(Humor/Poem) Roll Me One

Roll Me One

 

I was about seventeen the first time I tried this God-given herb

A friend rolled me one in the parking lot of the senior high

It didn’t do anything the first three or four times I did try

Turns out the tobacco was homegrown, a waste of my time

 

Columbia, I remember the first time I ever heard of the name

Was because of the red and the gold haired tobacco they grew

Makes a person wish they could go and live down there too

 

Wacky tabacky now I understand why good people have to shield

Left handed cigarettes, disguised with silly names that we give it

A pure Herb God has given for all of man to be able to enjoy

Pharmaceuticals and Alcohol lobbyist pay politicians to damn it

 

It is so evil that people are forbidden to be able to enjoy God’s gifts

Folks should be able to Roll one up and remove their daily stresses

Big Brother takes the rights of the peace-loving people away

People want freedom, Big Brother’s chooses to act like a snake

Politicians make laws so crooked the people can not freely partake

 

Roll one for me my brother but do not assume your God-given freedom

The snake is self-elected and manipulating full of venom and pure evil

Roll one in secret but be careful for there are electronic narcs all around

The Demons in D.C. and the State Houses are professional liars and thieves

A couple planted grams, they now own all you worked a lifetime to achieve

 

4 Most Beautiful Views in South America

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Most Beautiful Views in South America

There is absolutely no shortage of picturesque vistas among the vast and varied landscapes that make up South America, all 7,000 square miles of them. Many of the most stunning views happen to be in places of wide-ranging biodiversity and high cultural importance, and they are thriving as destinations through eco-tourism and preservation practices. From epic mountain landscapes in Patagonia to paradise-found beach scenes in Colombia and nature’s tallest cascade in Venezuela, South America holds a rich trove of travel-worthy sights to behold.

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Credit: javarman/Shutterstock

Sitting beneath the shade of a palm tree, enjoy endless views of magical blue lagoons and protected coves ringed by bight white beaches, themselves surrounded by hills carpeted in lush, deep-green tropical rainforest. Bring together those ocean and forest biomes, and you have a recipe for boundless biodiversity. Both the breathtaking scenery and the flora and fauna are on view at Tayrona National Park, in northern Colombia. The large preserve area spreads throughout the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range that comes down to recede into the Caribbean coastline. The plant and animal protections within the park provide the perfect ecotourism opportunity, all while allowing trekkers to take in some pretty paradisiacal views. A great overall resource is Colombiatravel.en.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Credit: kavram/Shutterstock

Known by adventurers and thrill seekers as a pristine outdoor playground, Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, features soaring mountains, bright-blue glaciers and golden pampas grasslands that seem endless. With such varied ecology, the views are endless, as well. The various environments shelter rare wildlife species, some found only here, such as the llama-like guanacos. Three prominent, towing spires of granite — called Cuernos del Paine — give the park its name. The epic terrain draws climbers, sea kayakers, mountain bikers and other outdoors adventure types.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

Credit: Alice Nerr/Shutterstock

Plunging over the cliff edge of Auyán-tepui mountain in Canaima National Park and dropping more than 3,200 feet, Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State, Venezuela. Some 60 percent of the park is made up of table mountain formations, whose flat tops are a unique geological formation that lends itself to the sheer cliffs and attendant waterfalls that make for such jaw-dropping natural grandeur. Rising from surrounding grassy savannas below, the tops of the towering table mountains are frequently shrouded in misty fog, making for ethereal, otherworldly views.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Credit:Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

With its verdant green terraces set amidst stark stone walls and surrounding sheer peaks of the Andes Mountains, the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu makes for magical views. Its precarious perch in its mountain fortress makes the site seem surreal, almost defying gravity. The ancient builders not only managed to balance altars and living accommodations on a cliff edge, but did it so well that the structure is still standing much as it was when it was built in the 15th century. American explorer Hiram Bingham was led to the site in 1911, and it has been a bucket-list site for travelers ever since. Due to such heavy use, it has become a prime example of working eco-tourism. Even with so much archaeological attention paid to the discovery over the years, Machu Picchu’s exact original use still isn’t known.

