Varela Reaps Martinelli’s Populist Seed in Panama

"Rival" Successor Follows the Same Paternalist Footsteps

Current president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela (right), is continuing the paternalism initiated by his predecessor, Ricardo Martinelli (left).

Current president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela (right), is continuing the paternalism initiated by his predecessor, Ricardo Martinelli (left). (Flickr)

EspañolMuch was said during the last election in Panama about how Ricardo Martinelli’s government was destroying the country’s institutions. Buying off congressmen, the near elimination of the separation of powers, rampant corruption, among other things, became the talk of the town.

Voters could not wait to remove Martinelli from power and elect a leader who would restore the country’s damaged institutions and create an environment of peace and democracy. The public did not want to see Martinelli reelected through his puppet candidate José Domingo Arías, whose running mate for the vice presidential seat was the first lady at the time, Marta Linares de Martinelli.

Juan Carlos Varela, vice president during the Martinelli administration, sold himself as a staunch opponent of Martinelli. The constant attacks by José Domingo Arias and various candidates of the ruling Democratic Change (DC) party helped Valera completely separate himself from Martinelli and be seen as the true opposition candidate.

[Read more...]

Nativist Fears Threaten a Good Thing Going in Panama

Compete on Equal Terms with Immigrants, or Suffer the Consequences

EspañolOn Tuesday, the National Assembly of Panama opened debate over the country’s immigration policy, known as Crisol de Razas (Melting Pot of Races). The 15th and final discourse of this kind will take place on October 2-12.

Panama Immigration

When Panama became a republic in 1903, it had just 300,000 residents. The immigration of at least 100,000 people was necessary for the construction of the canal. (Wikimedia)

This debate presents a challenge: xenophobic attitudes ought not be legitimized, nor should legal immigration system be compromised, as it contributes to the sustained growth of the national economy.

Since colonization, Panama has grown into a global convergence point, something that is expressed in its economic character and ethnic diversity.

[Read more...]

Bolivia’s Inflated Electoral Participation Is a Fraud

Nothing Else Accounts for Sharply Increased Turnout and Registration

EspañolRecently, the register of eligible voters for October’s national elections became known. It affirms that 6.5 million people have successfully registered, including Bolivians residing abroad.

This information makes evident, even for those unfamiliar with statistics, that an electoral fraud of great proportions is on the way. Merely compare this one to previous elections, and to the population and housing census of 2012, to understand why.

Back in 1993, 2.39 million people registered to vote, and abstention was 27.84 percent. In 2002, 4.15 million registered, with 27.94 percent abstention.

For the 2005 elections — when Evo Morales’s Movement towards Socialism (MAS) won — 3.67 million people registered, and 15.49 percent of those individuals did not vote.

bolivia elecciones

Abstention has reached unbelievably low levels in the last few years. (Ibero-American Institute)

[Read more...]

Victoria Henderson: Imperfect Trade Agreements Still a Noble Endeavor

Honduras, Canada Both Stand to Gain from Economic Reshuffling

EspañolEditor’s note: Adriana Peralta recently reported on the finalization of the bilateral trade agreement between Canada and Honduras. Victoria Henderson, managing director of the Institute for Social and Economic Analysis based in Kingston, Ontario, shared her insights, beyond what could fit in the news story.

Which nation do you think will benefit more from this agreement?

It’s very difficult to speak of which country will benefit more or less from a free-trade agreement (FTA). To the extent that barriers to trade are reduced and competition is increased, the outcome of any FTA is positive sum.

Having said that, there can be a tendency among FTA negotiators to ignore the pains of change. We need to recognize that FTAs can cause shifts in the employment landscape and this can make them a difficult sell in the political arena.

[Read more...]

Venezuelan Singer Not Chavista Enough to Hold Citizenship

Revocation for María Conchita Alonso the Latest Threat against Dissent

EspañolThe Venezuelan government’s most important publication, La Gaceta Oficial, announced on September 17 that Cuban-born singer and naturalized Venezuelan citizen María Conchita Alonso could lose her Venezuelan nationality for exercising her right to free speech.

With this move, the regime has taken the next step towards disfiguring the country’s already trampled freedom of expression. Alonso’s punishment encroaches upon a critical threshold, and affirms that you must be a citizen to exist in the eyes of the Venezuelan state.

The Chavistas are already known to impose exile and internal ostracism with the dissenting half of the Venezuelan population. The only thing left to do is to make the process official.

