Ask Latin American expats what they think about Panama and the Panamanians and they will reply, "son muy groceros". Yes, dear readers, our little isthmus has a reputation to uphold that is unique in the hemisphere. Our celebrated president Ricardo Martinelli does his best by showing up at state visits dressed as if he's gonna plant bananas in his back yard, and his ruling style emanates a similar disdain for common courtesy and playing by the rules - it's best summarized as the "Total Fuck You Approach" (TFYA).
Panama's president and his team, a bunch of groceros? That's what one can't avoid concluding when just watching the Attorney General saga unfold. Martinelli started by, we heard, ordering Ana Matilde Gomez to arrest ex-president Ernesto Perez Balladares. Which of course she didn't - this isn't Italy under Mussolini. Then he plotted and schemed to have her removed from office, which eventually resulted in a suspension thanks to newly appointed and similarly upstanding judges in the Supreme Court like Alejandro Moncada Luna, who used to represent fugitive financial con men going after the journalists who expose them. Más groceria. To achieve the ousting of Mrs. Gomez, they happily embraced some imbecile charges filed by a low-level prosecutor from La Chorrera, one Arquimedes Sáez, whom the Attorney General caught red-handed while running an extortion racket.
So the Court suspended Gomez - in theory temporarily but they quickly made sure it would be forever - violating the constitution in the process. But hey, who cares! Los groceros somos más!
We'll save you the details of what followed - we don't want our readers puking before they reach the end of the story - but the latest is that now the schoolyard bully who took over from Gomez, Giuseppe Bonissi - who even looks as if he's constantly farting - refuses to pay Gomez the money she's due!
Yes, dear Bananamistas, things are getting vulgar! In Panama, there are always more and better ways to insult people who just did their job, like Ana Matilde Gomez. Ricardo 'il Duce' Martinelli sacks the Attorney General because she won't lock up his political enemies as ordered; to that end he uses some utterly flawed charges of a corrupt extortionist; his gang then refuses to properly charge her with anything and then they withhold the vacation money she's due. Grocero! Feo!
How's that for vulgarity? Or legal security, for that matter? Would you want to invest in a country where even the president says "fuck it" to the law? Of course you would. Panama is open for business, damn it!
INSTANT UPDATE: Martinelli may want to watch his steps, though. Ana Matilde Gomez may very well become our next president, writes La Estrella!
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