3 Most Prestigious Coffee Regions in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Most Prestigious Coffee Regions in the World

There are plenty of travels that are musts for any foodie: fried chicken in the American South, a pint of Guinness in Ireland, cheese and chocolate in Switzerland, sashimi in Japan and so much more. But there seems to be one beverage in particular that sends a sizable segment of travelers on worldwide pilgrimages – coffee. The drink comes from the seeds of berries from certain Coffea plant species. Certain parts of the world are known for the quality of their coffee. Here are three of the most prestigious coffee regions in the world.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Credit: Martchan/Shutterstock

The African nation of Ethiopia is believed to be coffee’s birthplace, so it’s no wonder that the native plant grows like wildfire across the country. Ethiopia produces nearly 4 million bags of coffee annually (the United States is its fourth largest coffee buyer). Ethiopian coffee is known for tasting syrupy due to traditional dry processing methods that leave the bean’s skin intact. The three main regions where coffee beans originate are Harrar, Ghimbi and Sidamo. Harrar coffee is grown in the eastern part of the country, and “can have a strong dry edge, winy to fruitlike acidity, rich aroma and a heavy body.” Ghimbi coffee beans, meanwhile, are grown in the western parts of the country and are more balanced than Harrar coffees. Also known as Yirgacheffe coffee, Sidamo coffee is more mild, fruitlike and aromatic.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Credit: Erkki & Hanna/Shutterstock

Costa Rica, particularly its Terrazu region, is also quite well-known for its coffee. Terrazu produces 35 percent of the nation’s coffee, grown in the Quepos Mountains. The high altitude is said to create several nuanced profiles of flavor. Harvest seasons last anywhere from August to March, depending on the location — high in the mountains or down in the valleys. Costa Rica has an agricultural-based economy, and coffee accounts for quite a bit of export revenue — somewhere around 12 percent.

Colombia

Colombia

Credit: Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

No coffee list would be complete without Colombia. Its production can be found throughout small pueblo-dotted towns and its consumption throughout the country. Some of the most prominent growing areas include: Salento, Manizales, Pereira, Rio Sucio, Marsella and Santa Rosa de Cabal. The country’s average annual coffee production of 11.5 million bags is the third highest total in the world, behind Brazil and Vietnam. Colombia is known for producing mild, well-balanced coffee beans, making it popular even among non-coffee drinkers. Its biggest importers are the U.S., Germany, France, Japan and Italy.

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The world’s 6 rainiest cities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

The world’s rainiest cities

Do you love the rain? Read on! You’re about to learn some great destinations that’ll give you all the rain you can handle. Do you hate the rain? You should read on too! You’ll get a good sampling of locations to absolutely avoid the next time you plan a trip. Love it or hate it, keep reading to hearing about the world’s wettest, rainiest, and soggiest cities. (Rainfall data courtesy of World Atlas.)

6. Debundscha, Cameroon

Credit: antoineede / iStock

Average annual rainfall: 10,299 mm (405 inches)

First on our list (though sixth in overall ranking), we have the African village of Debundscha. This region is among the wettest places in the world for two reasons: its position near the equator (providing a long rainy season) and its proximity to Mount Cameroon. This massive mountain tends to block rain clouds from drifting away, forcing them to dump copious amounts of rain on Debundscha every year.

5. San Antonio de Ureca, Bioko Islands, Equatorial Guinea

Credit: Jan Ziegler / iStock

Average annual rainfall: 10,450 mm (411 inches)

Like Debundscha, the African village of San Antonio de Ureca features a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons, which contributes significantly to its overall rainfall. The small region receives a staggering 411 inches of rainfall each year, making it the wettest place on the entire African continent.

4. Cropp River, New Zealand

Credit: Lukas Bischoff / istock

Average annual rainfall: 11,516 mm (453 inches)

Heading across the globe, we have New Zealand’s Cropp River. Running over 6 miles before connecting with the larger Whitcomb River, the Cropp region receives copious rainfall each year, with its record-breaking downpours once reaching over 41 inches in a 48-hour period. Of course, few residents live in the mountainous Cropp River region, so locals aren’t fazed by these drastic downpours. And fortunately, this surplus of water plays a big role in New Zealand’s economy, so you aren’t likely to hear anyone here complain about the rain.

