Oct 26, 2014

A Panamanian Quinceañera

When a girl turns fifteen years of age in most Latin American countries, her family holds a BIG party to celebrate her becoming a woman.  I've been to such events held by Mexican families and by Costa Rican families, but tonight's party was the first Panamanian celebration I've attended.   Photos will help to illustrate just how big of a deal this is for Latin American families.  The young lady being celebrated tonight is from a socio-economically humble family matrix.  The costs parents incur to hold these events for their daughters will never cease to impress me.  

Birthday Girl's Place of Honor

Father presenting his daughter with the traditional ring.
Mother presenting daughter with traditional high-heeled sandals.
A few of the partygoers

Proud, if not stressed, parents

Sandal-bearer, Ring-bearer, and Flower Girl
Singer / Entertainer

Brother-Sister Waltz

Chief Carrera Isn't Stepping Down

Apparently the actions taken by Edilberto Sanchez and other associated individuals involved with the Ngäbe Buglé general congress were illegal and unsupported by the required majority of the comarca, according to local news sources.  Ms. Carrera insists she will remain in her elected position until 2017.   An indigenous group known as the April 10th Movement has communicated information that the Board of Directors of the General Congress do not have the authority to dismiss the chieftess, and that due process requires an interregional meeting in active session comprised of 280 delegates.  At which point, if a serious offense could be substantiated,  the session could proceed to a decision regarding whether a temporary or permanent separation from duty for Ms. Carrera were indicated.  This action cannot be taken by a small number of men who, motivated by personal and economic interests, carried it out in absence of a consensus and by violating due process, emphasizes their communique.  Formal notification of Ms. Carrera's dismissal still has not reached  government ministries. 

Ms. Carrera has stated,  "The people elected me, not these few men.  They are simply a body of delegates that comprise the general congress.   I was elected by popular vote.  I can't be dismissed without proof of wrongdoing."  The April 10th Movement has reiterated its backing of Ms. Carrera as the maximum authority for the pueblo determined by popular vote. 

Oct 22, 2014

Political Discord Among the Ngäbe Buglé...?

According to the national news channel, TVN-2,  the General Congress of the Ngäbe Buglé made the decision this morning to remove from office Silvia Carrera as General Chief of their comarca.  Rationale cited was she didn't fulfill her obligations as established in Article 27 of Law 10 instituted by the comarca. Edilberto Sanchez, president of the Ngäbe Buglé General Congress, said the governing board made the decision for her dismissal via Resolution No. 8 on October 19th this year. According to Sanchez, despite the fact Carrera was elected by popular vote, the General Congress has the ultimate authority of the populace and is autonomous regarding such decisions.  He emphasized that official notification of the dismissal would be sent forthwith to the magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal of Panama.

Crescencia Prado, a legislative representative of the Tribunal, postulated the dismissal of Carrera was an illegal action given that she was appointed via popular vote in an official election overseen by the Electoral Tribunal.  

Subsequent telephonic follow up by the news channel with Ms. Carrera determined that Ms. Carrera denies having been notified of any separation from her duties as General Chief of the comarca.  She did admit to receiving threats from a few elements of the governing board, but classified these as not exceeding five people. 

This September, Ms. Carrera traveled to New York, along with President Varela and other Panamanian authorities to participate in a United Nations general assembly dealing with measures adopted to mitigate the effects of climatic change and an external policy focused on the search for consensus and integration.   Her son, Bernardo Jimenez Carrera was recently appointed as Panama's ambassador to Bolivia.  

Oct 17, 2014

Back in Boquete---Barely!

After a longer than anticipated stateside stay, I finally made it back to an intensely missed Panama. Enjoyed the visits with family, and am grateful to have been there when concerning health matters with loved ones cropped up.   Thankfully, I was able to leave confident all is well and back to normal..  Walking into the house and out in the Boquete back yard was instant anti-stress therapy. I physically sensed the layers of tension slide off and soak into the ground.  The words of that old John Denver song kept cycling in my head---"gee, it's good to be back home again..."

This return trip experience was more traumatic than any experienced in over 8 years of traveling back and forth.  It certainly isn't as easy to leave the US as it used to be. There are subtle changes that are quite concerning. Reports from fellow expats indicate I'm not the only one noticing adjustments in attitude, nor encountering resistance to our liberating lifestyle.  I almost hugged the Panamanian immigration agent this time around, and have finally decided to legitimize my residency. It's taken me awhile to realize it, but I belong here not there.  I no longer harbor doubts.  

It's going to take a few days to catch up on political events in Panama and discern what may be of interest to the English speaking community.  Hoping to have some worthwhile and informative posts up in the next week or so.  

Oct 1, 2014

Afternoon of Art in Pewaukee

It's been awhile since my last post, as I've been away from Panama for the last two months. Heading back shortly, though, and not a day too soon. The Wisconsin climate is quickly changing and cold temps have never inspired me. 

Decided to stop by the Lake Country Art Gallery on Capital Drive to see what they offered, and was very pleasantly surprised.  What I anticipated to be a half-hour visit turned into a couple of hours, and I'm returning soon to finish seeing what I didn't have time to examine the first time.  

If you would enjoy a superb collection of high quality water colors by Jean Crane and students, or a more limited selection of acrylics and oils by other familar Wisconsin artists,  this just might be your venue.

In addition to great paintings, there is a large selection of custom jewelry, pottery, glassware, woodworking, needlecrafts, and some very funky furniture. Definitely worth the visit. And right now there is a huge sale with discounts ranging from 30 to 75 percent off, for all bargain hunters.  

Below, some of my favorites...

And a few postcard pics of Jean Crane collections: