In the mid-1960s, the oligarchy was still tenuously in charge of Panama’s political system. Members of the middle class, consisting largely of teachers and government workers, occasionally gained political prominence. Aspiring to upper-class stations, they failed to unite with the lower classes to displace the oligarchy. Students were the most vocal element of the middle class and the group most disposed to speak for the uneducated poor; as graduates, however, they were generally coopted by the system.
A great chasm separated the rural section from the urban population of the two major cities. Only the rural wageworkers, concentrated in the provinces of Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí, appeared to follow events in the capital and to express themselves on issues of national policy. Among the urban lower classes, antagonism between the Spanish speakers and the English- and French-speaking African American and African Caribbean people inhibited organization in pursuit of common interests. Continue reading →
PANAMANIAN SOCIETY OF the 1980s reflected the country’s unusual geographical position as a transit zone. Panama’s role as a crossing point had long subjected the isthmus to a variety of outside influences not typically associated with Central and South-America. The population included Asian, European, North American and Middle Eastern immigrants and their offspring, who came to Panama to take advantage of the commercial opportunities connected with the Panama Canal.
African Antilleans, descendants of African Caribbean laborers who worked on the construction of the canal, formed the largest single minority group; as English-speaking diverse group, they were set apart from the majority by both language and religion. Tribal Indians, often isolated from the larger society, constituted roughly 5 percent of the population in the 1980s. They were distinguished by language, their indigenous belief systems, and a variety of other cultural practices. Continue reading →
DEA’s Latin ‘takedown’ boosted by dubious figures
BY LENNY SAVINO, The Miami Herald, February 1, 2001
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Drug Enforcement Administration used suspect figures to tout the success of a 36-nation “major takedown” of drug traffickers in the Caribbean and Latin America last fall, according to an examination of the operation.
The DEA’s scorecard on “Operation Libertador” reported 2,876 arrests, but agency officials could not provide evidence to support hundreds of them. Hundreds more were routine busts for marijuana possession, and some drug eradication figures were double-counts of a State Department program to burn marijuana plants. And while the DEA said $30.2 million in criminal assets were seized during Libertador, $30 million of that was confiscated four weeks before the operation began. Continue reading →
DEA Congressional Testimony
May 15, 2001 [Excerpt]
Statement by: Donnie R. Marshall
Drug Enforcement Administration
Before the: Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control
Date: May 15, 2001
Note: This document may not reflect changes made in actual delivery.
Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Biden, distinguished members of the Caucus: I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you today to discuss DEA’s strategy and role in combating drugs moving through the Transit Zone destined for the United States.
DEA’s primary function as an investigative law enforcement agency is to identify and dismantle the world’s most sophisticated drug distribution organizations. DEA’s role in interdiction efforts is crucial since the intelligence gained from these operations often provides the information needed to unveil the depth and magnitude of a drug trafficking organization’s abilities and intentions. Continue reading →
In 1519 the Spanish Governor Pedrarias the Cruel, moved his capital away from the debilitating climate and unfriendly AmerIndians of the Darién to a fishing village on the Pacific coast called Panama, meaning “plenty of fish.” It was resettled and until the end of the sixteenth century served as the Caribbean port for trans-isthmian traffic. A trail known as the Camino Real, or royal road, linked Panama and Nombre de Dios. Along this trail, traces of which can still be followed, gold from Peru was carried by muleback to Spanish galleons waiting on the Atlantic coast.
The increasing importance of the isthmus for transporting treasure and the delay and difficulties posed by the Camino Real inspired surveys ordered by the Spanish crown in the 1520s and 1530s to ascertain the feasibility of constructing a canal. The idea was finally abandoned Continue reading →
There are common misconceptions about countries south of the USA. for example always the same discussions about Mexico not being North America. Such a judgement might be coming from ignorance, but it is nevertheless interesting that this is a common interpretation.
Common Misconceptions – The position of Mexico
Many people don’t think that Mexico is part of North America. They think that it is instead a part of Central or South America. However, Mexico is “officially” or scholarly widely considered to be a part of North America. Have a look at this picture [above] which I extracted from a discussion on /r/mexico on reddit.com.
You can see what I want to refer to as argumentum ad aequatorem (following the style of some genetic fallacies). It basically states that Mexico has to be North America, since it lies north of the equator. Using the same assertions no less than 12 (!) other countries can claim to be a part of North America. From North to South: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Vuvuzela Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana.Continue reading →