Panama
It was thanks in part to rock and roll hits from bands such as The Doors and Guns N’ Roses that Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama, fell from grace. In December 1989, with Noriega holed up at the Vatican embassy in Panama, the U.S. military installed a line of stereo speakers around the building blaring songs such as “Dead Man’s Party” and “All I Want Is You,” a sort of psychological warfare meant to force the notorious strongman to give himself up. On January 3, 1990, Noriega surrendered, and the man commonly ridiculed as "old pineapple face" has been sitting in court rooms and jail cells ever since.

As the leaders of almost every nation in the Americas arrive in Panama, this opening act has set the stage for the rest of the summit—appropriately centered on the “challenge of cooperation in the Americas.” One can only hope the long-awaited U.S.-Cuba thaw will set the example for Cuba’s own internal reconciliation.

 

Failure to comply with ILO Convention 169 has caused recurring friction between the government and Indigenous communities in Panama and throughout the entire region.

If the U.S. wants to keep the Summit of the Americas process on track and regain some measure of influence in the hemisphere, it will have to change its Cuba policy, pronto.

This week’s likely top stories: Juan Carlos Varela will be Panama’s next president; talks between Haiti and the Dominican Republic are postponed; marijuana legalization goes into effect in Uruguay; a Colombian mine collapse kills at least 12 people; a Brazilian soccer fan is killed in Recife.

Panama and Colombia are expected to sign a bilateral free trade agreement in Panama City today, finalizing a commitment that was reached by the two countries last June. Panamanian Minister of Commerce and Industry Ricardo Quijano and Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Sergio Díaz-Granados will participate in the official treaty-signing ceremony.

The last barrier to an integrated electricity grid in the region.

Top stories this week are likely to include: Fidel Castro’s birthday; Buenos Aires subway shutdown continues; public teachers to end striking in Panama; talks to renew in Colombia between the government and the Indigenous Nasa; and a possible dialogue over Venezuela’s detained U.S. Marine.

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