3. Tutunendo, Colombia

Credit: Ernesto Terenes / iStock

Average annual rainfall: 11,770 mm (463 inches)

Earning the title as wettest region in South America, residents of Tutunendo, Columbia, are no stranger to the damp. Over 463 inches of rainfall drench the region each year, even during the not-so-dry “dry” season, when rain falls nearly 20 days per month. Like many others on this list, Tutunendo’s proximity to the equator and tropical climate are the culprits behind its record-holding precipitation rate. Combined with its consistently high temperatures and high humidity, Tutunendo’s tropical rainforest climate isn’t for the faint of heart.

2. Cherrapunji, India

Credit: Danielrao / iStock

Average annual rainfall: 11,777 mm (464 inches)

Let’s head east to the Indian subcontinent to visit the runner-up for rainiest city in the world: Cherrapunji. Located in the eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, Cherrapunji receives an average annual rainfall of 464 inches, outstripping nearly every other city on Earth. Its heavy rainfall is a result of its location; situated in a highland climate with monsoonal seasons and nestled close to the elevated Khasi Hills, the combination of subtropical climate and geography creates the perfect storm for precipitation. Unfortunately, and ironically, locals have a tough time finding water in Cherrapunji. The encroaching pressures of deforestation and soil erosion have created serious dryness problems in the area, despite its regular rainfall.

1. Mawsynram, India

Credit: powerofforever / iStock

Average annual rainfall: 11,871 mm (467 inches)

At the very top of our list, we have Mawsynram—an Indian village located just miles from Cherrapunji. Mawsynram sees a record-setting 467 inches of rainfall per year and is regularly reported to be the wettest city in the world. The geography of Mawsynram is quite similar to Cherrapunji, with many of the same subtropical conditions and regular monsoons contributing to its near-constant rainfall. In fact, there’s some debate about which one of these Indian cities is the real wettest city, as annual rainfall scores between the two tend to fluctuate. But whichever town takes the crown, it’s clear that this region of India experiences some of the heaviest rainfall you’ll see anywhere on earth.

New Contenders for Wettest City?

Due to how much variance there can be in annual rainfall totals, the globally-recognized “wettest city” tends to change over time. The above Indian cities have consistently received the most rainfall over the years, but other regions, such as Mount Waialeale in Hawaii, have received even more in years past—as much as 683 inches back in 1982!

Thus, it’s hard to say with certainty which region is truly the rainiest. But despite these fluctuations, it’s clear that the insane rainfall experienced by these cities is hard for any region to match.

4 Most Beautiful Views in South America

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

More from

4 Most Beautiful Views in South America

There is absolutely no shortage of picturesque vistas among the vast and varied landscapes that make up South America, nearly 7,000 square miles of them. Many of the most stunning views happen to be in places of wide-ranging biodiversity and high cultural importance, and they are thriving as destinations through eco-tourism and preservation practices. From epic mountain landscapes in Patagonia to paradise-found beach scenes in Columbia and nature’s tallest cascade in Venezuela, South America holds a rich trove of travel-worthy sights to behold.

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Credit: javarman/Shutterstock

Sitting beneath the shade of a palm tree, enjoy endless views of magical blue lagoons and protected coves ringed by bight white beaches, themselves surrounded by hills carpeted in lush, deep-green tropical rainforest. Bring together those ocean and forest biomes, and you have a recipe for boundless biodiversity. Both the breathtaking scenery and the flora and fauna are on view at Tayrona National Park, in northern Colombia. The large preserve area spreads throughout the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range that comes down to recede into the Caribbean coastline. The plant and animal protections within the park provide the perfect ecotourism opportunity, all while allowing trekkers to take in some pretty paradisiacal views. A great overall resource is Columbiatravel.en.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Credit: kavram/Shutterstock

