Daily El Pais in Costa Rica quotes a number of sources today implicating Panama's president Martinelli in massive laundering of drug money from Mexico through his Super99 supermarket chain, his election campaigns and a charitable foundation he runs.
According to El País, the president's cousin, Ramón Ricardo Martinelli Corro, was arrested in Mexico as then Panamanian drug czar José Abel Almengor Echeverría blew up the scheme, thus avoiding that Martinelli Corro would be arrested in Panama and expose his accomplices in a massive money laundering scheme for the violent Beltrán Leyva drug cartel. Almengor was then appointed as a Supreme Court magistrate by Martinelli - a move that was widely protested.
The paper quotes sources related to the investigation from Panama, Mexico and the US saying that drug money was used to fund Martinelli's election campaigns. Martinelli Corro was the treasurer of Cambio Democratico, Martinelli's political party.
El País also alleges that the US has lowered its diplomatic relations with Panama by moving its ambassador to London without replacing her because of Martinelli's involvement in money laundering and his authoritarian ruling of the country. It quotes high government officials from the US as being worried about the "mafia style" government of Martinelli and his team. The Obama administration feels, according to El País, that they are the only counterweight to Martinelli's mobster policies.
And as if that's not enough, the paper quotes Panamanian sources from the public ministry saying that Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez was removed from her post to stall an advancing investigation into massive money laundering through Martinelli's business empire.
The bombshell is published just before Martinelli visits Costa Rica for the inauguration of its new president. Is there an arrest warrant out yet?
He really is Uribe’s mini-me! Bombshell is right! It will be fascinating to see how this one plays out. Panamanians seem to vote in progressively worse leaders. Just when one thinks that it couldn’t get any worse…surprise!
Is it blaming the victim to say that these are the leaders the Panamanians deserve?
Who else is more appropriate to lead a people that pride themselves on being crooks and cheats.than such an exemplary juega vivo like Matinelli?
Chucha! Este man de 99 si es bien vivo!!
Well, if this all turns out to be proven and true, let’s hope he will just be arrested and no invasions are needed….
The problem in Panama is that the opposition can’t get its act together. I don’t mean the PRD; they’re history and were just different front men for the same elite, a different head of the same monster. But nobody seems to be able to create an alternative for the monster itself.
I think one cause is 20 years of dictatorship with visible US support, in other words, an enemy from which you can’t win. And another is that Panama is a hedonist country. Protest Monday to Friday and then party in the weekend.
All these shattered opposition groups….. One against mining, the next for a better justice system, the other a labor union, and they don’t realize that each of them is fighting exploitation and should join forces on that theme. And thus they never get anything done.
The silence from the Panamanian newspapers is deafening. Only a small
report in La Prensa, that conveniently left out any mention of money laundering. Is it true that at this moment the US has no ambassador in Panama?? Surely this is big news??
The Panamanian papers are pussies. Plus, who knows who else is touched by this money laundering scandal.
It’s true, Mrs. Stephenson (sp?) has been moved to London and nobody has been appointed to replace her.
Hey, we want our money back! Those Mexican farmers and Mexican gangsters surely didn’t mean to bail out Panamanian ne’er-do-wells.
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I must agree with much of this article. I’ve lived in Panama and have seen the country’s quick rapid demise. Violence is at an all time high and insecurity is the flavor of the day. People are encarcerated in their own homes and there is an environment of intolerance should you choose to speak up against the Martinelli government (as of now that seems to include the media as well for they have acquired hefty advertising contract from the government, yet another way to control dissemination). What is event more serious is the recent article from a Costa Rican newspaper denouncing Martinellis involvmente with one of the worst drug traffiking organizations hence why two of his cousins are currently jailed in Mexico. Mr. Martinelli claims his cousins are the “Black Sheep of the family” yet his cousins where the treasurers to his presidential campaign. Was drug money used to financed Martinellis presidential campaign without is knowledge? Most with any sense of logic are having a hard time believing that. He claims he himself had plans to meet his cousin at Tocumen airport to jail him.. why didnt he? He just happen to come up with that very sincere statement (no pun intended) after the Costa Rican paper pais.cr uncovered his dealings with his cousins. He has claim many times on public television that he feel’s helpless against the high levels of violence that has recently taken over this once democratic country. His tactic of defense are to discredit his opponents instead of asserting the facts. His people(choosen by him) are planted throughout all government bodies hence squashing any possibilities of checks and balances and with this latest and most distrubing news of his link to his cousins narcotraffiking many fear Panama is destine to become a narco state. There is no one organization or state entity investigating these allegations against the president, on the contrary, they government is blatantly discrediting these reports which have surges with very disturbing and public prooves to his involvement and knowlege with the financing and money laundering, through his chain of supermarkets, that makes this case even more worrysome and worthy of international scrutiny and investigation. There are many injusted being executed by this new government and it appears that Panamanian are in a helpless position to fight the government due to laws being enacted against free speech (with prison terms involved) and or fear real threats of physical violence to oneself and family.
the country is insecure/crruption i din every corner, and as the other
presidents Moscoso, Perez Balladares etc every one has a history of having deals with the cartels ???? evebody in Panama knows that but people keep quiet. Colombian and mexican mafia has made panama their home. Drugs and crime makes every day news, but nothing is done!!!!!