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The May 2019 General Elections (including Presidential)

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Mario Martinelli drops CD presidency bid

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MARIO MARTINELLI, the brother of, currently jailed ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, has withdrawn from candidacy for president of the board of directors of the  Cambio Democrático (CD) Party which remains a family fiefdom.

Martinelli who, like numerous others seeking spots on the board including the fugitive sons of the ex-president is facing criminal charges,  He has asked Rómulo Roux, also a candidate for the CD presidency to do the same, thus ensuring the CD, formed to further Martinelli’s political ambitions,  will remain a family business.

“I would recommend Romulo to recognize the leadership of my brother and that he should step down like I did, “Martinelli said during a political tour in Divisa on WednesdayDec. 27.

Emma Correa, president of the CD Elections Commission confirmed that she received the resignation of Martinelli.

Ricardo Martinelli and Rómulo Roux are running for the presidency of a divided party on January 21, 2018.

The former president, who has been behind bars in a Miami Detention Center since he was arrested near his Coral Gables mansion on June 12, is awaiting extradition with over a dozen criminal charges pending.



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MAY 5, 2018 / 12:41 PM

Panama to hold presidential election in May 2019

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama will hold its next general election on May 5, 2019, the country’s election tribunal announced on Saturday, with voters set to choose a new president, lawmakers and mayors to lead the Central American country for a five-year term. 

Roughly 2.7 million Panamanian voters in May next year will elect a replacement for current President Juan Carlos Varela, who is barred from re-election. 

On Saturday, the president announced a plan to kick-start a series of popular consultations on constitutional changes ahead of next year’s vote. 

Among the changes, announced at the election tribunal event, Varela said he hopes to forge a constitutional assembly that would be elected in the general election, without giving any further details. 

Varela’s critics said the unusual move was “irresponsible” just one year before the election. 

“This adds uncertainty to the electoral process,” said Romulo Roux, president of the Democratic Change party. “It’s a political measure for (Varela) to maintain his power after 2019.” 

The election tribunal said $55.9 million would be destined for the elections, the sixth such vote since Panama’s dictatorship ended.


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Only three out of ten Panamanian provinces qualify to vote in the elections

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 14:29

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Three out of the 10 provinces of Panama, including the capital provinces, qualified to vote in the general elections of May 2019, according to the Electoral Court (TE). Only 60.83 percent of the citizens.

These are the provinces of Panama, Panama West and Chiriquí, which have a number of voters estimated at 936,953, 374,118 and 339,906, respectively, representing 60.83 percent of the 2,713,698 Panamanians that appear in the Preliminary Electoral Register.

The number of voters in the provinces of Veraguas is 194,862; Coclé, 191.762; Columbus, 188,652; the Ngäbe-Buglé comarca, 136,248; Herrera, 98,831; Bocas del Toro, 92.531 and Los Santos, 81.174.

According to the Preliminary Electoral Register, the provinces and counties with the least number of voters are: Darién with 35,607; Guna Yala with 23,278; Emberá region with 7,915; Guna Madugandí with 2,927 and Guna de Wargandí with 1,321.

The Preliminary Electoral Register also includes Panamanians abroad, a total of 7,613, who requested this year, via the Internet, their registration in the Register of Resident Voters Abroad (RERE).

The preliminary register is at a stage in which citizens have the opportunity to present claims and challenges to debug it.

The governing election body said that "the final stage of debugging is that of inclusions and exclusions, which will make the Final Electoral Register ready, which will be published on February 6, 2019 with the photo of the person and his corresponding polling station  where he must choose his authorities".

Six out of the seven parties legally constituted in Panama will hold primaries between August and October to elect their candidates for the general elections of May 2019.

In May 2019 the president and vice president of Panama will be elected; as well as the 71 deputies to the National Assembly (AN) and the 20 deputies of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) with their respective alternates.

Also 81 mayors, 679 district representatives and 9 councilors. All these main positions have their alternates.



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Sittón: restrictions on social networks in Election silence violates international standards

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 10:39


The Panamanian lawyer, Sidney Sittón, sent a letter to the magistrates of the Electoral Court to claim what he considered a violation of international agreements signed by the Republic of Panama, specifically the Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDDHH) of the OAS (Organization of American States), dated March 15, 2017. The legal document is mandatory for the member states of the Commission, said Sittón.

