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What In The World : January 3, 2022

On This Day In History
On January 3, 1990, Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega surrendered to U.S. military troops to face charges of drug trafficking. He had been holing up for 10 days at the Vatican embassy in Panama City,

Noriega was flown to Miami the next day and crowds of citizens on the streets of Panama City rejoiced. On July 10, 1992, the former dictator was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

In The World
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry Flees City After Gun Shots
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry was forced to flee the northern city of Gonaïves, after a shootout that left one person dead. His office cast this as an attempt on his life.

The prime minister and other government officials were attending a New Year’s Day Mass to mark the country’s independence from France. Suddenly shots were heard, and there was a shootout – perhaps between rival gangs. Prime Minister Henry fled from the city in a truck.

In America:
3000 Flight Cancellations Strand Thousands

Since December 24th, more than 15,000 flights within, to, and from the United States have been cancelled, causing multitudes of travelers to modify their plans.

Today began with 2000 cancellations, and grew by the hour to a daily total of more than 3000 flights being cancelled, leaving thousands and thousands of travelers stranded. The airlines are dealing with wintry weather along with the extra challenges that the omicron variant of the Covid virus brings.

Also In America:
As the one-year anniversary of the January 6 riot at the Capitol draws near, there is more discussion about the actions and inaction of the former president on that day. The January 6 Committee has revealed some of its findings to the public, but has been cautious about saving conclusions until after public hearings.

Insight

Climate change and a contagious virus are conspiring to disrupt people’s lives. And they are succeeding. How many people who were planning to return to their homes and jobs and families are now forced to wait it out in an airport without any idea how long?

Do you see a pattern of movement and turmoil?

On this day in both 1990 and 2022, a leader left his country as they were surrounded by gunshots and violence. Some say Prime Minister Ariel Henry of Haiti was forced to flee. Others say that with constant shots being fired from the time Henry’s convoy arrived to the time he left, it looked as if Henry had staged the so-called attack to attract attention from other leaders.

Haiti has had more than its share of problems. In July, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was murdered. Not long after, the island suffered the effects of a major hurricane, again. According to reports, gangs and thugs control everything. Efforts to bring in aid from the U.S. are often thwarted by gangs which blockade any supplies coming from the U.S.

In 1990 in Panama things were different than they are now in Haiti. Instead of gangs controlling people’s lives, Panama had a dictator that many Panamanians despised. Noriega engaged in drug smuggling, which the U.S. saw as a threat. In addition, Noriega, a former CIA agent, sold information to the KGB, endangering U.S. security.

When the U.S. invaded Panama in 1990, some 300 U.S. soldiers as well as thousands of Panamanians lost their lives. When Noriega finally surrendered and U.S. forces took him into custody, Panamanians rejoiced and celebrated.

If there is a parallel between the invasion of Panama in 1990, the turmoil in Haiti today, and the January 6 Capitol riots last year, it is this: Democracy is always threatened by individuals and groups that willingly use thuggery and acts of violence to retain power. While the Republic of Panama appears to be doing well today, Haiti appears more and more like a lost cause with no viable peaceful solution. As for the U.S. it remains to be seen how long it will take to overcome the damage done by the former president and his followers.

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