[dropcap type="square" color="#ffffff" background="#e53b2c"]O[/dropcap]ur own Minister of Tourism, the distinguished alleged Colombian arms trafficker Salomón Shamah, has a bit of a math problem.
First he spent a million dollars on a website that was supposed to move Panama up in the world. The new visitpanama.com pages would instantly draw gazillions of tourists to our shores, to make us all rich and prosperous and thus developed.
That didn't really work out that way. The site uses a free template that has been modified a bit and runs on Joomla, a free open source content management system. The plugins used for video and such are also mostly free. It doesn't look very impressive and worse, a lot of stuff doesn't work.
Let's just say it as it is: The visitpanama.com website is a piece of shit. It's not even worth 1% of the million bucks they've thrown at it.
The site was "designed" - if you can call it that - by a company called Pensanómica S.A, headed by one Adolfo Fábrega, who used to work for - and this is just a coincidence, we are assured - the presidency.
Naturally, the press found out about it and now those pesky La Prensa reporters are making Shamah's life difficult by not swallowing his explanations.
You see, dear reader, we should understand that it's not just the website itself, but also its positioning, globally, among competing websites (what web people call "SEO"). This costs tons of money, but, said Shamah in parliament, there are results: On Alexa, the visitpanama.com website ranks number 6 IN THE WORLD!
Isn't that great? Panama beat Wikipedia and Amazon and Ebay!
It took Shamah about 24 hours to realize that nobody was gonna believe that story, especially not since anyone can easily look such things up by himself - and the next day Shamah admitted that instead of number 6, the website ranked 180,000 in the world, give or take. Still better than Costa Rica, he added, which ranked at 190,000.
But that was bullshit too. La Prensa checked and found the site at 190,783. And the majority of the not-too-many visitors comes from Panama itself, not from the target countries.
Shamah has, in other words, his numbers mixed up. The one million was the position of the website in the search engines, not the price tag in dollars - that was the number 6. That's all that trainwreck of a site is worth.