By Arturo Hasan.
Panamanian residing in Los Angeles for many years stated that few years ago, the rumor going around in Panama circles about the posibility that Panamanian residents living in the United States, could one day be decisive voters in a Panama presidential election. The assumption came to mind, when a poll taken a few years ago showed that over 60 % of those asked in the U.S.A., favored presidential candidate, Martin Torrijos.
Tourism is another factor why we need a Panama Consulate in Los Angeles, since al least 15 to 20 percent of these residents and their families return to Panama each year, on vacation while there is no Consulate promoting tourism in the largest por of the West. In November 2007, we tried to get a hotel reservation (thru various sources) to attend the "Panama 2008 Jazz Festival" during the last week in January, and was told that there was no hotel space available in Panama. Incredible ?
When we arrived in Los Angeles over three decades ago, in a matter of a few months, we had gotten aquainted with over 400 Panamanians, thru social gatherings at Dr. Ruben Marchosky's ranch, etc. - including Laffit Pincay, Ron Carew, and many other prominent Panamanian residents living in the area.
Over the years, Archbishop Tomas Clavel Mendez (r.i.p.), Dr. Ruben & Teresa Marchosky, Dr. Victor Grimaldo, historian Lic. Nick Nell Macias, Cursillo trainer Rev. Julio Roman, and our Honorary General Consul Ing, Santiago Torrijos & wife Vielka, have led the Los Angeles community in uniting thousands of Panamanians together, thru ecumenical, cultural and civic affairs, making Los Angeles the most prestigious center of Panama Folklore, Art & Culture in the United States... Yet no worthy honor has been bestowed on any of these patriots - by the Panama government - who have contributed to the image and prestige of Panama abroad...
Here are the estimated figures, of the largest influx of Panamanians and former Zonians, now living in the U.S.A. where the polls were taken by several affiliated groups over a period of time - starting with the "Centennial Hollywood 1903 Celebration" - under the auspices of VIVA PANAMA Org. - with 1,500 people (full house) in attendance ... It was at that gathering that several of us, some from as far away as Miami and New York, started this discussion with J.D. Bazan (r.i.p.) regarding support of the "Panama Business Council" and the possibility of a EPOCOMER TRADE FAIR, etc.
By Arturo Hasan.
A few decades ago when I moved to California, if a stranger would ask me "where are you from?" I would tell them New York... The truth is I was ashamed to say Panama because of a savage Dictator, called Manuel Noriega. Yes. Panama was a bad word for many... But before long, a New Panama was born thru a U.S. invasion, and a new generation of men like Doctor Victor Grimaldo appeared in California in the aftermath spreading the culture and goodwill of the people of Panama, and today - the citizens of Panama are considered among the happiest and progressive people in the world.
I'll never forget - in November of 2003, Dr. Victor Grimaldo not only received a coveted award from the County of Los Angeles, but under the auspices of Viva Panama Organization's which he presides, a Proclamation of the International Week of Panama in Los Angeles, was declared by the Chair of the board, Ms. Yvonne Burke, as a commemoration of Panama's Centennial and the Foundation of the Old Panama City on August, 15, 1519.
A humble man - Grimaldo is a prominent Doctor graduate from a Medical School in Panama and from Stanford University. Dr. Grimaldo’s main goal is to present the cultural spirit of Panama with a great quality in their performances. As a patriot, he believes Ballet Folkloric and Cultural Activities will achieve friendship and cooperation more effectively, for the attainment of common good. Loor al gran patriota; Honoris Causa.
By Rosamaria Segura.
Los Angeles is home to a majority Latino population, many of whom came as immigrants. The second largest Latino immigrant group in the city are Central Americans, and a new book titled simply, Central Americans in Los Angeles, distills the history of this diverse community in Southern California. The earliest migrants from countries like El Salvador, arrived in the 1930s and 40s, followed by more waves of people in the 1960s and 70s from Guatemala and other nations, fleeing repressive US-backed dictatorships. Those who arrived in LA took up a variety of vocations in factories, the garment industry, and other service sectors. Many congregated and lived in the Pico Union area near MacArthur Park near downtown Los Angeles. Today, those neighborhoods continue to be home to the newest immigrants from Central America.
The second-largest Latino-immigrant group in Los Angeles after Mexicans, Central Americans have become a remarkable presence in city neighborhoods, with colorful festivals, flags adorning cars, community organizations, as well as vibrant ethnic businesses. The people from Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama living in Los Angeles share many cultural and historical commonalities, such as language, politics, religion, and perilous migratory paths as well as future challenges. The distinctions are also evident as ethnicity’s, music, and food create a healthy diversity throughout residential locations in Los Angeles. During the 1980s and 1990s, an unprecedented number of new Central Americans arrived in this cosmopolitan city, many for economic reasons while others were escaping political turmoil in their native countries. Today they are part of the ethnic layers that shape the local population. Central Americans have embraced Los Angeles as home and, in doing so, transported their rich heritage and customs to the streets of this multicultural metropolis. — Book Summary of Central Americans In Los Angeles.