"The Electoral Court bans a candidate from being promoted on the internet or paid social networks, outside the times established in the Decree (during the electoral closure). This violates the international standards defined in this Report of the Special Rapporteur," said the lawyer.

Sittón mentions three of the aspects that violate according to the Commission: As an individual right that reflects the human virtue of thinking about the world from their own perspective and communicating with each other; as a means for open and uninhibited deliberation on matters of public interest; as an essential instrument in the guarantee of other human rights, including political participation, religious freedom, education, culture, equality among others".

Along with the letter Sittón attached the report called "Standards for Free, Open and Inclusive Internet", urging the magistrates of the Electoral Court to take the necessary corrective actions to avoid what he regards as a violation of international standards.

Here is the full document: SittonalTribunalElectoral.pdf



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“Fake” pineapple drug video hurting Panama

Panama pineapple exports
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A video showing a shipment of pineapples contaminated with drugs in  Spain and carrying the “Panama Exports” label is one of the first dirty tricks in the upcoming election campaign according to Panama’s export sector.

At a Wednesday, July 4 press conference  Rosmer Jurado, president of the  Panama Exporters  Association  (Apex) pointed out that Panama does not export to that destination and said that the dirty campaign was harming exporters and the country brand Panama Exports.

He said that the video circulating on social networks showing the seizure of a  drug contaminated pineapple shipment with the Panama Exporta seal is false.

“In a pre-election year these dirty campaigns arise, but the damage is not done to the existing  government but to the export sector that in recent years  has been  struggling to get ahead,” said Jurado

Agricultural authorities  have warned that this type of “dirty” campaign damages the image of Panama, and of Panamanian exporters and producers, and negatively impacts the country’s economy and the generation of jobs in  this sector



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OPINION: Time to end Panama vote buying

Deputy Sergio Galvez distributing hams to constituents
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In recent times, a Phoenician and transactional attitude has proliferated with respect to the of deputies and their legislative loyalties to exchange  merchandise  for votes.

Thus, the citizen ultimate right and duty has been exchanged for hams, bags of cement, appliances, cash, and offers of scholarships or jobs in the public sector. As a nation, we have witnessed the transformation. This is how the turncoats have thrived and the lists of “botellas” [non-existent jobs and sinecures] have proliferated and citizens extorted to be part of the endless corruption networks that surround the National Assembly. They vote for a botella,  the action of going to the ballot box or changing colors instigated by a sticky jingle, are acts of irresponsibility and selfishness.

The lack of medicines, the condition of the streets, the high cost of living, mediocre education, public insecurity and impunity in the great cases of corruption are our collective fault because as citizens we have chosen the one that suits us, or perhaps the one that seems the least bad of the options. It is up to us to inform ourselves about the proposals of the various candidates, question their demagogic approaches and know their CV conscience Only in this way will we be able to build a better Panama. Let’s start with our vote



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10 candidates facing criminal probes

Riccardo Francolini and Martinelli, both facing multiple investigations
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At least 10 people running for election in Panama next year are facing criminal proceedings in the country’s courts with ex-president Ricardo Martinelli topping the list.

The Electoral Code gives electoral penal jurisdiction to candidates and party managers from the moment their application is approved and up to  15 days after the proclamation, which delays judicial proceedings.


Alma Cortes, out on bail

It does not matter if you are investigated for more than one case reports La Prensa. If a Panamanian is not condemned, he or she has no impediment to being a candidate for president of the Republic, deputy, mayor or corregimiento representative.

That window of opportunity  means  a long list of politicians who  have processes in the Public Prosecutor’s Offices or the Supreme Court, are campaigning for selection including former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), who is already in  court for allegedly spying on communications of  at least 150 people,  and ha other major criminal investigations waiting in the wings.

He  is provisionally detained in El Renacer prison, but was nominated for deputy in circuit 8- 8 in the Cambio Democrático (CD) primary on September 30.



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Varela is present, willingly or unwillingly, in Panama’s primaries for 2019

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 16:16

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The mass of candidates to take office as president of Panama as of June 2019 will be maintained with a "varelista" touch in all the political parties and independent movements, despite the fact that the country's president, Juan Carlos Varela, says he remains isolated from the political struggle.

