At stake: The hydroelectric projects of his friends, in which he appears to be a partner as well as one Felipe Virzi, to whom he is related and whose fine track record includes funneling drug money into presidential election campaigns. As we understand it, the president is even threatening that he will take down everyone around him if he himself goes under because his dealings are torpedoed.
The legislators he bought – he demands that they deliver on the bribes he paid them. Same for people even closer to him; he let them in on “deals” and wants to be reimbursed, now. That obviously places these characters in a classic catch-22 situation: If they screw over the Ngöbe there will be protests even worse than before, and if they screw Martinelli it may be the end of what passes for their political careers.
While Martinelli is screaming and hiding, Ngöbe chief Silvia Carrera publicly mopped the floor with him tonight in the National Assembly. “If I were Martinelli, I too would be ashamed to face my people”, she said.
“He stated that we could hang him from the highest tree if he’d break his promise. I don’t think the people will do it, but he indeed deserves to be hanged”, was another comment she made in front of the assembled lawmakers and others. She repeated that Martinelli’s “invitation” to come over and have some booze at the presidency was insulting and condescending.
It must be a completely new and humiliating experience for Martinelli, Btesh, Virzi and the whole goddamn clan of mobsters that rules this country to be beaten by AND a woman AND an “indian” who only has three years of secondary education AND isn’t rich – and who then comes to the Assembly to sling the truth into their ugly faces.
Throughout the country, large groups of Ngöbe are having vigils and even protests, and they stay on alert to take action again if necessary. Several marches demanded justice in the two assassinations of protesters, one of which a minor who was shot in the face at close range with a rifle – which the police unsuccessfully tried to spin as an accident with a molotov cocktail.
And what about the police? Today they returned in a large convoy to the capital, thus complying with the terms of the agreement of yesterday. Their colleagues applauded them upon arrival at headquarters – nobody else would. And then they distributed a picture (see above) of chief Gustavo Perez showing a deadly weapon that had been used against his men during their heroic attack on those unarmed pesky indians: He had found a pebble. We kid you not.