ibid. Pág. 85. 

[xvi] Ibid. Págs. 91 – 107. 

[xvii] Ibid. Pág. 89. 

[xviii] Conte-Porras, Jorge. Meditaciones en torno a Victoriano Lorenzo Op. cit. Págs. 157 – 209.  

[xix] Ibidem, Pág. 170. 

[xx] Ibid. Pág. 193. 

[xxi] Beluche, Olmedo. El Cholo Guerrillero. Victoriano Lorenzo en la historia política panameña. Editorial Portobelo. Panamá, 2010. 

[xxii] Vásquez Vásquez, Claudio. Mis memorias sobre el General Victoriano Lorenzo: relatos de viva voz del Tte. Col. Juan José Quirós Mendoza. 1900 – 1902. Segunda Edición. Imprenta ARTICSA. Panamá, 2003. Pág. 49. 

 

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an impression
An impression based on a small sliver of reality.
Una impresión basada en una pequeña porción de realidad.

The sounds before the fury — and the mercy — of the oppressed
Los sonidos ante la furia –y la piedad– de los oprimidos

Kafu Banton – Cuando Viene de Abajo
https://youtu.be/o6VGdIU8FfI

Tracy Chapman – Talking About a Revolution
https://youtu.be/Xv8FBjo1Y8I

Mad Professor – When Revolution Comes
https://youtu.be/qksAvG7jDD4

Rubén Blades, Carlos Santana & Fela Kuti – Muevete
https://youtu.be/xaxMsJItNS4

Bob Marley – Them Belly Full
https://youtu.be/TQ7pL0JYz9k

Carlos Vives & Fito Paez – Babel
https://youtu.be/Ci77ftrvVWI

Aisha Davis – Trouble
https://youtu.be/fiq1ZF5whbE

Los Hermanos Duncan – No Puedo Vivir del Amor
https://youtu.be/EvpdYhB5dQs

Four Tops – Are You Man Enough?
https://youtu.be/KDXCBN-nHXo

Desmond Dekker – 007
https://youtu.be/kpVxwWQjIy0

Carlos Martínez – El Presidiario
https://youtu.be/gkAdQF42em8

Peter Tosh – Burial
https://youtu.be/eirblXMl30s

Mavis Staples – Eyes On The Prize
https://youtu.be/0ZWdDI_fkns

Chaka Khan – Through the Fire
https://youtu.be/TjWmw-8-OEk

Joshue Ashby & C3 Project – Colón Surgirá
https://youtu.be/u4t_uOzc-84

 

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