The president has successfully managed the country’s administration, according to the main foundations of his government's agenda, despite the fact that his Panameñista Party (PPa), chaired by the brother of the head of state, deputy José Luis Varela, it is a minority in the National Assembly of Panama.

Also, despite the corruption scandals that have hit him, such as the Odebrecht case, the Panama Papers, the Blue Appel case, among others, the "varelismo" has managed, until now, to success in the "local" politics, although the decline is inexcusable after four years in office.

But this cannot prevent from considering that the influence of this convent leader - due to its religiosity - weighs in the definition of the candidates to succeed him and it was already shown by the Cambio Democrático (CD) party, by his arch-enemy Ricardo Martinelli (2004- 2009), of which he was his vice president, because he lost control of the party with Rómulo Roux as leader, whom they call "Varela's nephew".

Last Sunday Roux was overwhelmingly chosen as the next presidential candidate of CD, which means that this group has just lost the possibility of a candidate distanced from Varela, according to opponents of the Panamanian presidential candidate.

Roux, with a speech that can take its toll on him later, is based on the alleged inefficiency of the Varela administration to say that the country "is in a hole", from which "a new change" will take him out at the head.

The year that Martinelli - now imprisoned for a case of illegal wiretapping - left office, the country grew by 5.1 percent and was already in a clear slowdown since 2011 (11.3%), 2012 (9.8) and 2013 (6.9), according to the Comptroller's data, mainly due to the end of the large infrastructure works and the global recession that affected his coffers.

Varela had to "deal with the worst part" and therefore he decided to maneuver with the CD and the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), with which he maintained a three-year parliamentary romance, to apply his countercyclical plan of investments and indebtedness.

Therefore, in 2015 Panama's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 5.6 percent, slowed slightly to 5 percent in 2016 and climbed to 5.4 last year, while this year is expected to reach 4.5 percent, due to a strike in construction staged last April.

But no one can say that the next government will find a country sunken or "in recession," as one deputy of the CD carelessly said in the midst of the primary elections that Roux won last Sunday.

In order to enter a recession, the country must have two consecutive semesters in zero or less growth. This is far from happening in Panama, with the interoceanic canal representing a major project that reaches millions of dollars in income and the next year it will be represented by the large-scale copper mining export in the Caribbean.

In the PRD one of the favorites in the primaries to be held on September 16, candidate Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo, who will have to deal with former President Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999) and Deputy Zulai Rodríguez, among others less notorious 18 candidates.

But "Nito" has already been labeled as "friendly fire", and "varelista".

Although CD members say the internal polls are headed by deputy Zulai, a lawyer who has become notorious for her "anti-valerismo" and fiery speeches that invites disrespect.

Panameñismo will opt for the primaries on October 28 between the mayor of the capital, José Isabel Blandón -non "varelista", but faithful to the party- and former Housing Minister Mario Etchelecu, the "zero circle" of the president.

Not surprisingly, among a dozen independents, of whom only three may be presidential candidates, stands out an unknown person, Dimitri Flores, who is linked to Varela's private secretary.

Another is the independent deputy and former prosecutor Ana Matilde Gómez, who is linked to the circle of Stanley Motta, the Panamanian tycoon and principal donor of the Varela campaign.

Attorney Ricardo Lombana is in third place, according to the latest figures of the Electoral Court (TE) to last June, but we will have to wait if the satiety with the parties overcomes the Panamanian tradition of voting opposition or breaking the scheme and repeating the PPa or clinging to an "independent" candidate.

By Luis Miguel Blanco



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Over 65,000 back independent presidential pre-candidate

The Ana-Matilde team
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ANA MATILDE GÓMEZ, the National Assembly’s only Deputy with no party strings attached has submitted over 65,000 signatures of citizens supporting her bid to become an independent pre-candidate for the Presidency of Panama to the Electoral Tribunal (ET).

The group that backs Gomez will hold a second verification session of signatures, as according to them they have managed to rescue some signatures that had been eliminated by ET staff,

The information was confirmed during a meeting held by the current deputy with the members of her  National Advisory Committee In the meeting, which lasted almost six hours, the members of the Advisory Committee analyzed the different opinion polls highlighting that the majority of the population is inclined towards an independent candidacy.