Known by adventurers and thrill seekers as a pristine Patagonia outdoor playground, Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, features soaring mountains, bright-blue glaciers, and golden pampas grasslands that seem endless. With such varied ecology, the views are endless as well. The various environments shelter rare wildlife species, some found only here, such as the llama-like guanacos. Three prominent, towing spires of granite — called Cuernos del Paine — give the park its name. The epic terrain draws climbers, sea kayakers, mountain bikers, and other outdoors adventure types.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

Credit: Alice Nerr/Shutterstock

Plunging over the cliff edge of Auyán-tepui mountain in Canaima National Park and dropping more than 3,200 feet, Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State, Venezuela. Some 60 percent of the park is made up of table mountain formations, whose flat tops are a unique geological formation that lends itself to the sheer cliffs and attendant waterfalls that make for such jaw-dropping natural grandeur. Rising from surrounding grassy savannas below, the tops of the towering table mountains are frequently shrouded in misty fog, making for ethereal, otherworldly views.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Credit: Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

With its verdant green terraces set amidst stark stone walls and surrounding sheer peaks of the Andes Mountains, the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu makes for magical views. Its precarious perch in its mountain fortress makes the site seem surreal, almost defying gravity. The ancient builders not only managed to balance altars and living accommodations on a cliff edge, but did it so well that the structure is still standing much as it was when it was built in the 15th century. American explorer Hiram Bingham was led to the site in 1911, and it has been a bucket-list site for travelers ever since. Due to such heavy use, it has become a prime example of working eco-tourism. Even with so much archaeological attention paid to the discovery over the years, Machu Picchu’s exact original use still isn’t known.

As Colombia’s peace process falters, scores of social activists are being killed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

(IT DOES SOUND LIKE COLUMBIA’S NEW PRESIDENT IS ONLY FUEL ON THE FIRE)

As Colombia’s peace process falters, scores of social activists are being killed

Screenshot of the video “No están solos” (You’re not alone) with images of the protests in Colombia in defense of social activists. Video and images shared by Contagio Radio, a Colombian local independent radio station devoted to human rights.

Colombia, one of the most dangerous nations for human rights activists, has attempted to halt its 50-year armed conflict through a complex peace process that began in 2012. As this peace process falters, social activists including local community leaders, land defenders, gender and sexuality rights protectors, teachers and journalists are being targeted and killed at an alarming rate, and the numbers continue to rise.

Recently-elected president Ivan Duque’s government is slow to respond to these killings and sometimes denies the systematic nature of the violence, making it difficult to track and monitor these cases.

In a special report by the newspaper El Tiempo, a map of the killings reveals vulnerable areas where the armed conflict has been most active. The non-governmental organization Indepaz (“Institute of Peace and Development”) calculates that in 2018 alone, around 124 social activists have been killed, and approximately 300 social activists have been killed since the peace agreements began in 2012.

No land, no peace

Colombia’s deeply-rooted land rights conflict stems from the country’s extremely unequal land distribution. The evolving and ongoing violence is the direct result of complications from poorly implemented peace agreements that were partly designed to protect land rights.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the main rebel group, has agreed to demobilize and surrender arms, but this has left a power vacuum in which some members who abandoned FARC still remain active in the conflict. Perhaps some are motivated by economic interests while others refuse to accept the uncertainties of civilian life. In fact, a number of ex-FARC members have been targeted and killed as they try to reintegrate into society. Other illegal armed groups, notably the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), are attempting to gain territorial control in the regions that were FARC strongholds.

Some civil society groups are certain that corporate entities may be behind the attacksnot just illegal armed groups. President Duque’s plans to further develop an extractive economy leaves social activists fearing for their safety as larger international corporations take a vested interest in contested lands.

In December 2017, leaders from Bajo Atrato, a northern Colombian region hardest hit by the violence, visited Congress with their faces covered with white masks after two of their leaders were killed while defending their land from palm oil and banana farming investors:

We’re the families of the leaders who have been killed in the region. We’ve all been threatened with death as a strategy put together by corporations that have already been charged by different legal institutions and business people who have already been denounced. How much longer [will this go on] and how many more [will die]?

