While our c̶a̶p̶o̶ ̶d̶i̶ ̶m̶a̶f̶i̶a̶ great president Martinelli was babbling in Davos about how Panama has real press freedom, the immigration authorities at Tocumen International M̶o̶n̶e̶y̶ ̶L̶a̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶C̶e̶n̶t̶e̶r̶ Airport stopped Canadian journalist Rosie Simms from entering the country.
Working for CBC, Canada's large public broadcaster, Simms had arrived as a fixer to prepare for a bigger crew to produce a piece about mining in Panama.
As usual in our press-friendly country where media departments are usually being run by hapless amateurs, requests for interviews with Martinelli and others had gone unanswered, and Simms had to pave the way for trouble-free shooting by the Canadians.
So, why did they stop her from entering Martinelli's press freedom paradise? The authorities now say that they really don't know and that they're "investigating". The truth is that Rosie Simms had written before about mining in Panama and done so from the perspective of those who suffer the horrendous consequences of these mining operations: the Ngöbe Bugle indigenous people.
Within days, scam pimp and terrorist arms dealer PR flack Don Winner breathlessly reported how he had made the amazing discovery that journalists actually have opinions too, and how that astonishing fact had led to the refusal of the authorities to allow Rosie Simms' entry into Panama.
The available polls show that in fact 75% of the Panamanian population is against open pit mining in the country. So, how does that make Rosie Simms so special?
The answer is that it doesn't. Here's why Martinelli's mobsters don't want prying eyes in Panama into their mining schemes: Just days after Simms was stopped at the airport, the National Assembly approved in first debate a new mining law that allows mining in the indigenous reservations. In other words, Martinelli is on his way to break his promise that mining wouldn't be allowed in indigenous territory, and he doesn't want anyone to notice.
Meanwhile, despite Martinelli's drunken drivel about press freedom, Panama fell 55 places on the RSF press freedom index and now ranks below most of Africa and Arab nations.
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