Notes on Panama’s religious right and its local and international ties

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On August 27 this legislative committee held one of a series of what are surely just pro forma hearings on a constitutional “reform” package. This long document, with its origins in business lobbies, will be modified mainly to protect and extend the privileges and impunity of the legislators themselves, then submitted to the voters. We can expect a great deal of public funding for the “YES” campaign and something approaching a criminalization of the “NO” campaign. There are party loyalists who will turn out and vote as told but there is little enthusiasm. But on this day the committee heard from a group called the Alianza Panameña por la Vida y la Familia, both the best-known of Panama’s religious right-wing groups and a member of an international network with a lot of money and neo-fascist ties. The Alianza wants a constitutional provision that bars the legislature or courts from deciding against their wishes on anything the group defines as a “family” question — they are against sex education in the schools, they are against abortion, they are against any rights whatsoever of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered persons, they are against equal rights for women, they oppose the United Nations. Anything that goes against this “pro-family” agenda could only be enacted with public referendum. But of course, they have “their own Odebrecht” in that case, an international money network and online trolling operation that is instructed by many of the same people and forces that channeled Russian intervention in the 2016 US presidential elections, and in elections across Europe. Photo by the Asamblea Nacional.

About CitizenGO, one of its Panamanian affiliates et al

by the editor

La Prensa, Aug. 28, 2019:

Ayer, Víctor Trejos, de la Alianza Panameña por la Vida y la Familia, anunció que propondrán por escrito que cuando el tribunal constitucional –que se crearía con las reformas– emita una sentencia sobre temas de familia, como el caso del matrimonio igualitario, se deje un margen para que se pueda llamar a referéndum sobre el tema. Citó como ejemplo a Ecuador, donde “recientemente el Tribunal Constitucional estableció, violando la Convención Americana, que el matrimonio homosexual es un derecho”. “

https://impresa.prensa.com/panorama/Proponen-referendum-temas-familia_0_5382961746.html

The queer-baiting activist then, now Corina Cano is in the National Assembly and she has proposed a law to create a register of stillbirths, so that women and girls who have miscarriages will run the risk of being thrown into prison on charges of illegally aborting their pregnancies, as has been done in some notorious cases in neighboring countries. THAT proposal was also heard, by another subcommittee of the legislature, on August 27.

A few online references for starters

https://www.citizengo.org/es

https://www.citizengo.org/es-lat/conocenos

They claim to have 24,133 members in Panama

Their affiliate here is the Alianza Panameña por la Vida y la Familia

Their campaign against former US Ambassador John Feeley

https://www.citizengo.org/es/72018-revocacion-del-embajador-feeley

https://www.citizengo.org/es/user-profile/259cf743-06aa-4b64-9f03-ae750a335ea4

Their anti-Feeley form letter, and see who they address:

Revocación del embajador Feeley de EEUU en Panamá

Att. Mike Pence Vicepresidente de EEUU
Marco Rubio Congresista

Como saben, John D. Feeley, sigue siendo embajador de EEUU en Panamá.
Como quizás sepa es uno de los arietes de la marcha del llamado ‘orgullo gay’ la cual financia con el dinero de los contribuyentes americanos y de la comunidad LGBTI empeñada en importar la agenda LGTB a nuestro país.

El art. 41 de la Convención de Viena ratificada por la Asamblea de Panamá señala que los embajadores deberán respetar las leyes y reglamentos del Estado receptor y están obligados a no inmiscuirse en asuntos internos de ese Estado.

¿Hasta cuándo vamos a tener que soportar los panameños esta herencia de la Administración Obama?

Atentamente,
[Tu nombre]

See CitizenGO on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/citizengo

https://www.facebook.com/citizengo/posts/2427208037365319

https://www.facebook.com/citizengo/posts/2425397947546328

https://www.facebook.com/citizengo/posts/2425397280879728

In Trump times, they will be all so willing to submit Panama and everywhere else to the wishes of a hegemonic United States, as wildly at odds with current world realities as that may be. Don’t look for CitizenGO to be waving any American flags if the Democrats take over in Washington.

A long excerpt from a British foundation

(Yes, your nazis and conspiracy theorists will point to George Soros funding. The openDemocracy foundation gets money from him — a standard evil Jewish finacier character for those circles — and also from the Mott Foundation , Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust , Ford Foundation , David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Lush, Andrew Wainwright Trust and the Network for Social Change.)

Revealed: the Trump-linked ‘Super PAC’ working behind the scenes to drive Europe’s voters to the far right

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/revealed-the-trump-linked-super-pac-working-behind-the-scenes-to-drive-europes-voters-to-the-far-right/

“The Madrid-based campaign group CitizenGo is best known for its online petitions against same-sex marriage, sex education and abortion – and for driving buses across cities with slogans against LGBT rights and “feminazis”.

“In Spain, CitizenGo is supporting the far-right party Vox that is expected to make big gains this weekend, winning seats in the country’s parliament for the first time and potentially forming part of the new government.

“Speaking to our undercover reporter posing as a potential donor, CitizenGo’s director described plans to run attack ads against Vox’s political opponents, and talked about how to get around campaign finance laws.

“Meanwhile a senior Vox official compared CitizenGo to a “Super PAC” in the US, referring to the controversial groups that can spend unlimited sums influencing elections in America – and which are known for aggressive, negative campaigning.

“CitizenGo’s board also includes a close business associate of the “Orthodox Oligarch” Konstantin Malofeev – who has been targeted by US and European sanctions for allegedly propping up the pro-Russian breakaway republic in eastern Ukraine – and an Italian politician, Luca Volonte, currently on trial in Milan facing corruption charges.

