Saturday, February 13, 2010

La Prensa-El Diario Libre de Panama

The major newspaper of Panama is La Prensa  whose motto is: El Diario Libre which does not mean it is free, but that it is FREE as in not subsidized or censored by the government.  I love a truly free press and I love reading newspapers, have done it daily for nearly 50 years.  Sitting here by the pool in sunny Panama I wanted to enjoy the day and practice my Spanish.  Here are the lead stories on February 13, 2010:
"Intensa nevada atrae a turistas en Roma" (it snowed in Rome last night for the first major snow storm since 1986) the photos show tourists sliding around the Coloseum. " Arrestan al gobernador de Brasilia" (They arrest the governor of Brasilia, the national capital of Brazil...on corruption charges of course)
"Bill Clinton se recupera ya en su casa tras la intervencion" (Bill is recovering from his heart stent intervention) " Argentina obstaculiza proyecto en Las Malvinas" (Argentina is trying to prevent the British from developing the undersea oil and gas near the Falkland Islands...the war they fought with the British over the Malvinas was also in the 1980's and yet the conflict continues.) 
  The second page tells of a Venezuelan journalist who disappeared on January 8 was found dead in a cemetary 425 kilometers southwest of Caracas and in a separate story Hugo Chavez is suspending the law and acting more like a dictator.  Yesterday he ordered the cable TV channel who criticized him to shut down. No connection to the dead reporter, of course.  The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, a friend of Chavez, had a successful surgery done in Cuba. (One of the dangers of being a populist president who is anti American is that you have to have your surgery done in Cuba rather than Houston or NYC.) While he was away protesters filled the streets in Guayaquil claiming he is a "dictadura"   And Cristina de Kirchner of Argentina is reported to have won her battle to fire the President of the Central Bank and appointed a new banker who will do what she wants.  So much for an independant central bank.
  By the time we get to the third page we read " Pakistan e India hablaran de paz" (thank goodness for some good news) and  " La TV, nuevo campo de batalla de la religion" (it looks like in Indonesia the Muslim majority is cracking down on Christian TV broadcasts and will force them off the air.  Is there a pattern here?
  The most significant article, buried on page three, "Se enfrian relaciones de EU y China" tells of the fact that China now holds $700 Billion in US Treasury Bonds and China is angry that Obama is going to meet with the Dalai Lama this week. I wonder what China will do with all those bonds? China hates free speech, especially Google and Facebook and our government has always stood up for free speech, right?  And do you recall how Justice Alito shook his  and said "NO" at Obama during the State of the Union when our President was criticizing the Supreme Court for their decision on campaign finance?  The court held 5-4 that "Free Speech" actually includes political speech. And our President cannot handle the truth.  Stunning. Or is this too much legalspeak.  The themes are the same in every language .Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  War and religion.  Dictators and censorship.  Corruption in high places.  Wars over undersea oil reserves. Global warming and snow in Rome. Financial threats and bullying.  And, to end it all "Entre llanto y oraciones, Haiti despide sus muertos" yes there is enough for all of us to cry over and to pray for.  Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.  And thats all the news that is fit to print in Lake Woebegone.  Good night dear readers, the sun is setting over Panama and tomorrow the sun will rise again. The newspaper here is still free to print the truth. 

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