“It’s all happening before our eyes…”

La Pulla, an opinion-focused Youtube channel, produced  “I’ve just heard about it” (Me acabo de enterar) to explain the context of these killings using some characteristically dark humor. They describe the murdered social activists as people who “demanded a few basic little things: land to farm, schools, medical centers, potable water, roads…Oh! And peace…”

The presenter continues:

These people are the thorn in the flesh for the armed groups’ interests: the control of the land, illegal mining and drug trafficking routes. These have a lot of consequences; when they kill a social activist they’re killing the possibilities of change in that community, because the projects that this person was in charge of are abandoned and people are scared to continue. Often times people leave town, in fear of having the same fate, or because they’ve been threatened already. The message is well understood. That way, any opposition is eliminated and everything remains untouched. The ones who are screwed, are even more screwed, and the warlords remain the owners of everything. All of this is happening before our eyes, while the government comes up with just band-aid solutions and even dare to suggest that some of the victims are criminals.

Father Alberto Franco, from the Inter-Church Commission of Peace and Justice (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz), also worries about these new uncertainties, saying that President Duque:

represents a group that has historically opposed peace processes, land restitution and the modernization of Colombian democracy.

In July 2018, thousands of Colombian citizens took to the streets to show solidarity with social activists and human rights defenders, recognizing the need to protest loudly against extrajudicial killings.

Most of their activities, petitionsdocumentaries, and news can be followed through #NosEstánMatando (#They’reKillingUs) and #NoEstánSolos(“You’reNotAlone), trending hashtags devoted to denouncing the killings and telling the stories of victims to keep their memory and hard work alive.

Panama: The Truth, Knowledge And The History Of The Nation/People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Panama

Introduction Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela – named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. In October 2006, Panamanians approved an ambitious plan to expand the Canal. The project, which began in 2007 and could double the Canal’s capacity, is expected to be completed in 2014-15.
History Christopher Columbus arrives in Panama on his fourth travel, which started in Nicaragua and ended in Panama. It is in this trip he discovers the Chagres river, which in the XX Century it would be the main resource to build the Panama Canal. He arrived to the Caribbean coast where he baptized the area with the name of Portobelo (in English, Beautiful Port). Columbus then explored Veraguas and founded Santa Maria de Belen, which would be the first Spanish settlement on the continent, leaving Bartolome, his brother, in charge.

Eventually, this settlement was destroyed by the local native population and the few surviving members returned to Spain.

Founding of Panama La Vieja

It wasn´t until 1519 when the Spanish decided to settle the new city. This time they chose a site in the Pacific ocean, which was discovered six years before by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. The new city, today known as Panama La Vieja, was founded in August 15th, 1519 by orders of governor Pedrarias Davila and became an important port during the Spanish gold trade from Peru to the Caribbean islands and finally to Europe. The merchandise from all over South America would come into Panama and travel to Portobelo using the Camino de Cruces (old stone road) crossing the jungle and navigating the Chagres river. From Portobelo it would distribute to the islands and then to Spain.

Because of its importance and its location the city was an easy target for pirates. However, protection from pirates was only one of its many problems, as it was settled in a site composed mainly by mangrove land, diseases and fires weakened their position, until it was finally destroyed by pirate Henry Morgan in 1671.

Founding of Casco Antiguo

In 1673 a new city of Panama was founded. This time, a rocky peninsula was chosen, still on the Pacific side. A healthier site with crossed winds and easier to defend from both land and ocean attacks. Called interchangeably Casco Viejo, San Felipe, Catedral or Casco Antiguo, it is from here where Panama would declare independece from Spain and later join and separate from Colombia. It will see the boom and bust of the Gold Rush, the French attempt to build a Canal and later its completion by the United States.

Independence

After about 320 years under the rule of the Spanish Empire, on 10 November 1821, independence from Spain was declared in the small town of La Villa, today known as La Heroica. On 28 November, presided by Colonel Jose de Fabrega, a National Assembly was convened and it officially declared the independence of the isthmus of Panama from Spain and its decision to join New Granada, Ecuador and Venezuela in Bolivar’s recently founded Republic of Colombia.