[Read more...]

A Declaration of Independence for Puerto Rico

Add Your Name, Show Your Support across Ideological Lines

EspañolOn September 23, 1868, a group of nearly 1,000 men rose up against Spain and declared Puerto Rico’s independence from the colonial power. Their rebellion, known as El Grito de Lares and led by men such as Ramón Emeterio Betances (author of the Ten Commandments of Free Men), was crushed by the Spaniards, but in many ways, it was the birth of the Puerto Rican independence movement.

The Puero Rican and Lares Revolutionary flags in Old San Juan.

The Puero Rican and Lares Revolutionary flags in Old San Juan. (fotovisura)

While a complete history lesson is not in order today, Betances was clearly an individualist and believer in liberty. Since then, mostly since the 1950s, the independence movement has been dominated by Marxist leftists and socialism. In the subsequent years, the people of Puerto Rico have rejected communism and the Puerto Rico Independence Party (PIP). Those in the contemporary movement have not only failed to bring independence, but to ever acquire a large enough voter base to get their leaders elected to the governor’s mansion.

[Read more...]

Don’t Buy Dan Snyder’s Stadium Snake Oil

With of Without the Olympics, DC Doesn't Need the Boondoggle

EspañolThe allure of a downtown football stadium may well be too much for the Washington, DC, political class. Recently, Redskins owner Dan Snyder once again revved the hype engine in hopes of earning a massive taxpayer handout towards that end.

Although Snyder’s hopes for a new stadium have been heard before, this time the billionaire has a new angle: the new stadium would not only fulfill Snyder’s wish to return the team to the District, it would fit perfectly into DC’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

And all of it is a horrible idea. A new downtown stadium makes absolutely no sense to anyone who cares about the people who actually live in the nation’s capital, not to mention the fiscal squeeze the games could bring to make the city’s Olympic dream to come true.

[Read more...]

Netflix to Canada: Take Your Busy-Body Threat and Shove It

Archaic Broadcast Commission Shows True Masters Not the Constituents

EspañolAs the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) sparred with executives of Netflix Inc. in Gatineau, Quebec, last Friday, one thing became abundantly clear: there’s an elephant in the Canadian-media regulatory room, and it’s dressed as a dinosaur.

On the final day of a two-week conference on the future of television in Canada, sparks flew between CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais and Netflix representative Corie Wright. The tense and openly hostile exchange stemmed from Blais’s demands that Netflix reveal its Canadian user data or risk being relegated to the rules of traditional Canadian television.

And with those demands, the CRTC revealed two of its most common traits: archaism and an ability to be out of touch with even the most obvious of trends.

Young People of Latin America: A Free Cuba Needs You

Ideological DIvisions Need Not Distract Us from the Greater Evil of Tyranny

EspañolThe inaugural Ibero-American Youth Parliament began on Wednesday in Zaragoza, Spain. Three Latin-American ex-presidents offered their presence, to support the debates of “los pinos nuevos” (today’s generation, as characterized by José Martí). The discourse addressed the many challenges of our region, blessed with a diversity of natural and cultural riches but unjustly punished with insecurity, inequality, and, for the past 15 years, a treacherous expansion of antidemocratic thought.

I had the opportunity to address the parliament’s young representatives, and reflect with them on their role: are we young political leaders of Ibero-America supporting democracy in our region; are we actively working to preserve our liberties, and to establish those we lack? Or is our language and solidarity with those who suffer under the oppression of totalitarianism, the injustices of dictators, cut short by our positions on the political spectrum, and therefore do we fail to be more than symbolic?

[Read more...]

El Puma Cries Out to Venezuelan Military: Confront the Regime!

José Luis Rodríguez Declares Chávez a Traitor, Capriles a Coward

EspañolA short clip of an interview with José Luis Rodríguez (“El Puma”) has gone viral over social media over the last few days. Unlike other artists, El Puma did not show any apprehension in making his opinions known on the state of Venezuela. Not only did he call out Henrique Capriles as a “coward,” he made it clear who he believed were the principal authors of Venezuela’s downfall: the military and Hugo Chávez.

“I have faith that a part of the military will be moved by their patriotic sentiment, which they have always had. I have faith that they will change the situation. There will come a time when this can no longer continue, and all of this will collapse. It’s [like] a pressure cooker. They are dismantling the country,” he said.

[Read more...]