Gómez is one of the more than 20 people who aspire to the Presidential candidacy through independent channels. Only three candidates will be chosen from the list.

The independent pre-candidates have until the first week of January 2018 to deliver their lists to the Electoral Tribunal.



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Mayor Blandon confirms run for presidency  

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PANAMA MAYOR  José Isabel Blandón took the first official step in his bid to move from City Hall to the presidential palace on, Sunday, August 19 when he registered his presidential pre-candidacy for the currently ruling Panameñista Party.

Blandón is the first candidate in the party to formalize his bid.

Blandon along with family members and supporters made his registration at the headquarters of the Arias Madrid Foundation.

Blandón promises, that if elected to the Presidency,  he will call a referendum so that the people can decide whether or not they want to change the constitution.

In his speech, after the nomination, Blandón said  “I am not in politics for ambition, but by conviction. I’m not here to protect anyone’s interests.”

The Panameñista primaries will be next Sunday, October 28.



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The mayor of Panama City launched his presidential candidacy for 2019

Mon, 08/20/2018 - 00:41


The mayor of Panama City, José Isabel Blandón, of the ruling Panameñista Party (PPa), launched his presidential candidacy for the general elections of May 2019 in a public ceremony on Sunday.

The burgomaster will face former Housing Minister Mario Etchelecu, until now the other candidate announced publicly, in the primaries of the PPa, to be held on October 28.

"With this postulation, Blandón takes the first step for the political consolidation inside his party, and later, to offer the country a proposal of national unity that integrates the different currents of political, social, cultural, scientific and sporting thought" said a spokesman for his campaign team.

During the nomination act, Blandón addressed the supporters who accompanied him, making a historical tour of his political life, from his student stage and four periods as deputy (20 years) since 1994, the first as a substitute.

The politician won the mayoralty of the district of Panama in the last general elections of May 2014.

Blandón, who defends that during his local mandate the Mayor's Office of Panama has had positive transformations, opted for "deep institutional reforms" if he was chosen in the PPa and then win the Presidency in May 2019.

He emphasized that Panama "will need a leader who knows how to listen and make decisions for the next 5 years, who does not fear political cost, who is capable of delegating and knows how to conciliate."

Combating crime with technology, measures to boost, innovate and diversify the economy with a strong commitment to tourism, the logistics sector, innovation and to promote agriculture were some of the contents of the work plan he presented.

Blandón said that for the period 2019-2024, "the success of this nation will depend on the effort and responsibility of all," so it will not be the task of one person or a single political party.

The mayor said that "with humility, I submit my career, my actions and my experience to public scrutiny", while committing to a different campaign, based on respect, with concrete proposals and with the firm intention of promoting national unity.

The Mayor's Office of Panama is considered the second most important political post in the country after the Presidency.



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Navarro abandons presidential bid to back Balladares

Running mates,?
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Former  two-term Panama Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro has pulled out of the race to become the PRD presidential  candidate for a second time and will instead back former president  “El Toro”  Perez Balladares

According to Balladares the two have a long-standing friendship and when Navarro ran for Mayor he had his full support.

Perez Balladares said on Wednesday, August 22   that it seemed to Navarro that it was better to “get together, and I have offered him the role, as vice president, which I hope will be accepted.” He added that the unity of the party is fundamental.

Navarro was the PRD presidential campaign in 2014 when he ran a lackluster campaign and was accused by some of holding meetings with then-President Ricardo Martinelli with whom he allegedly had business deals.



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Three CD candidates withdraw bids

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Three wannabe candidates for deputies of the fractured  Democratic Change Party (CD) resigned their candidacies for the next elections in the September 30 primaries says an Electoral Tribunal (TE)  announcement published  August 30.

Alma Cortés who aspired to be a candidate for deputy for the circuit 8-6 of San Miguelito for the CD, announced her resignation from the group and said she will run for newly created Alliance Party of deputy José Muñoz.

Mariela Jiménez also declined her nomination for a deputy for the circuit 8-8. Current substitute deputy Diego Lombana circuit 8-7 left the party which he supported since 2011 when he decided to leave the Panameñista Party.



