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Wednesday, September 03 2014 @ 02:58 AM EDT

U.S. Department of State Public Affairs Official Visits Panama

Panama News U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer visited Panama to participate in a regional training on advanced practices in public diplomacy for Department of State employees, and for a series of meetings with organizations, students, and members of the press.

During his visit to Panama, Assistant Secretary Hammer addressed employees of U.S. diplomatic missions in the inauguration of “21st Century Statecraft Social Media Training,” with a special focus on the use of digital media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as the effective use of video. The course took place at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.

During the course, participants developed plans for realizing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emphasis on leveraging the power and potential in 21st century statecraft, embracing new tools to reach the people behind these tools -- innovators and entrepreneurs.

Mr. Hammer said "In today's 24/7 dynamic media environment, the State Department needs to communicate U.S. policies clearly, accurately and quickly to the world. We are using social media and new digital platforms in order to reach broader and more diverse audiences, including the increasingly important youth demographic. My visit to Panama, where we convened State Department public affairs professionals serving in the region to train them on the use of on 21 Century Statecraft tools, is part of this ongoing effort and reflects the strong bilateral relations our nations enjoy and America's interest in connecting and partnering with the people in our Hemisphere."

The visit by Assistant Secretary Hammer to Panama included meetings with representatives of Panamanian journalism associations, government spokespersons, and alumni from Department of State exchange programs, and discussion and exchange of ideas with journalism and law school student groups. (US Embassy Panama City - Press Release)

Editor's Comment: Thank God. There's no doubt the Public Affairs staff at the US Embassy in Panama City can use the help. They have no clue. None. I've been hammering away on them non-stop for more than a year now, and they still can't get the word out about the really good things the US government is doing in Panama. It's amazing they were even able to get this press release out.

I took a poll - the people who read my website agree that the US Embassy in Panama simply sucks at letting them know what's going on in Panama. Here's a little quiz for you. How much money does the US government spend in Panama every year? Where does that money go? What is it being used for? Do you have any idea? Do you pay US taxes? If so, then it's your money. The people who work at the US embassy in Panama City (all of them, including the Ambassador) work for you, taxpayer. So why are they not reporting this information? Secrecy? Security? Are they ashamed of something? Ok, here's a hint - maybe they're just clueless and don't know how to do it (ding ding ding ding - we have a "Winner...")

Of course you can use Google and search through the websites of the US Congress, State Department, and other agencies to try to dig out a few nuggets, but then again why bother? There are supposed to be people on staff who have that as their primary mission in life. And how many people work in the Public Affairs section of the US Embassy in Panama City? Answer - should be none - make it so. There would be no change if all those people were fired today. No one would notice the difference, so why keep them around? So, if there's no change after Mike Hammer's visit - then his trip to Panama can be classified as a "boondoggle" and just another waste of US taxpayer dollars. Prediction time anyone?

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