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)

OAS: A HISTORY OF CRIMES AGAINST LATIN AMERICA

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

US ambassador resigns, saying he can no longer work with Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

US ambassador resigns, saying he can no longer work with Trump

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Feeley was a career diplomat who was sworn in as ambassador in January 2016
  • Deputy Chief of Mission Roxanne Cabral will step in until a new ambassador is nominated

Washington (CNN)The US ambassador to Panama has resigned over differences with the Trump administration.

A State Department spokesperson told CNN that Ambassador John Feeley “has informed the White House, the Department of State and the Government of Panama of his decision to retire for personal reasons, as of March 9 of this year.”
According to an excerpt of his resignation letter that was read to CNN, Feeley’s decision was clearly prompted by differences with the Trump administration but was made well before Thursday’s reporting about President Donald Trump’s “shithole” comments.
“As a junior foreign service officer, I signed an oath to serve faithfully the President and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies. My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come,” Feeley wrote.
The letter goes on to say that he leaves the embassy “in good hands” and the US relationship with Panama is “strong.”
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Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steven Goldstein told CNN that Feeley had submitted his resignation letter to the White House in late December.
“Everyone has a line that they don’t want to cross and we respect that,” Goldstein said. “We are sorry to see him go.”
Feeley was a career diplomat who was sworn in as ambassador in January 2016.
The spokesperson said Deputy Chief of Mission Roxanne Cabral will step in until a new ambassador is confirmed.
Panama will join the dozens of countries that do not currently have Senate-confirmed US ambassadors in place, including key US allies like South Korea, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
While senior acting officials hold the reins in these important jobs, they are not permanent appointees and are limited in how long they can hold the roles.
Federal law allows these temporary officeholders to stay in the open jobs for, at most, 300 days. But 320 days have elapsed since the start of the Trump administration and acting officials in the State Department are starting to hit that limit, making presidential nominations more important than ever.

Taiwan reacts defiantly as Panama switches diplomatic ties to China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

Taiwan reacts defiantly as Panama switches diplomatic ties to China

 (PANAMA’S GOVERNMENT STABS OLD FRIEND IN THE BACK TO GAIN AN EXTRA DOLLAR?)
June 13 at 12:31 PM
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen reacted angrily Tuesday to Panama’s decision to shift diplomatic ties to China, insisting that Taipei will never bow down to threats and intimidation from Beijing and is determined to uphold its sovereignty.Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced on television Monday evening that he was establishing diplomatic ties with China and breaking with Taiwan, saying he was “convinced this is the correct path for our country.” He added that China constituted 20 percent of the world’s population, has the second-biggest economy and is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal.

The move comes as Beijing steps up efforts to isolate Taipei internationally since last year’s election of Tsai.

“The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that only one China exists in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all China, and Taiwan forms an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” a joint statement from China and Panama read.

Panama is the second country to break with Taiwan since Tsai’s election last year, following the small African islands of Sao Tome and Principe.

For the first time in eight years, Taiwan was not invited to the annual assembly of the World Health Organization last month. It was also excluded from a global forum of the International Civil Aviation Organization last year. Both moves reportedly came at the insistence of Beijing, which has made clear its displeasure with Tsai’s reluctance to explicitly endorse the idea that there is only one China, encompassing the mainland and the island of Taiwan.

China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and insists that any country that establishes diplomatic relations with Beijing must cut them with Taipei. It says its relationship with Taipei is founded on the “1992 consensus” between the two sides that effectively rules out the idea of Taiwan ever gaining independence.

But that was a deal reached by a government run by the Kuomintang party in Taiwan, not Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party, and while Tsai has indicated she respects the agreement and says she wants dialogue and friendly ties with Beijing, she has been reluctant to spell out an explicit endorsement.

In the past, China and Taiwan had competed to win diplomatic allies, wooing poorer countries with promises of aid and investment. But they established an unofficial truce under the Kuomintang government, with neither trying aggressively to upset the status quo, experts say.

Panama’s move decreases to 20 the number of countries formally recognizing Taiwan, most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A former ambassador to China for Mexico, Jorge Guajardo, tweeted that he expected the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to follow suit soon. “Big question is, will Vatican ditch Taiwan for Beijing?” he added.

Tsai addressed the Taiwanese people on Tuesday afternoon, vowing that Taipei will not engage in a “diplomatic bidding war,” nor succumb to Beijing’s threats.

“We are a sovereign country. This sovereignty cannot be challenged or traded,” she said, insisting that her people want peace but that Beijing is pushing relations toward confrontation.

