Temas Especiales

04 de Mar de 2021


Celebration death tally in Panama

HANGOVER. When I finish writing these lines I will be heading off to my final dose of election night fever at the home of Phil and Miche...

HANGOVER. When I finish writing these lines I will be heading off to my final dose of election night fever at the home of Phil and Michelle Edmonston, who have invited a large group of expats and Panamanian election watchers to get their last high before the fall.

The question on everyone’s mind will be “What will I do after the talking heads analysis of the results on Wednesday? What to do with all that time spent watching the pundits tear each other to bits, until in the last few days, as Obama’s lead remained steady, they began to coalesce, and even Republican advisors, apart from one hysterical never-say-die hard liner, agreed that McCain had run a disastrous campaign, that Sarah Palin was a monumental misjudgment, and that Barack Obama, had provided inspiration for one of the most efficient grass roots campaign in the history of U.S. elections.

But what will all the political junkies do? According to a story on this page, the only way to fight post election depression (even if your candidate is the winner) is to wait for the next election.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING. As you read this you will know what the voter turnout was in this election. It is sure to surpass that of those who went to the polls during George W. Bush’s last campaign (56.7 percent). Americans traditionally have a poor turnout record. Their highest ever was when President William Taft was elected in 1908, when 66 percent of eligible voters went to make their cross. But back then women and blacks were not allowed to vote.

Judging by the TV images of thousands of people across the country, including African Americans and women, standing in long lines in the rain at six in the morning, this will be a new record.

Taft, by the way, who made a number of visits to the canal construction site, before being elected president, expressed some rabid views of Panamanians. Not surprising that the new republic began with a large anti-American bias among most of the population, except the conservative leaders, who rigged the vote to get themselves re-elected in the first “democratic” election after independence.

Their successors, right through to the downfall of Noriega, took the lesson to heart.

POINT OF VIEW. According to a recent economic report, 187,000 people working in Panama are not being paid a "fair wage".

Entrepreneur Sam Taliaferro, who lives in Chiriqui and has some strong opinions on some of the going-on in the country, has latched on to this news with a spirited attack on minimum wage, with his opening line being “But what is fair?” He then trots out a host of arguments that any student of economic history will recognize, all geared to the fact that minimum wages hamper the economy. How have countries like France, Germany, and Canada survived so long? Perhaps a better question would be “What isn’t fair” like employers of low level workers like maids, who fail to pay social security, and work their domestic slaves unimaginable long hours.

THANKS to the Canadian Association who marked their Thanksgiving with a dinner and gifts for the folks at the Catherine Brown home in Rio Abajo. Picture below.