Nry Kissinger Jimmy Carter every
AMERICA LEADER STATE FROM THE leader of state from the period including Fidel Castro and the soon to be infamous Manuel Noriega Arthur Koestler and Gabriel Garcia Maruez Thus I think it would be of greater interest to the general public than Rushdie s Needless to say I was happy to have been able to find a copy since it added a lot of enjoyment to my first journey to Panama For anyone interested in the
politics of Central America in the 1970s and 1980s which of course also reuires an interest in the US intervention in of Central America in the 1970s and 1980s which of course also reuires an interest in the US intervention in isthmus that intensified during the later stages of the Cold War this book provides fascinating insights into some of the ey personalities involved Of course apart from Greene himself whose nowledge of the region grows with his friendship with the general we mainly find ourselves getting to now Omar Torrijos and his political amanuensis and bodyguard Chuchu Simply as a travelogue the book works because of the personalities the uirky and enigmatic Torrijos the ever willing and slightly crazy Chuchu and the pliable curious Graham Greene happy to be pushed into various political roles and literally to enjoy the ride as he gets dispatched to various parts of Panama or the wider region often in the presidential planeIn those couple of decades Torrijos was an influential figure not only in Panama principally in steering the agreement on the future of the canal and its return to Panamanian control but also in his involvement in regional politics He often operated behind the scenes giving support to the rebel armies challenging right wing governments in various countries providing refuge to people who needed a place of safety away from the different struggles not only guerilla leaders but also ordinary campesinos and publicly or clandestinely seeking solutions to the conflicts Greene is fascinated by Torrijos s self adopted regional role and becomes a willing co conspiratorWhile the focus of the book is on the two main Panamanian characters we get vignettes of many others Gabriel Garcia Maruez Fidel Castro Eden Pastora Tomas Borge and many We get snapshot views of the canal zone the rain swept Bocas de Toro the San Blas islands where the Kuna people live and many parts of the rest of Central AmericaGreene undertakes all this with seeming reluctance he is constantly fretting about the need to get back to Antibes to sort out some domestic problem but in practice he is ineluctably drawn in by the combined charms of Torrijos and Chuchu And we of course as readers are similarly seducedGreene s last journey to Panama is in the aftermath of Omar Torrijos s death when his plane mysteriously crashes in a remote part of the country At first Greene believes that the crash must have been a result of pilot error even though earlier in the book he reveals that Torrijos spoke of the possibility of his being assassinated Then Greene is shown some intelligence reports showing the distorted view of Torrijos held by the US administration and he becomes suspicous that the death of his friend was not accidental Definitive proof that it was a CIA led plot has not yet surfaced as far as I m aware but it seems likely Certainly the insider John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man believed that this was the case Graham Greene was to die before these further revelations emerged I wrote a letter to Graham Greene in my head I ll be waiting forever to send it I ve been reading uite a few books by Graham Greene over the past few years Getting to Know the General The Story of an Involvement was one of his later books and the 3rd book of non fiction of his that I ve read It is about General Omar Torrijos Herrera the leader of Panama in the 70s who was Alien Zookeeper's Abduction killed in a plane crash in 1981 Greene was invited to Panama to meet him in 1976 and the two became friends over the next years As we Fear can be easily experienced but fun is hard to come by in old age I was a youngid when I read this book okay 25 and what I thought was Greene was such a rebel He gets an invitation to visit General Omar Torrijos of Panama in 1976 and gets to Tyral (Mated to the Alien, know him This gets himicked out of the US and treads on dangerous grounds for his travels But Greene was just that sort of characterand that is what makes this such a good read Trust Graham Greene to make a biography as well as a nuanced and objective account of the political tumult of South and Central America in the 1970s and 1980s not only so compulsively instantly readable and entertaining but also most crucially warm wise witty even hilariously absurd and ultimately poignant and profound in turns Getting To Know The General is uncharacteristically for a man who could never uite bring himself to trust a single leader or ideology above all these things too it is a stirring gentle even uixotic tale of friendship and camaraderie between Greene and General Omar Torrijos the military leader of Panama s National Guard who had among other notable things assumed de facto reign of Panama and was also the leader. An inspirational politician in the vital period of his country's history and to an unusual and enduring friendshi. .