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Nito Cortizo will be the standard-bearer of the PRD for the elections of 2019

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 19:46

After the primary elections on Sunday the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) defined the candidate who will contest the Panamanian Presidency in the General Elections of 2019. It is Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo who had 16 other contenders in the internal electoral process of the Torrijista collective.

Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo Cohen is a 65-year-old Panamanian businessman who was deputy of the National Assembly (AN) between 1994 and 2004, and between 2004 and 2006 he was Minister of Agricultural Development during the Government of Martín Torrijos. In 2008 and 2012 he also participated in the PRD primaries but on both occasions he ended up declining to his aspirations.

The precandidate and deputy for the PRD, Zulay Rodríguez, who had spoken most critical of Cortizo, acknowledged her defeat and expressed her intention to work for the unity of the political collective.

With a participation of close to 60% of the PRD electoral roll, Nito Cortizo obtained a landslide victory when capitalizing 67% of the votes, Zulay Rodríguez followed with 18%. A total of 566,604 people were summoned for the electoral process of the political group in which the candidates for deputies, mayors and township representatives were also chosen.


The precandidate and deputy for the PRD, Zulay Rodríguez, who had spoken most critical of Cortizo, acknowledged her defeat and expressed her intention to work for the unity of the political collective.

With a participation of close to 60% of the PRD electoral roll, Nito Cortizo obtained a landslide victory when capitalizing 68% of the votes, Zulay Rodríguez followed with 18%.



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Latin American politicians campaigning from jail cells

Lula and Martinelli at the opening of Cinta Costera 2 built by Odebrecht
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Ricardo Martinelli the first Panamanian to run for a popular election candidacy from jail joins a unique band of Latin Americans with the gall to seek office while accused of major crimes.

Panama’s  Constitution and the Electoral Code allow it, as the former president, charged with illegal wiretapping and embezzlement, for which he could draw a 21-year sentence presses ahead.

Similar cases have been registered in Peru, Mexico, and Brazil reports La Prensa

In the 2016 elections in Peru, Gregorio Santos, of the Direct Democracy party, was a presidential candidate from the Piedras Gordas prison, in Lima,

Santos, who was governor of Cajamarca between 2011 and 2014, at the time of running was investigated for crimes of collusion and illicit association to commit a crime.

In Mexico, during the July elections this year, from prison, Alfonso Miranda Gallegos, and Francisco López Villafranca won the mayoralties of Morelos and Tamaulipas, respectively.

The first has charges of kidnapping and organized crime. The second for homicide and criminal association.

The former president of Brazil, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, launched his candidacy for the presidency of his nation in August from Curitiba prison following the Lava Jato case.

However, Lula who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption and money laundering was denied the possibility of returning to power by t the Superior Court of Brazil.

In Panama Martinelli got the nod on Sunday from some of the 11%  of CD members who bothered to turn out for the primaries to run for deputy for the circuit 8-8.

It revives the debate on the interpretation given to the term electoral residence and the advantages that gives the political class.

Article 153 of the Constitution says that one of the requirements for a deputy is “being a resident of the corresponding electoral circuit for at least one year immediately prior to the application “.

Martinelli has been behind bars in the US  and Panama since  June 12 last year.



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Moderator comment: This news article could be placed in any of several different forums. It ended up here, given the focus of the article in that the common link in the various corruption probes is the shielding provided by election law.


19 facing corruption probes sheltered by electoral law

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At least 19   people investigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) in high profile cases of alleged acts of corruption have sought the protection of Panama’s quaint electoral penal jurisdiction, to delay their indictments while running for office.

Seven of the people are linked to bribes from the Odebrecht construction company.

Among them are former ministers Jaime Ford, Federico Suárez and Frank De Lima, and the brothers

Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares. The other 11 people with electoral criminal jurisdiction are related to the cases of the firm Mossack Fonseca (2), communal meetings (5), operation “El Gallero” (3) and anomalies in the Mayor of Donoso in Colón (1) reports La Prensa.