“Coercion and threats will not bring the two sides together. Instead they will drive our two peoples apart,” she said. “On behalf of the 23 million people of Taiwan, I declare that we will never surrender to such intimidation.”

Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Taiwan’s international isolation is not in the interest of the United States or the rest of the world.

“Taiwan has a great deal to offer the international community, ranging from top-quality medical services to strong IT talent and active international NGOs that provide disaster relief to countries in need,” she said, adding that the United States and other countries should find “creative ways” to engage with Taiwan.

Nor are China’s pressure tactics doing anything to help it win hearts and minds in Taiwan, experts say.

“So far the tactic has only succeeded in alienating the Taiwanese public and reinforced notions of separateness,” said J. Michael Cole, a senior fellow at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute and chief editor of the Taiwan Sentinel website.

“As long as such efforts do not substantially undermine Taiwan’s ability to function as a sovereign state — and no theft of a smallish diplomatic ally will ever achieve this — then I don’t see how or why the Taiwanese would give in to such pressure by deciding to accommodate Beijing,” he said.

A poll released by the Taiwanese government over the weekend showed nearly three-quarters of respondents rejected Beijing’s insistence on the one-China principle as a precondition to political ties. More than 80 percent said China’s efforts to limit Taiwan’s international space hurt their interests, and a similar proportion said China should recognize the existence of the “Republic of China,” as Taiwan officially calls itself.

Cole said Taiwan needs to focus more on developing healthy relations with unofficial allies that are democracies and important economies and not worry about maintaining official ties with small states that want infrastructure investment Taiwan cannot afford.

China commends Panama for establishing ties with China: Dropping All Ties With Taiwan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

China commends Panama for establishing ties with China: Chinese state TV

China commended Panama for its decision to establish formal relations with Beijing, Chinese state television said on Tuesday.

Panama’s government said earlier that it pledged to end all relations or official contact with Taiwan, making it the latest country to break with the self-ruled island that Beijing says is a breakaway province.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Michael Perry)

Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega Dead At 83

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian dictator and convicted drug trafficker who was once one of Central America’s most notorious military strong men, has died, according to a tweet by Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela on his verified Twitter account.

Noriega, 83, had undergone surgery in a Panama City hospital on March 7 to remove a benign brain tumor. He was placed in a medically induced coma after suffering severe brain hemorrhaging during the surgery, his attorney told CNN affiliate TV Panama at the time.
Noriega, once on friendly terms with the United States because of his country’s location on the Panama Canal, became a US target as relations deteriorated. The United States invaded Panama in 1989 and Noriega was convicted of drug charges in 1991. He spent almost 20 years in US prisons before extradition to France and, ultimately, back to Panama.

Military man

Noriega was born on February 11, 1934, in Panama City, Panama. Abandoned by his parents at age 5, Noriega was raised by his aunt until he left to pursue a career in the military.
He began his career as a lieutenant in the Panama National Guard and quickly rose in rank. Noriega served as head of military intelligence to Gen. Omar Torrijos, who seized power in a military coup in 1968. Torrijos died in a plane crash in 1981, and Noriega emerged as his successor. In 1983 Noriega took command of the Panamanian Army and installed himself as Panama’s leader.
The country’s location was critical to the United States because of its location on the Panama Canal, a key strategic and economic waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Due to this regional importance, the US had a vested interest in maintaining good relations with the Central American nation.
Despite the incentives to maintain these relations, the 1980s saw a breakdown between the two countries, with Washington cutting off economic and military assistance and freezing Panamanian government assets.

Noriega was the first foreign head of state to be convicted in a US court.

‘Trial of the century’

In 1989, Noriega was indicted in the United States on charges of racketeering, laundering drug money and drug trafficking. He was accused of having links to Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s notorious Medellin cartel and, in the process, amassing a multimillion-dollar fortune.
Amid growing unrest in Panama, US President George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion of Panama — code named “Operation Just Cause” — in December 1989, saying Noriega’s rule posed a threat to US lives and property.
With more than 20,000 US troops on Panamanian soil, Noriega took refuge in the Vatican embassy in Panama City for 10 days, eventually surrendering to US Drug Enforcement Administration officials on January 3, 1990 after US troops had surrounded the compound with loudspeakers playing deafening rock music.
Noriega’s trial in 1991 was dubbed the drugs “trial of the century” by the US Drug Enforcement Administration and eventually saw him found guilty on eight counts and sentenced to 40 years in jail.

Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1990.

Health crises

Noriega was the first foreign head of state to be convicted in a US court, and the trial also led to revelations that Noriega had been a paid CIA asset for many years.
“It’s wrong what people say — that you can buy him,” said Ambler Moss, the former US ambassador to Panama. “You can’t buy him, but you can sure as hell rent him.”
Noriega had since said his relationship with the United States soured when he refused to participate in anti-communist efforts spearheaded by the CIA in Central America during the 1980s The CIA has not commented on Noriega’s claims.
“You are a good person so long as you say yes. However, once you say no, then you become an evil guy,” Noriega recollected in a 1992 interview with CNN.
Noriega was granted prisoner of war status after his trial, and his sentence was later reduced to 30 years.

Noriega dealt with several health crises, including a possible stroke in 2012.

He was due for release on parole in 2007, but he was held pending a decision on a French extradition request — a Paris court had convicted Noriega in abstention in 1999 on charges that he had laundered $2.8 million in drug money by buying property in France.
As part of an extradition deal in April 2010 and signed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, France agreed to hold a new trial and to uphold Noriega’s prisoner of war status.
After his extradition to Panama from France in 2011, Noriega dealt with several health crises, including a possible stroke in 2012.

Noriega apologizes

While serving his sentence in Panama he sued Activision Blizzard, makers of the popular Call of Duty videogame series, after one edition featured a mission to capture him.
His portrayal “as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state” in the game damaged his reputation, he alleged, and argued that he was entitled to a share of the game’s profits. A California judge dismissed the suit.
In 2015, he apologized to his country for the offenses of his regime and his own actions that led up to the 1989 US invasion, and his ouster.
Noriega is survived by his wife, Felicidad Sieiro and three daughters Sandra, Thays and Lorena.

Does President Putin Have Dreams Of Creating Russia Into The Proverbial 4th Reich

 

Today on the Google News that I use as my computer’s homepage I noticed an article about Russia retreating from the International Criminal Court (ICC) via the direction of President Putin. To be honest with you I was surprised to hear that they actually belonged to it. The reason I was surprised is because the United States does not belong to it and as far as I know, China doesn’t either. In my belief either every Nation on Earth should belong to it or no Nation should. For most of my adult lifetime (born in 1956) it has seemed that only African Nations and some Eastern European Nations have been accused under its jurisdiction. I am not a person that looks forward to a one World Nation situation even though I know it is coming. When the UN or the Hague speak of War Crimes a lot of us older folks think of Germany under Hitler yet they did not charge Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. We have used such Courts to convict and to hang ‘War Criminals’ like Saddam in Iraq and Generals in Serbia and deposed Presidential butchers throughout Africa but never a ‘Western-World’ Leader. So yes, I was surprised to hear that Russia was a consenting member of the ICC.

 

In the media here in the U.S. we have been hearing of ‘possible’ war crimes being committed in Syria by ISIS and other ‘Rebel’ groups as well as by the Government of Syria via their President Mr. Assad. We are also now hearing that ‘War Crimes’ may be being committed by the Russian Military under the leadership of President Putin. I guess this would be a real good reason for Mr. Putin to have Russia withdrawn from the umbrella of the ICC so that he and or his Generals cannot be arrested and brought before that court. Personally if I were him I would have done so a long time ago. Before any of my fellow Americans get all uppity with me on this issue you need to remember that we do not belong to the ICC either. If we did belong to it would former President George W. Bush, former VP Dick Cheney, and former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld  not have all swung from their gallows long ago for their actions in Iraq?

 

Now to the main issue of this article concerning President Putin. It is my own personal belief that the American Media, Hollywood, and our idiotic Politicians created President Putin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union these three groups of idiots constantly belittled Russia in every form and medium. They portrayed the Russian people as backward, lazy and stupid. They trounced on them without mercy as a vanquished enemy instead of a future friend and Ally. These idiots gloated over, stomped on and spit all over the National Pride of the people of Russia without mercy. President Putin when he came to power started to rebuild the integrity of the Russian Country and their people. In my belief he was exactly what the people of Russia needed at that time. The Communists Russian Government fell in 1989 for many good reasons, among them was how horribly they treated their own citizens. If the ‘West’ had only made fun of the flaws of the Communist system and not of the Russian people, Mr. Putin would still be hiding in his closet bowing to his KGB Uniform in private. Mr. Putin should have helped bring in a new level of friendship with the people of the U.S. but how do you make yourself grow closer to someone who is laughing at and mocking your people? The answer is, you don’t.