“Meanwhile, Arsuaga told our undercover reporter that Patrick Slim, son of the Mexican oligarch Carlos Slim, gave his group €40,000, which “for him is just a very small amount”, Arsuaga noted – although it is close to the maximum individual donation to a political party permitted under Spanish law (and four times election campaign limits).

“It was not clear whether this donation was for CitizenGo or HazteOir, neither of which are political parties. At the time of publication, Patrick Slim had not replied to openDemocracy’s request for comment.

“Another CitizenGo board member is Brian Brown, a prominent US anti-LGBT activist who leads the World Congress of Families (WCF) network that recently met in Italy, with deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini from the far-right Lega party among its speakers.

“In Germany, CitizenGo’s events have attracted Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis – another World Congress of Families speaker, patron of conservative Christian causes and a friend of Steve Bannon – along with the AfD’s Benjamin Nolte.

A  shorter excerpt, from The Guardian, about Spain’s elections

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/29/far-right-podemos-spain-socialists-vox

“ …First and foremost is the rise of Vox, a new, openly misogynistic and xenophobic party that toys with nostalgia for Franco’s dictatorship. Backed by the likes of Steve Bannon, Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini, and indirectly financed (via the Madrid-based CitizenGo organisation) by a US super PAC with ties to Donald Trump, Russian oligarch Aleksei Komov and the Italian MP Luca Volontè, who is accused of bribery, Vox rode a wave of anti-Catalan sentiment into the government of Andalucía in December….”

Leading up to the above, CitizenGO feted the Spanish neofa

https://www.citizengo.org/hazteoir/pc/170370-animo-vox

“ ¡Sigan adelante!

D. Santiago Abascal y todo el equipo de VOX:

Me gustaría felicitarle a usted y a todo el equipo de VOX por los 24 escaños conseguidos en las elecciones generales del 28 de abril.

24 escaños que están sujetos a un compromiso, no lo olvide: el compromiso en la defensa de la vida, la familia, la educación sin adoctrinamiento, el derecho a la igualdad entre hombre y mujer, la libertad religiosa, la memoria real de nuestro pasado, la unidad de España…

Gracias a esos escaños, nuestros valores tendrán representación en el Congreso de los Diputados.

Quisiera también animarles vivamente a que sigan por el camino correcto dando la batalla cultural contra la ideología de la izquierda en las próximas elecciones europeas, autonómicas y municipales el 26M. No cedan ante la presión de los que quieren diluir su discurso para que se adapte a los políticamente correcto. Sus electores no s elo perdonarían.

¡Ánimo y a seguir trabajando!

¡Muchas gracias!

Atentamente,
[Tu nombre] “

 

Just because you appear on the Russian state-owned RT television / cable / video channel does not make you one of Putin’s agents. But Putin, who plays a hand in the worldwide Christian far right through the Russian Orthodox Church, does control RT and he uses it sometimes to tell outrageous lies but more often just to give publicity to people and causes with whom or which he concurs. As in PRD legislator, vice president of the National Assembly and head of the PRD women’s federation Zulay Rodríguez. She’s notoriously Panama’s most strident xenophobic demagogue. But how much power does she have? That remains to be seen. President Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo soundly thrashed her in the PRD presidential primary en route to the Palacio de las Garzas, and the Panamanian political system puts great power in the hands of the president and not so much in the legislative branch. From a RT video on YouTube.

She gloms onto religious right slogans to defend corruption

Zulay Rodríguez is PRD, while Corina Cano is MOLIRENA, but the two parties were allied in the presidential campaign and also in the legislature. Were we to get into history and belief systems on one level the alliance of PRD and a tendency coming out of Panama’s liberal tradition would make sense.

However, all through the 19th century when Panama was a part of Colombia, the Liberals fought against the inclusion of religion in government — as in shooting wars with the Conservatives about this matter. It’s an indication of political parties degenerating into businesses that the religious far right sits in Panama’s National Assembly in the MOLIRENA caucus. Pedro Prestán, Victoriano Lorenzo, Belisario Porras and Roberto Chiari were nothing like religious rightists.

And the PRD getting into that? Omar Torrijos was no religious zealot. Manuel Antonio Noriega’s older brother and mentor was Latin America’s first openly gay diplomat. And maybe religious right expressions coming out of the PRD are anomalies.

But consider Zulay Rodríguez, recipient of $100,000 from the government’s PANEPORTES sports institute for what by all appearances was and is a fictitious program. When a small group of anti-corruption protesters showed up in the park next to the legislature, some guy unconnected to the protest showed up carrying an altered Panamanian flag incorporating rainbow fields — a minor crime under Panama’s old flag etiquette law — the police moved in to make the arrest and Zulay moved in to make the accusation and deploy the religious right rhetoric.

Zulay had zero evidence that independent prediential candidate Ricardo Lombana, entertainer / journalist / activist Gaby Gnazzo or the Independent Movement (MOVIN) had anything to do with it. But it was a great way to grab headlines without aswering questions about that 100 grand she took. Gnazzo denied it.

gaby

Zulay has been building up a “following” of Internet trolls, some of them fictitious characters, many of whom don’t live in Panama. Their main thing is spitting virtual venom at Venezuelans, foreigners in general and Panamanian citzens of ethnicities she and they hate. There is a lot of anti-Semitism in their rants:

from Prague

… and some of the Zulay crowd’s gringo baiting is downright ludicrous:

from LA

 

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