When everyone yells Bravo
What makes the populace give a near unanimous “Bravo” to a leader? Throughout history an attack on some symbol of things gone awry has d...
What makes the populace give a near unanimous “Bravo” to a leader? Throughout history an attack on some symbol of things gone awry has done wonders for those in power. The storming of the Bastille (being celebrated on Tuesday next) did wonders for the likes of Danton and Robespierre. Margaret Thatcher , reigning as one of the most unpopular prime ministers in British history, was miraculously returned to favor when she decided to send troops to the Falkland Islands (the Maldives).
Now, our new President, Ricardo Martinelli , has won approval across the nation for boldly marching with his cabinet in tow, to tear down another fortress on the Amador Causeway. Maybe not as strong as the Bastille, and there were no deaths, but the significance was there as they demolished the fence surrounding the wasteland constructed by the Figali Group during recent years.
Martinelli went even further, hoisting not a flag but a notice declaring the new landfill “government property” until a $15 or $16 million debt is paid.
Many cheered, as official recognition was given to the sordid sequence of events as laws were flouted, environmental studies by-passed and demands to cease and desist ignored.
Watching the pugnacious president at work makes one wonder what happened during the reign of President Bland. Did neither he, nor his advisors hear the public outcry, or see the media coverage? They remained silent and, it appears, fled like ostriches to the sands, recently cleared of mangroves.
At one time police even stood on the Causeway guiding trucks loaded with landfill to carry on the questionable construction. Now, the police are back, this time to safeguard what has become public property. Nationalization by a right wing president.
There were some, of course, who were not happy to see Mr. Martinelli on the attack. Some senior judicial figures have rule in favor of Figali, and there are malefactors out there who must be wondering how many skeletons the president is going to haul out of the closet.
But there must be a bunch of happy lawyers, licking their lips as they anticipate legal challenges to the president’s action.
In the meantime let’s all echo the “Bravo Martinelli” calls, while still remembering that the populace is fickle. Danton and Robespierre followed their king to the scaffold, and Margaret Thatcher lost her gloss, was turfed out by her own party, and Tony Blair took over to become, in time, what UK commentators called Bush’s poodle. It’s called cause and effect.
THE ON-OFF MAYOR. While on the big stage the president marches to confront ghosts of the past, would-be mayor Bosco Vallarino hovers in the wings, waiting to move into the office he was so keen on re-decorating. In what is beginning to appear like a Monty-Python movie, he triumphantly waves the latest piece of evidential paper, this time from the National Assembly saying he has the right to take over the city reins. He hung on to it tightly, unlike his missing American passport. Whether the Assembly by a simple vote can overrule the Panama constitution is another debatable point, but the city needs to get on with the job.
It needs a firm decision, and a mayor who will follow in the footsteps of the president and tackle some of the city’s big issues, like garbage collection, parking, polluting buses, bad driving, and maintaining the Cinta Costera, without using unpaid elementary school kids as litter collectors. It’s a noble citizen gesture, but not a career path.