Telemetro just reported that Martinelli's approval rate plummeted another 11% to 49%. But that number, dear reader, refers to the month of May, which is before Martinelli set out on a collision course with the citizenry ramming the mega-controversial "sausage law" through the assembly. So one may reasonably expect the current approval rate to be another ten to twenty percent lower.
This humiliating decline in legitimacy was to be expected after a string of scandals and screw-ups by Martinelli and his mafia government. The shortlist includes highlights like (and we're borrowing from Eric Jackson's summing-it-all-up on Facebook):
- Announcing the $100 for 70 law, then figuring out that there were millionaires taking advantage, so announcing that there would be a means test, then discovering that no rules, budget or employees were in place to do this means testing;
- Stacking the Supreme Court with unqualified cronies, then illegally removing the Attorney General under some bizarre pretext, then replacing the AG with another crony and have the whole scheme approved by the now complacent Supreme Court;
- Announcing that Panama would leave PARLACEN immediately, then discovering that the Vienna Convention requires notice to abrogate a treaty so putting the move off;
- Appointing a police chief with a history of committing war crimes;
- Inviting the Colombian war into Panama by having the police offer rewards for the capture of FARC figureheads and making unprovoked attacks on Colombian rebels in the Darién province;
- Announcing that Israel is the protector of the Holy City, without considering the diplomatic implications of saying that;
- Posting photos of the SPI shooting at pictures of Arabs as targets on his website, without considering the diplomatic and security implications of that;
- Getting into this improvised power struggle over control of Carnival in Panama City, and having crowds who were doing nothing wrong pepper gassed and the hapless rival organizer arrested for something that he didn't do;
- Announcing that he would be bringing charges in a Costa Rican court about how a journalist has endangered the security of the Panama Canal, without considering that at a trial Panama would have to discuss sensitive canal security issues in a foreign court;
- Stressing relations with Costa Rica (a country much more successful in meeting development goals than Panama) by going on some insane bipolar rant about that country's Attorney General's trips to Panama and passports;
- Failing to come up with a convincing response (like publicizing his campaign finances) to allegations of money laundering, drug-funding of his campaign and political party, more than casual ties with his cousin and treasurer Ramón Martinelli who is in jail in Mexico on money laundering charges for one of that country's biggest cartels;
- Pardoning cops not only for killing some innocent teenage fishermen, but also for planting false evidence on the surviving victims to frame them for a crime they did not commit.
And that is, as said, just the short list to which now the sausage law can be added (eliminating environmental protection, police impunity, attack on worker's rights) and all the bumbling and stumbling that has invoked.
Mind you, dear reader, we're not even a year into this presidency. By this rate, in another six months he'll be holed up inside Las Garzas with protesters rattling the gates.
Related stories: US sub-secretary of commerce Francisco Sánchez said on a business forum that ratifying the free trade agreement with Panama is not on the agenda in the near future. Congrats, Martinelli!
And the real estate hustlers over at International Swindling Living get all the facts wrong in a fluff piece about Martinelli's first year in office, saying that he flies his own jet (in fact the government bought a brand new Embraer) and ignoring his cratered approval ratings and the above mentioned series of scandals, instead touting the non-existent metro project.
Now all the alerts are on!
This is what he is worried about.-
Let´s see this mini CHAVES reaction
What did you expect?
Just how many businesses here are truly legit?
Too many individuals have come to Panama with nothing and are now multi-millionaires!
Funny they must have the luck of the Irish? JaJaJa!!
Nothing really adds up here in Panama!!
The numbers never crunch right!
The Electoral Commission has over 900,000 more individuals on their books than the recent National Census has listed!!
Just like the Government here!
The statistics always dubious at best!
Most likely made up as they go to prove that they are supposedly acting in the best interest of the Panamanian People!
Yes, statistically they are Politically correct to themselves!!
But, the error rate nulls any truth in Government here!
While doing business here since 2002 I have noticed my competition in Panama sell US products for cheaper here than they are sold by the most efficient US retailers in the US. I came to the conclusion that they were rolling over stock for the purpose of explaining other cash flows. I estimate that 50 % of businesses operate on this system. Others will disagree placing the figures higher. The truly innocent will say that money laundering is almost non- existent here.
But remember that most big manufacturers (of for example US products) sell / distribute their products to the international market for different prices (like the Big Mac index). Maybe they sell cheaper to their Panamanian importers than to the USA retailers, even when the last one could have bigger volumes.
Did you compare the prices of these US products also to other Latin American countries or third/second world countries with more or less the same level of import duties as Panama (so , not Costa Rica) ?
My statement over the years stays the same: Quality products are in Panama most of the times much more expensive than in the developed countries. Rubbish from China is often cheaper in Panama than the same rubbish in developed countries…………….but there are excemptions……..
Could you give me one example of a FOREIGNER as a very succesfull businessman who made his money in a transparent and legal way in Panama ?
I can’t !!
Yes, the Businesses here in Panama seem to sell products that are not what you would call first rate, mostly product over runs, have slight to defective imperfections, and would not be sold at all even in deep discount merchandisers like Walmart in the USA or Europa!
My scooter would be a great example……
I´m talking about used equipment. We all buy from the same wholesalers in the US who make no adjustments for US or foreign markets.
There are no Latin American countries that have US products retailing cheaper than Panama. Panama is unique in the world in that it sells US products at prices just slightly above the US pricing.
Import taxes are very low here, but not enough to explain the low prices in many markets here.
Chinese junk sells here FOB prices at the Guangzhou Trade Show so something is rotten in Denmanrk!
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yes, we PRDSSsss have to keep telling lies all over, we have to get back to power, we need more money!!, hi Chavez
I have not found or have heard of any business person or company in Panama that is what the first world enterprises and governments would even closely call transparent!
The only transparency in Panama for any sort of Business is the cars they drive, the home they own, and where their children go to school!
Too many individuals with little or nothing of monetary means, making huge fortunes in such a short time!
Panama where the numbers never add up!