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Thursday, July 19 2018 @ 01:34 PM EDT

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President Torrijos Gets Boost in Panama

Politics (Angus Reid Global Scan) – More Panamanians are expressing support for Martín Torrijos, according to a poll by Dichter & Neira published in La Prensa. 56.7 per cent of respondents rate the president’s performance as excellent or good, up 11.2 points since September. Torrijos—the son of Omar Torrijos, an army general who ruled Panama from 1968 to 1981—won the May 2004 presidential election as a candidate for the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) with 47.44 per cent of the vote.
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Text of President Bush's Remarks - Praises Panamanian Democracy

Politics Panama, like the United States, is a strong democracy that defends freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of worship, says President Bush. In brief remarks at a November 7 roundtable on Panama's future, Bush thanked Panamanians for working hard "to make sure your democracy flourishes," and he hailed "the people of Panama for managing [the Panama Canal] in such a professional way, for the good of commerce around the world." Bush was visiting Panama after attending the November 4-5 Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plato, Argentina, and after a November 5-6 visit to Brazil.
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Bush Arrives in Panama

Politics

President Bush landed in Tocumen on Air Force One last night at ived at 8:35 last night to begin his 20-hour stay in Panama. They were at the airport for less than ten minutes before the 35-vehicle motorcade made their way to the Miramar Intercontinental Hotel on Ave Balboa, where the bush contingent rented 120 rooms for the night.

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Strong Security Around Balboa Ave and Miramar Hotel

PoliticsSecurity forces have strengthened security around the Miramar Intercontinental Hotel on Balboa Ave, as well as Ave Fredirico Boyd and surrounding areas, in anticipation of the arrival of President Bush.

Also, the guys protesting against the changes to the social security law (Frenadesso) will be protesting in front of the Don Bosco church on Ave Central.
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Agricultural Sector Also Anti-Bush

PoliticsThe agricultural sector is also largely anti-Bush, due to some elements of the bilateral free trade agreement that is still being negotiated between the US and Panama. Some of Panama's farming sector stand to lose out in competition from imports from the US once tariffs are lifted. They will probably be protesting as well.
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Students and Construction Workers Plan to Protest

PoliticsStudent groups and construction workers are planning protests for Monday, to protest the presence of President Bush in Panama. If things go like they normally do, there will be a large gathering that will start off as peaceful, and then a few individuals will start throwing things. The police will move in with tear gas, and everyone will go home. A few will be arrested, a few others will get hurt. That's my prediciton, anway, for what it's worth.
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Press Gaggle on Air Force One, enroute to Brazil

PoliticsMR. HADLEY: Continued to be two additional plenary sessions today. The theme continued, of course, to be jobs. Jobs is a - job creation is key to prosperity and prosperity is key to stable democracies. I think one of the themes that emerged was the notion that obviously you need to have growth in order to have jobs and prosperity, but at the same time, growth needs to be coupled with a set of social policies that allows people to take advantage of those jobs and take advantage of prosperity - and that's, of course, education, people talked about education; health care; good housing; and I think a general consensus that you need to have both economic growth and sound social policies.
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Panama angry over US weapons left along canal

PoliticsBy Mike Power for Reuters

ESCOBAL, Panama (Reuters) - When the U.S. military handed over control of the Panama Canal in 1999, it left behind thousands of unexploded weapons strewn across jungle firing ranges that are still killing people. Many Panamanians accuse the United States of ignoring the dangers and President George W. Bush will face protests over the controversy during a visit starting on Sunday night.

See: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1283922


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"Latin America Takes a Hard Turn to the Left"

PoliticsAlan Caruba writes this commentary on the state of politics in Latin America. There is a big move to the left in the politics of many Latin American countries, but the difference this time around is that all of the left-leaning leaders were democratically elected. Hugo Chavez has been elected and confirmed on about seven different occasions. Oh, and there are 3 million people in Panama, not 2 million as the article says. I'm putting this up as part of the "chatter" surrounding President Bush's trip.
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Here's a typical anti-Bush demonstration...

PoliticsIn Los Santos, some protestors came out to protest. They were protesting the reform of the social security law, and the visit of President Bush to Panama. One of the coordinators of the protest said that Bush's visit is "an insult to the sovereignty and the national dignity."
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UXO in Panama

PoliticsWith no party assuming responsibility for thousands of acres of UXO-infested land, the fate of Panama’s ex-United States artillery ranges remains unresolved. The grueling task of transforming the unusable land falls to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community leaving the tainted ground waiting for release.
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Panama: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations

PoliticsPresident Bush is coming to town. Here's some recommended background reading to be prepared for what you're going to hear during the trip (from both sides.) You can read it here, or check out:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL30981.pdf
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Here Comes the Money...

PoliticsPANAMA CITY, Oct. 27 Asia Pulse - The Panama government announced Tuesday that Taiwanese Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Ruey-long will visit the Central American country later this week. Heading an economic delegation, Chen is expected to meet Gisela Vergara, the Panamanian vice minister of commerce and industry in charge of foreign trade, to exchange views on ways to strengthen bilateral trade within the framework of the free trade agreement (FTA) signed by the two countries, according to a press release from Panama's Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
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No rift with Panama: Presidential Office

Politics(Editor's Note: Another indication from Taiwan indicating how worried they are about the potential for Panama to change recognition from Taiwan to the PRC.)

SPAT: A controversial news report in Panama alleging that President Chen Shui-bian made insulting comments is groundless, the Presidential Office said yesterday
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New US Ambassador visits Moscoso

PoliticsThe new US ambassador to Panama, William A. Eaton, visited ex-President Mireya Moscoso yesterday, apparently as a courtesy call and to touch bases with the Arnulfistas.
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President Bush to visit Panama

PoliticsAccording to press release from the White House, President Bush will be visiting Panama on Nov 6-7.
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