 

President Putin is a very wise human being and he is a very strong Leader yet it would have been better for the World as a whole if he had only served his first two terms as their President then retired to a villa on the Baltic. 2008, Georgia, a chance for Mr. Putin to regain some National pride for the Russian people. Question for you, how do the Leaders of Countries usually do this? The answer is through their military, a huge Nation goes to war with a little Nation and squashes it. Just my opinion but the former President of Georgia was acting like an idiot by flaunting issue differences in Mr. Putin’s face and he got himself and his country spanked. American politicians have done the same kind of things before like with Cuba in the Spanish-American War, Granada, and Panama. Mr. Putin has restored the pride of the people of Russia yet at the same time it appears he has fallen back into his KGB mindset.

 

President Putin has taken total control of all aspects of Russian Society and when any leader/government does this it always means that the people of their Country lose their freedoms, their lively hoods and sometimes, their lives. President Putin is making some grave mistakes in his dealings with Iran though not so much with his dealings with President Assad in Syria. Even though Mr. Putin’s Mother was a Christian it seems that her knowledge was not passed down to him. Syria under Mr. Assad was much more secular even though it was obvious that he was by no means a Saint, Iran on the other hand is all about the Islamic religion, they are a total different mindset. In Syria Russia has had a major Naval Base for several decades, they were already allies. To not realise that Mr. Putin would step in to help secure his Ally was very short-sighted of Western Leaders. With the selling of 10 billion dollars worth of military equipment to Iran Mr. Putin is giving a ruthless murderer that is up against Russia’s underbelly the weapons that he will sooner or later turn against the Russian people.

 

In my online dictionary I looked up the word ‘Reich’ to make sure of its definition before I used it in this title. The dictionary said that the word ‘Reich’ is from “old High German”. This should not surprise many of us as we have grown up hearing of Hitler and Germany’s 3rd Reich. Hitler considered the First Reich to be the Roman Empire and the Second was under Mr. Bismark during the 1880’s. He did not consider the German Government during World War One to be a ‘Reich’ as he considered it to be weak and not worthy of the title. Then of course Hitler thought his Germany would last a thousand years, he was only wrong by about 990 years. As far as English usage is concerned the dictionary says there was only one ‘Reich’ and it was the Germany of 1871-1945. Here is where I am tying Mr. Putin into the word and the world of “Reich”. The definition of ‘Reich’ is (Empire, Realm, Nation). I believe that President Putin, in his mind, is trying to return to a system of Communism/Czarism. Mr. Putin has made it clear that he is not one who believes in Democracy or Capitalism, but he does believe in Communism and the policies of the old KGB. His actions have proven without a doubt that he has no intention of ever letting go of power in Russia. I am sure he does not want to be known by the German word Führer which means ‘Leader, to lead’ so, maybe, will Mr. Putin decide to someday proclaim himself to be Czar Putin so that he can disperse of the need for future phony elections all together? Remember, ‘Reich’, the Nation/Empire of the ‘New’ Soviet Union under the Realm or Leadership of Czar Putin? I’m just saying, is it possible?

American Jobs, Wal-Mart And China

 

American Jobs – Wal-Mart – China

As you probably know that in the media we’re hearing advertisements more and more about made in America products where companies and people pushing the made in the USA slogan. Yet still do you remember that the uniforms for our Olympic athletes were originally made in China instead of America? Eventually the fuss was made loud enough that new uniforms were made for them, here in America. There are companies here in America starving for orders (work) yet so many American corporations that are global conglomerates who will analyze everything down to the penny, and if they can literally save a few pennies on an order by having it made in China will not use the American workers, they instead buy products that are of no quality at all somewhere else, usually in China or India. By now do we Americans not know the level of trash for quality we get when we buy products made in China? Yet the big box stores (corporations) seem to only carry these garbage products at maximum prices. I know that a lot of people are just like me, we go into a store, like your local Wal-Mart and it seems that if you are going to buy anything there you are going to buy foreign-made products, not made in America products. I am a partly disabled Army vet who a couple of times year goes to the VA hospital in Johnson City TN. Even there it is most common if you are going to buy something like a hat or a shirt in their store and you check the tag to see where it was made the answer is usually China. It is frustrating to pick up a hat for example that says something like US Army veteran and have the tag say made in China. Our government is in my opinion traitors to the American workforce in other areas, even ones that are of the utmost importance of having quality like on American fighter jets. Just a few weeks ago on the news the American Secretary of Defense was defending his decision to order parts for Americas new F-34 fighter jets from China because they could get them cheaper there. These were unimportant parts I guess, they were only for the instrument panels and the landing gear.

Okay, now I am going to get more in focus on the title of this article, American jobs. I spent most of my adult life setting behind the wheel of a semi truck  crossing our country hundred of times. One of the things you notice when you are out there is how small town America is dying. Now I am not going to put all the blame on the huge corporations, we the people have some fault in our country’s demise, that is because if we refused to buy products unless they are made in America the corporations would have to buy from America. Every once in a while you will see billboards telling their population to buy from the local companies first because this is what stimulates their local workforce creating local jobs. This basic truth is the same on a national level, if we want to have jobs in this country, then buy only the products that are made here in the states first. A couple of months ago I wrote an article here on this blog titled (Wal-Mart grew through deceit, fraud, and lies) if you have a little time please check it out. If you are old enough you may remember how Wal-Mart used to always advertise how they only bought made in the USA products, that used to even be on the back door of the trailers for everyone to see out on America’s highways. Problem is, they were lying to all of us for the purpose of getting us to shop there and thus help the American workforce. I know very well that I was not the only driver who hauled loads from the shipping docks that we took to the Wal-Mart distribution centers around the country. It was a very common thing to be backed up to a loading dock to pick up a load going to them and the load would be staged there on the dock ready to go, but there was one hold up, we would end up having to wait for several hours while the dock workers changed all of the labeling from wherever it came from to tags saying made in the USA. Friends, to me that is lying, fraud and deceit, what do you think it should be called if not that?

Many years ago I hauled loads from the upper Midwest that were the guts of factories. These were cases where companies were closing up shop in places like Minnesota and Iowa and were moving their operations to states like Texas. The reasons were simple, cheaper labor cost. This was a way to eliminate the unions by moving to so-called Right To Work states. This term, in these states, in my opinion should be called the Right To Work Your Ass Off For As Little Pay And No Benefits As Possible Under The Law. Then came the NAFTA agreement under Bill Clinton’s watch. What it really did was to create jobs south of our border. Companies quit stopping at the Rio Grande River, they simply crossed it to a land with hardly any environmental laws and to countries with no minimum wage factors or unions. I guess that for a lot of the huge companies that wasn’t enough of  savings when they found out that in China and other countries in Southeast Asia you can get slave labor and child labor for wages like a dollar a day. There is one thing now that I want to bring to your attention, have you noticed that a company can close its factory in America because they say they can’t compete on the global market and they move their operations to a place like China so that their costs are lower. But have you noticed that the price of their products never go down any with their new savings? Companies want you to buy their new no quality products but don’t seem to notice that unemployed people have very small budgets.

The reason I am picking on Wal-Mart here in this article is mainly because they’re the biggest offender of this, what I call treason, toward the American people. Wal-Mart has had three large ships made recently, and I do mean large. The three ships are each larger than an American Aircraft Carrier, they each can carry a payload of thousands of semi trailer size containers. The three ships cost Wal-Mart almost five hundred million dollars. You read that correctly, almost half a billion dollars. This is a savvy move for them though, now they are able to save a lot of money on every trip from China to the west coast of America. Why did I word it that way, here is the simple answer, all three of these ships are too huge to be able to get through either the Suez or the Panama Canals. This makes it plain, they are meant for the purpose of hauling the cheapest possible Chinese products to their American stores. Just think about this issue for a moment please. On just one load on one ship, if those products were made here in the States, how many American jobs were lost on just one load? The Walton kids who own the company are all multi billionaires, yet do you see how little they give a damn about the people in this country that they want to sell this cheaply made no quality junk to?

If we the people want to have jobs then we as a people MUST avoid buying non made in America products. If our country had a real two or three percent unemployment rate my attitude would be different. By no means am I anti Chinese people, their government like our own seems to be extremely corrupt, I against all realistic hope, wish all people and governments were kind, honest, loving and fair, but I know that is just a fantasy, not reality. A person might think that I do not care about the working class people in places like China, but that is not the truth. I care a lot about their people, I wish them no harm. It is their government that needs the most changing I think, they have about 1.2 Billion people in their country. Their government should care about their own population first. There are many millions of people in their country who are living in hand to mouth squalor. If their country would turn inward first and build factories and create jobs and products for their goods it would help bring hundreds of millions of people into a more middle class urban level of living. This in turn brings in more tax revenue from within for their government so that they would not have to focus much on obtaining foreign currency. Once they do this then their own people will demand better quality products to be made. This would then help increase the quality of the products that they export so then people would quit calling their products garbage. I appreciate you taking of your time to read the post, I appreciate you, thank you.

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