Finally!!

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For those of us who prefer an afternoon Coke, Diet Coke, or coffee, rather than tea, those of us who drive on the right, i.e. “correct” side of the road, those of us who are fascinated by every move of the British Royal Family, and those of us who speak and spell English correctly, here is an understandable guide to our friends across the pond … Great Britain, British, English, Scottish, Welsh, United Kingdom, yada, yada, yada.

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For one thing we never know what to call these folks, convinced that whatever we call them, they are sniggering behind our backs.  [“Sniggering,” a word I picked up from “My Fair Lady” so therefore, it must be an English, or whatever, word.]

So for those who have always been perplexed by the proper, socially acceptable, politically correct name for our cousins, here is an excellent guide … very clear and understandable, by a man who talks even faster than the guys who rattle off the required disclaimers on audio advertisements.  Well-worth your time …

So while much of the world’s primary lead story of the day is if Donald Trump is still in the White House tweeting out his innocence, or if the “Lock her up!” chant has somehow, given a Constitution and the rule of law, has somehow transformed into “Lock him up!”

In the United Kingdom … whatever! … and the European Union the primary lead story of the day is Brexit, a story, like the “Trials and Tribulations of The Donald,” goes on ad nasseum. So for those of us who are left hopefully confused by the entire Brexit miniseries, here’s a really compelling guide to what it is, and why it affects us or US as you prefer, and what it means for Europe and world stability.

The non-Brits guide to Brexit (because it affects you too)

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But Not Forgotten

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1983-George-W-Bush-meets--010[1]Hardly mentioned in the justified celebrations of the life and leadership of George H. W. Bush was his highly controversial invasion of the Republic of Panama just days before Christmas in 1989.

Picture left: H.W. Bush, when serving as US Vice-president, meeting with Manuel Noriega

As the anniversary of the US invasion of Panama (Dec 22) [approaches] many commentators will be focusing on the role of George H.W. Bush in the event that led to the deaths of up to 4,000 Panamanians (depending on whose figures you use).

During the week surrounding his death and burial tributes poured in for his foreign policy achievements, but missing from most assessments was any reference to Panama.

Washington based Inter American Dialogue filled in the gap on December 7 after a writer visited the Bush museum in Texas.

New Picture (35)The most controversial episode in Latin America during the Bush administration was the 1989 invasion in Panama to oust strongman Manuel Noriega. And the only thing related to Latin America in the Bush Foundation are the handcuffs used in Noriega’s arrest. Noriega was wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges, and the administration was determined to forcibly remove him from power and bring him to justice. The invasion provoked a strong reaction in Latin America, however. Though Latin Americans had no love for Noriega’s criminal, dictatorial rule, for many the unilateral, military action had a dubious legal foundation and evoked memories of US interventionism during the Cold War and before. That Noriega had long been a CIA asset didn’t help assuage their concerns. It was a troubling throwback that cost many lives and much destruction and seemed out of character for an administration so committed to multilateralism.

290px-panamam-113justcauseus-invasionOf course, some parts of the Bush legacy in Latin America have proved more enduring and fruitful than others. After three decades since the start of the Bush presidency, there are sharp differences and much intense debate about the evolution and current state of trade, drugs, and democracy throughout the hemisphere.

Still, what the Bush administration showed is how crucial “style” is in diplomacy. Genuine and regular consultations are key to building trust and a sense of community. This is true generally, but especially so in Latin America, where the asymmetry with the United States is so pronounced and has strongly shaped inter-American relations, often with unhappy results.

George HW Bush’s record in Latin America teaches many lessons for constructively dealing with today’s hemispheric challenges. Perhaps, with time, that part of the 41st president’s legacy will be recognized, and find a well-deserved place in the Bush Museum in College Station, Texas.

[INTER AMERICAN DIALOGUE & NEWSROOM PANAMA]

What’s here?

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LIVING IN PANAMA

Fifteen years ago when we moved to Boquete, Panama, there really wasn’t a whole lot of information available online, and blogging was somewhat new, so I began blogging about the joys and challenges of living in Panama. Then lots of folks started blogs, so now I only write occasional pieces about living in Panama. But not to fear … there is a whole repository of interesting blogs about life in Panama right here.

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WORKING THE HIGH SEAS

It is a tough job, but someone has got to do it. My first cruise ship gig was back in the 60s on the cruise staff of a student ship to Europe. Eventually I started working my vacations as a chaplain on cruise ships, that led to us owning travel agencies in Southern California, and then after retiring early and moving to Panama, and then 12 years ago I began lecturing on cruise ships. Now, after countless cruises, two trips around the world, and lecturing on over 294 different ports, I’m still enjoying being at sea on luxury cruise ships. It is a better retirement job than being a greeter at Walmart, not that there is anything wrong with being a greeter at Walmart. So, come along and share the adventure!

Dr Richard Detrich

OUR HOME IN PANAMA

We have a beautiful Tuscan-style estate home just outside of Boquete with 4 acres of tropical landscape with coffee, banana, avocado, and citrus trees. We also have a spot right on and overlooking the water in Boca Chica. And, I’m still working on ships 4 to 6 months a year … so eventually we are going to want to downsize. So, if someone comes along who wants a beautiful tropical estate …

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