The ex-judge of the Electoral Tribunal, Guillermo Márquez Amado explained that the figure of the electoral criminal jurisdiction sought to prevent the rulers from persecuting the opposition on the pretext of criminal investigations. “But, unfortunately, what we have seen more and more frequently, is that people closely linked to crime are running for popular election, and seeking the protection of that electoral criminal jurisdiction that was to protect the innocent from persecution.”



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Moderator comment: This news article could just as easily have been posted in the Security and Safety forum in a different category. It just ended up here, given the circumstances. If anyone feels strongly, this can be moved to the other forum.


Pre-candidate’s bodyguard murdered at campaign HQ

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The man who served as escort and driver of a  Panameñista Party primaries pre-candidate was shot and killed during an armed robbery at the candidate’s campaign headquarters on Saturday afternoon  October 27.

Jorge Nash was shot while attempting to thwart a robbery which started when a group of armed assailants entered the office on  Transístmica highway, in the Betania district, soon after noon and stripped campaign workers who were in a meeting of personal belongings and cash.

According to witnesses Nash, who was escorting Carlos González the candidate for deputy and former director of the National Land Authority (Anati), struggled with one of the gunmen and was shot.

Nash died minutes after being transferred to the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex of the Social Security Fund (CSS).

President Juan Carlos Varela and Security Minister Alexis Bethancourt went to the hospital

The Public Ministry (MP) on  Twitter that agents of the National Police (PN) are on the trail of the people involved in the robbery.



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23 hours ago, Moderator_02 said:

Moderator comment: This news article could just as easily have been posted in the Security and Safety forum in a different category. It just ended up here, given the circumstances. If anyone feels strongly, this can be moved to the other forum.




Panama singer claims security crisis after campaign murder

Jorge Nash and Joey Montana
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Panama singer-songwriter  Joey Montana said Saturday, October 27 that Panama is in the midst of a security crisis.

The statement came after hearing of the murder earlier in the day of his escort and friend Jorge Nash, while acting as a bodyguard to a political candidate.

“We are in a security crisis, when are they going to accept it, when are they going to do something that reallymakes a change?” said Montana, following the gunning down of Nash, in a failed robbery at the campaign center of the Panameñista pre-candidate Carlos González.

“I have never believed in governments, and less now. They have never solved this dilemma of crime and they do not pass stronger laws to curb these people once and for all. I am sure they will never change and someone who does this does not deserve forgiveness ” Montana wrote in his Instagram account.

He described Nash as “a pure soul, an honest person, a friend, an exemplary father … You gave your life to defend others, you were always a warrior, and that’s why I admired you so much, little brother”.

Nash died in the middle of a shooting in the campaign center of González, pre-candidate for deputy.

According to the Homicide Prosecutor’s Office, several eyewitnesses reported that two armed criminals entered the premises where a meeting was being held. In the midst  of a struggle with one of the assailants, Nash was shot three times



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On 10/28/2018 at 7:53 AM, Moderator_02 said:

Moderator comment: This news article could just as easily have been posted in the Security and Safety forum in a different category. It just ended up here, given the circumstances. If anyone feels strongly, this can be moved to the other forum.




Reward for bodyguard killer

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The National Police (PN) force is offering a $ 10,000 reward, for information to identify and capture those involved in the murder of the bodyguard  of a candidate for  deputy at a campaign HQ  on Saturday, October 27

The Police provided the telephone numbers  511-9339, 511-9081 and extension 104. The information will be treated confidentially.

The events occurred at the Carlos González voting center, in the Mahelí Building, in El Carmen, where armed robbers entered the premises and clashed with the bodyguard who received three shots to the chest. He died minutes later at the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex.



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Presidential hopeful Blandon knows “the monster inside”

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The 51-year-old lawyer and Mayor of Panama, José Isabel Blandón took one step closer on his well-crafted path to the presidency of Panama on Sunday, October 28 when he obtained the ruling Panamenista Party endorsement as its candidate for the May 2019 election.

He obtained 56.7% of the votes, against former Housing Minister  Mario Etchelecu and 49% of the 368,428  party members turned out to vote.

If elected he will become the first president to have served as a parliamentary deputy and mayor  of Panama which gives weight to his  pronouncement : “I know the monster inside” followed by the more predictable promise “It has to be  replaced” …by a much better, efficient and transparent system to eliminate clientelism and corruption,

During a fiery acceptance speech, he told chanting supporters that in his first week as president he will “call for a referendum so that the people can decide whether they want a constituent assembly or not,” an idea he had espoused during the 45-day  internal campaign.

