The number of contradictions, bizarre statements, frantic denials and then confirmations is growing at a speed that makes us wonder, here in the Bananama Republic newsroom, if Panama still has one functioning government.
First we had minister of education, Opus Dei member Lucy Molinar, who declared on television that Martinelli had asked her to go to the Soloy Hotel and the police headquarters in Ancon to make sure that those activist leaders who had been detained were released. The siege on the Soloy hotel, where these leaders were having a meeting, was a mistake, in this version of events as given by the minister. And then nothing about people being dragged out of their hospital beds, brought to the police station, harassed, then they discover they weren't wanted so they return them to the hospital.
Which raises the question: Who ordered it? And did those who ordered it feel comfortable doing so, such a high-profile siege and mass arrests, without consulting first with the highest authorities? Apparently, they felt comfortable enough to ignore these authorities?
Then, nobody seems to be able to provide any clarity about how many arrest warrants are out there, for whom and why.
Juan Jované for example, a political figure who heads a small left-wing party, saw his house raided by police to capture him, but they were unable to produce a warrant. He says he doesn't believe there is one. The public ministry said on the radio there is an order, reports Telemetro. But they can't produce it. Martinelli said yesterday that there wasn't any warrant and that it was all rumors. And then that other incompetent yes-man, our pseudo-procurador Guiseppe Bonissi, said on TV that, well, he didn't really know, to be honest.
Is anyone still in control in this country?
Papadimitriu told viewers on TV that the government had learned its lesson from events in Bocas, that they should have consulted with unions and other groups before passing the sausage law - basically he repeated what anyone with half a brain has been saying for months now. So who ordered to fire more than 50,000 rounds of ammo in Bocas del Toro? Why have 40 people been shot in the face, and 10 from a distance of less than 5 feet? And why is Martinelli at the same time undercutting Papadimitriu's statements with wild accusations of poor people being used as shock troops and releasing partial and edited phone conversations on the web in a lame attempt to make the PRD responsible for everything?
While Papadimitriu was explaining how the government had learned its lesson, basically admitting that they'd done everything wrong, minister of security Mulino came out and said they did NOTHING wrong and that the repression was no repression at all and could have been much worse, with hundreds dead, if Martinelli had just given the order. So, which one is it?
Then, Martinelli said this afternoon that "the door is open for negotiations" under the agreement that was reached in Bocas. So, whom is he going to negotiate with if at the same time there are all these arrest warrants for the leaders of the various groups? How does this make any sense, also with Martinelli, as mentioned, stating that news about these warrants is just "rumors"?
It appears to us, dear readers, that we see confirmed today what we wrote about yesterday: There are now in fact competing factions within the government and they are working uncoordinated and often against each other.