Our Minister of Commerce and Industry, Roberto Henríquez, doesn't just look like a has-been ballroom dancer; he is always good for bizarre quotes too. So we just love it when he goes on TV to denounce one thing or the other. On March 17, for example, this genius warned that "the extreme left wants to take over the country", as if a communist coup was imminent - all that was going on in the real world was construction workers protesting tax hikes, while in Panama only the rich - and expat gringos in Hawaii shirts - are allowed to complain about their taxes as anyone knows.
Today, Friday, he went on Telemetro and didn't disappoint either. The accusations against Martinelli published in Costa Rica, linking him with drug trafficking and money laundering and mafia rule, Henríquez said, are nothing but an attempt to overthrow Martinelli.
Oh my God, another coup!
Henríquez went on to say that anyone can start an online publication from anywhere and accuse people! Indeed - welcome to the 21st century, bozo....
Also funny: Varela is in the US and releases statements every two hours exclaiming how close and fantastic the relationship of Panama with the Americans really is, no really, couldn't be better and we're making sooo much progress - we're telling you, dear readers, this guy is getting his ass spanked up there.
What really seems to have hurt our narco-president and his mobster clique are some pictures El País published of Martinelli being close with allies and family members during his campaign who are now all in Mexican prisons for laundering drug money - all except Martinelli himself that is. Earlier, Martinelli had claimed not to have seen some of these persons in ten years. Here are those images:
I am curious as to why the US is suddenly so worried about Martinelli.
In all ways he is really their man: Ultra right, union busting, belligerent, and favourable to the remilitarization of Panama.
This sudden disapproval of his disturbing of the institutional balance of power (between the executive and the courts), or of his dictatorial style, or his lack of respect of human rights, seems to be a a little hollow.
Even narco business gets the blessing as long as the profits aren’t shared with the poor or spent on education or medical care.
Really, when has the US given a proverbial rat’s arse about issues important to the development or well being of Latin America?
Honourable, ethical and just foreign leaders, who treat their electorate well, keep the Montenegros and Kissingers sweating under their evil sheets.
Or has there been a radical retooling of US geopolitical blundering to stir a sudden concern for real human issues? Fat chance!
Perhaps Washington really is afraid of the Mexican cartels and their expanding franchise in Panama. Something is up that has martinelli in the dog house all of a sudden.
P.S. Where are all the comments these days? This is the real news in Panama. Forget the Investor Blogs and the Chatter in Chiriqui.
If you really want to know how great it is to retire here. If you really want to know how your investments will be doing in 10 years this is where you should be reading!
One explanation could be that for the neoliberal project, and US corporations that would benefit from it, to prosper they need a set of ground rules to be respected. It won’t work if any contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, which is the current situation.
I dug up this video of what I believe to be Sr. Henríquez from the 1970’s. On guitar at the 15 and 22 second mark.