He also said he was in favor “of changing the manner of appointing Supreme Court Judges of depriving the Executive of powers and strengthening local governments.”

The decentralization helped burnish of Mayor Blandon’s go-getting image as it helped fund many of his more ambitious proposals for the city.

Blandon’s nomination completes the rival party primaries putting five candidates into the field to be joined in January by three independents decided by those that get the most signed up supporters.



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Martinelli eyeing Vice-President niche

Martinelli - Jail or high office?
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In his current home in El Renacer  prison, Panama  ex-president Ricardo Martinelli who for five years ruled over  one of the most corrupt administrations in the history  of the  country  continues to dream of a return to the corridors of power which lead to the treasure chests of the nation which, during his  reign were plundered by a gang of thieves who during the 2009 election mocked the preceding administration as those who came with empty pockets  and left as millionaires.

While he is awaiting trial for illegally snooping on opposition politicians, journalists, lawyers, and businessmen. his band of well-heeled lawyers, have collectively banked millions of dollars attempting to get their client clear of a potential 21-year jail term and multiple other corruption hooks hiding in the wings.

After being approved as a candidate for deputy by the CD party he founded to pursue his political ambitions. He set his sights higher and said he would run for Mayor of Panama.

Meanwhile his wife Marta. The former First Lady who unsuccessfully ran for Vice-president in the last election is trolling the internet seeking support for Martinelli to become the VP running mate for  Cambio Democrático (CD), presidential candidate Rómulo Roux, for the  2019 election.

Lawyer Luis Eduardo Camacho, and longtime Martinelli spin doctor, still reveling in the flawed decision of the Supreme Court to send Martinelli’s wiretapping case to a lower court  broadcast this gem:

“Former President Ricardo Martinelli could accompany Rómulo Roux in the campaign as a candidate for vice president. This not only consolidates our party but also brings a proven experience to the proposal that Cambio Democrático has to serve the country again as it did under the Martinelli administration, where there was quality of life for the people, growth and economic development, there was employment and citizen security, things that are absent today and the people suffer.”



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What would you do as President?

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 00:13

This is the second round of opinions that we gathered from our  interviewers that shows the Panamanians vision of what the future of the country should be, which is not discouraging  due to the variety of options presented.

Luis Aldeano, an independent candidate for deputy, answered: "the truth is not easy. I can not ask a president in his first year to change all things in this country. Definitely that is a President's decision but if he is not surrounded by people who have a clear conscience, who love his family, nothing will happen".”The first thing the President must do is get rid of the cover ups and protectionism that current politicians have. Brother, here in Panama there is money to inject in education. If we want to change a country we have to work hard on this matter, " Aldeano concluded.

Carolina Dementiev, an Iron Man athlete, considers that this is a difficult question (What would you do as President?). "I believe that I do not have that answer. I do not have it, but I think there is a very sensitive issue in the education system, in the health system, and obviously in the legislative system. There are serious problems in those systems. How to do it, I do not know, because it's not my specialty, but you have to listen to the debates."

The lawyer Sidney Sitton states that the role of the President must have a significant  political will to make real changes: "It would be the first time that I am facing an election in Panama and I do not know who I am going to vote for. I have not yet heard a public policy statement from any of the candidates. It seems that to be a candidate you have to be blind, deaf and dumb, and say absolutely nothing, only with a political structure to try to win elections. Facing that,  I would say the following, I do not think that this is a matter of laws in Panama.

"To transform the Constitution, of course that we have to adapt it but I think this is more than a matter of wills. You have three organs of the State but in reality it is one that dominates the other two. You have an executive body with too many unlimited powers and you have a Supreme Court that since 1903 is kneeling to political power. The fundamental pillar for a democracy to work is that the justice system works, "said the lawyer.

The cartoonist Hilde Sucre said: "I think the state organization is very crowded and many people depending on the Government. Why not encourage more the economy, create more companies and give real work to people. " In addition to the issue of the public state, he believes that education should be on the agenda of whoever wins as president".



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