David A. Bandel
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Folks may wonder what qualifies me to opine about Panama apart from the fact that I've lived here for a day or two. In fact, I've lived here a good number of years (18+, most thanx to Uncle Sam). I speak the language, and am married to an intelligent, beautiful Panamanian-born lady.
OK, so none of the above qualifies me for much of anything beyond some life experience. But I have a perspective on things that few others share, so I will (share, that is). Besides, if it were all that bad, you'd think I'd move back to the states.
First, I'd like to tell you a little about my wife, Silvia, since she's not your average gal. In fact, she's anything but average. Most Panamanians I know are highly political. They tout their party affiliation, talk bad about the opposition, and are very dogmatic in their views. The only apolitical Panamanian I know is my wife. For that, she's not trusted by anyone in particular (since they all believe she must be affiliated with some party, they just know it's not theirs). That makes her job in the government difficult at times. But her ability to avoid political favoritism, while it has rubbed some in government the wrong way, has earned her respect. Her findings are rarely scrutinized for suspicions of political bias.
She is the US equivalent of a Chief Medical Examiner (Coroner), although here, she is also called on to exam live victims of accidents and crimes (mostly rape and abuse). So the job here is more extensive than a medical examiner in the states, but doesn't include pathology which is a separate specialty here.
Folks often wonder how we got together -- a doctor and a soldier. Would you believe a mutual friend thought we belonged together and wouldn't take no for an answer (thank you, Margot)? I guess stranger things have happened.
So in future posts, this gringo will share his thoughts. My wife's thoughts are radically different from mine in some things, and parallel them in others. After all, she grew up here -- I didn't. I may, from time-to-time, note her thoughts, but that will not be the norm. I will likely only do that where they differ so dramatically from mine that we've probably had fiery discussions over the issue.
At any rate, please point out any inaccuracies you may note. You may not change my mind, but then again, you may.
David-A Gringos eye view
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