In 1830, Venezuela, Ecuador and other territories left the Gran Colombia, but Panama remained as a province of this country, until July 1831 when the isthmus reiterated its independence, now under General Juan Eligio Alzuru as supreme military commander. In August, military forces under the command of Colonel Tomás Herrera defeated and executed Alzuru and reestablished ties with New Granada.

Ten years later, on November 1840, during a civil war that had begun as a religious conflict, the isthmus declared its independence under the leadership of the now General Tomás Herrera and became the ‘Estado Libre del Istmo’, or the Free State of the Isthmus. The new state established external political and economic ties and drew up a constitution which included the possibility for Panama to rejoin New Granada, but only as a federal district. On June 1841 Tomás Herrera became the President of the Estado Libre del Istmo. But the civil conflict ended and the government of New Granada and the government of the Isthmus negotiated the reincorporation of Panamá to Colombia on December 31, 1841.

In the end, the union between Panama and the Republic of Colombia was made possible by the active participation of the US under the 1846 Bidlack Mallarino Treaty, which lasted until 1903. The treaty granted the US rights to build railroads through Panama and to intervene militarily against revolt to guarantee New Granadine control of Panama. There were at least three attempts by Panamanian Liberals to seize control of Panama and potentially achieve full autonomy, including one led by Liberal guerrillas like Belisario Porras and Victoriano Lorenzo, each of which was suppressed by a collaboration of Conservative Colombian and US forces under the Bidlack Mallarino Treaty.

In 1902 US President Theodore Roosevelt decided to take on the abandoned works of the Panama Canal by the French but the Colombian government in Bogotá balked at the prospect of a US controlled canal under the terms that Roosevelt’s administration was offering. Roosevelt was unwilling to alter its terms and quickly changed tactics, encouraging a minority of Conservative Panamanian landholding families to demand independence, offering military support. On November 3, 1903 Panama finally separated and Dr. Manuel Amador Guerrero, a prominent member of the Conservative political party, became the first constitutional President of the Republic of Panama.

In November 1903, Phillipe Bunau-Varilla—a French citizen who was not authorized to sign any treaties on behalf of Panama without the review of the Panamanians—unilaterally signed the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty which granted rights to the US to build and administer indefinitely the Panama Canal, which was opened in 1914. This treaty became a contentious diplomatic issue between the two countries, reaching a boiling point on Martyr’s Day (9 January 1964). The issues were resolved with the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties in 1977 returning the former Canal Zone territories to Panama.

Military dictators

The second intent of the founding fathers was to bring peace and harmony between the two major political parties (Conservatives and Liberals). The Panamanian government went through periods of political instability and corruption, however, and at various times in its history, the mandate of an elected president terminated prematurely. In 1968, a coup toppled the government of the recently elected President Arnulfo Arias Madrid.

While never holding the position of President himself, General Omar Torrijos eventually became the de facto leader of Panama. As a military dictator, he was the leading power in the governing military junta and later became an autocratic strong man. Torrijos maintained his position of power until his death in an airplane accident in 1981.

After Torrijos’s death, several military strong men followed him as Panama’s leader. Commander Florencio Flores Aguilar followed Torrijos. Colonel Rubén Darío Paredes followed Aguilar. Eventually, by 1983, power was concentrated in the hands of General Manuel Antonio Noriega.

Manuel Noriega came up through the ranks after serving in the Chiriquí province and in the city of Puerto Armuelles for a time. He was a former head of Panama’s secret police and was an ex-informant of the CIA. But Noriega’s implication in drug trafficking by the United States resulted in difficult relations by the end of the 1980s.

United States invasion of Panama

On 20 December 1989, 27,000 U.S. personnel invaded Panama in order to remove Manuel Noriega.[2] A few hours before the invasion, in a ceremony that took place inside a U.S. military base in the former Panama Canal Zone, Guillermo Endara was sworn in as the new President of Panama. The invasion occurred ten years before the Panama Canal administration was to be turned over to Panamanian authorities, according to the timetable set up by the Torrijos-Carter Treaties. During the fighting, between two hundred [3] [4] and four thousand Panamanians,[5][6] mostly civilians, were killed.

