Tag Archives: CSIS

Stinger: A Reporters Journey in the Congo

I went to the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) book event the Stinger: A Reporters Journey in the Congo, written by Anjan Sundaram, which took place from 5:30-6:30. There were two other people on the stage. A lady by the name of Jennifer Cooke was moderating the event, and another man on the stage, though i forgot what his name was. Anjan Sundaram talked about his trip to the Congo in 2006, which marked the country’s first democractic elections. He mentioned traveling down the Congo River. The author talked about how people walked for 3 days from their villages to the nearest poll. Everyone in the country seemed very excited for the elections, although they apparently didn’t really make a difference, and nothing changed the country politically. There were a lot of local and regional conflicts during the time of his stay, and he also saw international intervention. This was something completely new for them. He felt very unprepared when he went there however, and he mentioned being robbed twice. There was so much conflict going on in the country, and he discussed how natural resources helped fuel the war, which i found interesting because we discussed this in class. He said living was very tough in the Congo, but he also discussed how communities banned together to take care of each other. He discussed how within a week a family might get less than a dollar, and one day a couple people would eat, another day another couple of people would eat, and then on sunday everyone was on their own. People there really depended on each other and shared expenses. There was a lot of areas in the country that had no government presence. Something else i found very interesting in the book event was when the other man on the stage (cant remember his name) discussed how when he went to the Congo, he found it really interesting how the people of the Congo referred to themselves as Congolese instead of referencing what tribe they were from. I think its very common in various areas in Africa for people to identify themselves with their tribe instead of country, so i found this very interesting. The last portion of the event was reserved for the audience to ask any questions or add comments.

Panama Beyond the Canal Conference: It’s a Safe Country for Investment

The Center for Strategic and International Studies held a conference, Panama: Beyond the Canal, with the following speakers: Juan Carlos Varela, Vice President of the Republic of Panama, Gerardo Solis, the magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal, Guillermo Adames, the president of the National Council of Journalism, Guillermo Chapman, the chairman of INDESA, and Frank de Lima, the Minister of the Economy.

In a brief introduction, the Vice President described the country’s status. He made emphasis on the poverty and the corruption within the government. The country faces 30% of poverty, and 12% lives in extreme poverty. Gerardo Solis, the magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal, indicated how the country’s leaders needed to refocus their priorities, and Guillermo Adames, the president of the National Council of Journalism, emphasized the people’s freedom of expression, and how the Panamanians defend their democratic system of government. “The will of the Panamanians will prevail,” said Mr. Adames. He also mentioned that the press is used to reveal the lies of politicians in power.

The Minister of the Economy described the country’s strategic position, and explained how that helps Panama’s economic growth. Panama’s tourism has been increasing the last years. Frank de Lima was able to show statistics of the percentages, and how they were expecting them to increase in the future. Some of the projects the country is working on is the expansion of their international airport, and the construction of a metro system.

At the end, the objective of the conference was to demonstrate that Panama, like any other Latin American country, faces poverty and corruption. Nevertheless, the country’s economy has been increasing, and this is proof that it is stable and foreign investment is safe.