It says a lot about the state of our media when Panamanians en masse turn to foreign sources to get the news on what's happening in their country. It used to be like that during the military dictatorship, and those days are back now that Martinelli rules our country. While our local journalists are sticking feathers up each other's asses and receive "awards" from Uruguayan dictatorship criminals, the heavy lifting is being done by Costa Rican digital paper El País. With La Prensa et al bought, sold and paid for, El País is the only publication connecting the dots in the scandal that links president Ricardo Martinelli and his government with money laundering and drug trafficking.
Today they're at it again, with an article explaining that Labor Minister Alma Cortés, who used to be legal counsel for Martinelli's supermarket empire, is blatantly lying about the involvement of the president's money laundering cousin with Cambio Democratico. She said that "we had to throw him out of the party in 1999", but documents show that this is not true at all, and that as late as 2001 Mrs. Cortés was defending the guy in court. El País also published pictures of Martinelli with the clique of money launderers during the 2009 election campaign.
Cortés was also defending Ernesto Chong, a close ally of David Murcia, who at one time escaped the country with the help of drug czar José Abel Almengor Echeverría. Almengor was fired for that by AG Ana Matilde Gomez but subsequently rewarded by Martinelli with an appointment as a Supreme Court Magistrate. That same Supreme Court then moved to have Ana Matilde Gomez suspended.
Martinelli's former bookkeeper, who must have knowledge about the money laundering affairs, Gioconda de Bianchini, is now Panama's comptroller of the state.
One wonders why Ricardo Martinelli isn't making his campaign finances public if there's nothing to hide?
It's interesting to see that none of Panama's "journalists" appears to be investigating the money laundering accusations, even though there are more than sufficient leads to follow.
How can someone be a journalist AND a panamanian and not want to investigate this story??? I can only think of one word: COWARDS
How incredible and painfully embarrasing it is to see La Prensa, La Estrella and the tabloids of Panama expending what must be enormous amount of energy to ignore this whole evolving narco-epic. There is an elephant in the room with them.
Martinelli really is playing both ends against the middle. One hand in the Plan Merida pot and the other in the cookie jar.
Martinelli wants Noriega back as a consultant, not so the Ol’ General can retire in peace.
Not since Noriega played the Colombians off against the DEA and visa versa has any Panamanian had the Gringo’s so duped. Back in the day the battle against the Sandinistas was reason enough to tolerate Noriega’s infidelity, but what does Martinelli have that is so important that they will play this game all over again? Where is the US press in all of this?
I agree with you, it is a re-run of the Torrijos/Noriega playbook. Create a populist image of “for the people” and execute some relatively cheap pet projects (Torrijos had Coclesito, Martinelli 100 para 70 and some others) while in reality whoring out the country to whichever globalized predator wants to join the gang bang (mining, etc.) and get rich through kickbacks, mega-fraud and money laundering.
Faustino, you hit the nail in the head. I agree with you about his intentions to bring back Noriega.
But about the US Press…. I’m guessing they don’t want to talk about this kinds of stories over there. Drug trafficking is great to mention, but not that your friends, the government in Panama, are fraudulent and corrupt. It seems they want Panama to have a good image in Americans eyes.