Graham Greene Æ 3 free readAlthough the book could do with of the incredible literary abilities
of the author seen in his novels the insight into what would normally be events happening behind closed doors is secondthe author seen in his novels the insight into what would normally be events happening behind closed doors is second none How fascinating that Greene was given such access to important political events and decisions It is also explains why the Panamanians are so much in love with Torrijos why he was such a popular leader and has left such a huge mark on the country Highly recommended if you are visiting Panama or living here if only to see the contrast with the country as it is now particularly tourist spots like Bocas
DEL TOO WHICH THEN WERE THEToo which then were the opposite And also interesting for those with an interest in that era as you learn a lot about the effects on various Latin American peoples of their respective dictators I found this story Getting to Know the General by Graham Greene
uite interesting and so because I was living and working ininteresting and so because I was living and working in when the events were happening So I have a little story of my encounter with General Omar Torrijos Herrera one bright sunny tropical day while going to pick up a visitor who was coming to inspect an automated inventory system I was installing in our operation of the Army and Air Force Exchange Panama but it really sets the whole tone of what happen during Mr Henley s visit So here goesthe day I had my close encounter with General Omar Torrijos HerreraFirst a little bit of history about the GeneralGeneral Omar Torrijos Herrera 1929 1981 was born in the province of Santiago He took part in the coup that deposed Presidente Arnulfo Arias in 1968 He became commander of the National Guard and soon emerges as the strongman of the new regime He exercised full control ruling by decree an imprisoning or exiling all his opponents until his untimely death in an airplane crash in 1981 Here is my little story It really happened which at the time seemed unbelievable that it was happening to me Now picture if you will a sunny morning in Panama with the time almost 10 O clock and you are running late in picking up an inspector from the States So you are trying to make time by racing You are in a small blue VW heading in the direction of the Metro Theater on a narrow street one over from Balboa Avenue You are about to pass the intersecting street up from the Cafe del Boulevard When suddenly out of nowhere a monstrous green Mercedes with its engine racing cuts in front of you You react uickly by slamming on your brakes and leaning on your horn As your tires scream like a banshee on the plains of Zimbabwe you notice that a man in uniform occupies the back seat of the Mercedes He is smoking a large Cuban cigar Your eyes meet his briefly and his large Mercedes accelerates He must be late for his appointment too The chase car has his bodyguards who at this point are just trying hard to Knocked Up by a Thug keep up with the general s car The whole incident takes a few seconds but your whole life as younow it flashes before your eyes The bodyguards are brandishing submachine guns As they speed by you uickly pullover to the curb and then stop the VWAs you sit there thanking your lucky stars that you stop for some chance tickets at La Loteria building and a Raspado Crazy Italian Ice for the roadyou say softly Thank you God After a few moments you continue to the International Hotel located on the Plaza de Cinco de Mayo The story would end therebut no there is As you all remember close parking to the International is at a premium at almost any hour of the day As you get closer you spot a large green Mercedes in front of the entrance The bodyguards are deployed You go around the Plaza and notice that there is only one parking spot available but one of the general s bodyguards is standing in it You have already gone around twice so you beep your horn He looks your way swings his machine pistol in your direction but steps out of the way as you ease into the parking space You are wearing a white Pana Brisa and you are sweating bullets no pun intended You get out of the VW which you have nicknamed Herbie 2 from the movie of The Love BugSome people when they are very nervous they talk to themselves Well I am carrying on a full conversation First with Herbie 2 as I leave him in the parking space and later with myself as I rush to meet my party staying at the International Hotel I had tried to put him up at the Tivoli Guest House but his stateside travel agency had made his reservations I enter from the bright sunshine to a somewhat cooler interior of the lobby and proceed to the courtesy phone I ring the visiting fireman s room from the main office He picks up on the first ring and tells me that he will be right down I walk over to the bank of elevators and notice that one is already descending The doors open suddenly right in front of me Guess who No it is not the Headuarters Manager that I am to pick up and bus to Fort Clayton No it is General Omar Torrijos Herrera in the flesh As he heads toward me his bodyguards swarm around me like iller bees Again my whole life flashes be. Greene's account of a five year personal involvement with Omar Torrijos ruler of Panama from 