Noriega surrendered to the American military shortly after, and was taken to Florida to be formally extradited and charged by U.S. federal authorities on drug and racketeering charges. He became eligible for parole on September 9, 2007, but remained in custody while his lawyers fought an extradition request from France. Critics have pointed out that many of Noriega’s former allies remain in power in Panama.

Post-invasion

Under the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, the United States turned over all canal-related lands to Panama on 31 December 1999. Panama also gained control of canal-related buildings and infrastructure as well as full administration of the canal.

The people of Panama have already approved the widening of the canal which, after completion, will allow for post-Panamax vessels to travel through it, increasing the number of ships that currently use the canal.

Geography Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica
Geographic coordinates: 9 00 N, 80 00 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 78,200 sq km
land: 75,990 sq km
water: 2,210 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries: total: 555 km
border countries: Colombia 225 km, Costa Rica 330 km
Coastline: 2,490 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or edge of continental margin
Climate: tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)
Terrain: interior mostly steep, rugged mountains and dissected, upland plains; coastal areas largely plains and rolling hills
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Baru 3,475 m
Natural resources: copper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 7.26%
permanent crops: 1.95%
other: 90.79% (2005)
Irrigated land: 430 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 148 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.82 cu km/yr (67%/5%/28%)
per capita: 254 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: occasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area
Environment – current issues: water pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation and soil erosion threatens siltation of Panama Canal; air pollution in urban areas; mining threatens natural resources
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: strategic location on eastern end of isthmus forming land bridge connecting North and South America; controls Panama Canal that links North Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea with North Pacific Ocean
Politics Politics of Panama takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The branches are according to Panama’s Political Constitution of 1972, reformed by the Actos Reformatorios of 1978, and by the Acto Constitucional in 1983, united in cooperation and limited through the classic system of checks and balances. Three independent organizations with clearly defined responsibilities are found in the Political Constitution. Thus, the Comptroller General of the Republic has the responsibility to manage public funds. There also exists the Electoral Tribunal, which has the responsibility to guarantee liberty, transparency, and the efficacy of the popular vote; and, finally, the Ministry of the Public exists to oversee interests of State and of the municipalities.
People Population: 3,309,679 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.6% (male 499,254/female 479,242)
15-64 years: 63.8% (male 1,066,915/female 1,043,499)
65 years and over: 6.7% (male 102,937/female 117,832) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 26.7 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 27.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.544% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 20.68 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.71 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.35 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.88 years
male: 74.08 years
female: 79.81 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.57 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 16,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Panamanian(s)
adjective: Panamanian
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%
Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
Languages: Spanish (official), English 14%; note – many Panamanians bilingual
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 92.5%
female: 91.2% (2000 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 3.8% of GDP (2004)

ECUADOR’S JUSTICE ORDERS FORMER PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA ARRESTED

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

IVAN DUQUE WINS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN COLOMBIA

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247)

 

(Humor/Poem) Roll Me One

Roll Me One

 

I was about seventeen the first time I tried this God-given herb

A friend rolled me one in the parking lot of the senior high

It didn’t do anything the first three or four times I did try

Turns out the tobacco was homegrown, a waste of my time

 

Columbia, I remember the first time I ever heard of the name

Was because of the red and the gold haired tobacco they grew

Makes a person wish they could go and live down there too

 

Wacky tabacky now I understand why good people have to shield

Left handed cigarettes, disguised with silly names that we give it

A pure Herb God has given for all of man to be able to enjoy

Pharmaceuticals and Alcohol lobbyist pay politicians to damn it

 

It is so evil that people are forbidden to be able to enjoy God’s gifts

Folks should be able to Roll one up and remove their daily stresses

Big Brother takes the rights of the peace-loving people away

People want freedom, Big Brother’s chooses to act like a snake

Politicians make laws so crooked the people can not freely partake

 

Roll one for me my brother but do not assume your God-given freedom

The snake is self-elected and manipulating full of venom and pure evil

Roll one in secret but be careful for there are electronic narcs all around

The Demons in D.C. and the State Houses are professional liars and thieves

A couple planted grams, they now own all you worked a lifetime to achieve