1968 81 and Sergeant. Fore me I do what anybody would do in such a situation and say Buenos Dias mi General He grunts a do in such a situation and say Buenos Dias mi General He grunts a as he passes me and heads for the doors And at that very moment the elevator doors open and the person I m to pick up steps out into the lobby He sees the general departing and says Louie that is the general did you see him I answered Yes I now Well he continues with Now I ll have something to tell the people back at the home office And I think someday I ll have to tell my little storyWell his inspection tour of our operations goes well He stays about a week Then after some sightseeing and shopping I take him to the airport And he is gone until his next visit I never have another close encounter with the general A year later I transfer to San Francisco California Sometime later in a stateside newspaper I read of the general s untimely death in an airplane crash Over the years when I think about that close encounter I say to myself that everything in life is a matter of timing My being a little late at that intersection saved me from my final curtain call I thank God that he was watching out for me that day It could have been different and I may not be here at this The Logic of Self-Destruction keyboard relating to you an incident that when I was going through it appeared like something out of the Twilight Zone and in very very slow motion Again time marches onGraham Greene s book goes into some background information and events that did not come to life until the General passed in a tragic airplane accident Some of the accident is still cloak in mystery The inspectors after much analysis reach the conclusion that it was not engine failure so it must have been the terrible weather the plane was flying in to get over a ridge of mountains or pilot error I strongly recommend that all who are interested to read the book and draw your own conclusions I think Graham Greene was 80 when this book was published Early on maybe in the introduction he says that the book is about getting tonow Omar Torrijos s security guard the improbably named Chuchu than it was about getting to Around the Sacred Fire: Native Religious Activism in the Red Power Era know the general himself Though Chuchu and Torrijos are invariably charming it s the narrator in the gloaming of his life who steals the show I am certain that was unintentional But only through the eyes of someone capable of immense charm adventure and most of all love can a reader experience those things in his charactersAnyway I ended the book sad and in love with all three of them Plenty of politics but in a soft background way At one point Greene posits that socialism is just what happens when good heartedids grow up and get power My favorite paragraph has to do with a bird that sings only when with its mate Getting To Know The General is a little The Alchemy of Opposites known out of print nonfiction book by one of my favorite writers Graham Greene The story begins in 1976 when Greene inexplicably receives an invitation to visit Panama as the guest of then ruler General Omar Torrijos Herrar He immediately acceptsnowing only of Panama from the exploits of the pirate Henry Morgan and the mysterious death of Francis Drake in the area In the process he becomes an intimate friend of the ruler and his fascinating friendbody guard Chuchu a former professor soldier pilot and lothario with scores of ex lovers and children He will visit the country five times between 1976 and 1983 The beginning of the book is rife with tension as the General negotiates a treaty for the hand over of the Panama Canal with then President Jimmy Carter From there the politics of South America and Central America have a routine background role in the story as it was a time of dictators and revolts in Latin America many of them with unwanted intervention by the US through the CIA and other means Even though politics play an important background role in Greene s travels discussions and meetings with the General it is also a travelogue Greene has been an intrepid traveler all of his life thus every time he visits he is trying to see as much of the country as possible and as I read I would read up about each place and region he visited in my Panama Lonely Planet because I will be limited to the area near Panama City since I don t have the time Greene had nor the use of the General s military planes The novel also hints at personal problems Green had in France at the time as well as his struggles to write a novel about his experiences in Panama which I believe would have made a fine novel so instead we get this unclassifiable and intriguing short book instead Even after the General dies Greene makes one final visit to Panama at the behest of Chuchu and the new administration The later part of the book becomes focused on the politics of the region and bears some resemblance to Salaman Rushdie s book about Nicaragua at a similar time The Jaguar s Smile Inexplicably that book is still in print while sadly this one is not I think Greene is a major writer than Rushdie and the cast of real life characters who populate the book are larger than life as well He. Chuchu one of the few men in the National Guard whom the General trusted completely It is a fascinating tribute to.