"Times have changed. It's not like the Old Days, when we can do anything we want. A refusal is not the act of a friend. If Don Corleone had all the judges, and the politicians in New York, then he must share them, or let us others use them. He must let us draw the water from the well. Certainly he can present a bill for such services; after all... we are not Communists."
(From The Godfather)
Martinelli, Guiseppe Bonissi, Tamburelli, Bianchini - the names of our government people don't just read like the menu of a Napoli slum pizza joint, they also act the part. President Martinelli promised during his campaign that he would get rid of corruption and nepotism. Instead, corruption and nepotism are omnipresent as never seen before.
The president appears to be backing away from his seemingly strong moves against corrupt former PRD leaders. The case against former president Ernesto Perez Balladares isn't really going anywhere, and rumor has it that the two business titans are negotiating a deal.
The re-opened CEMIS case, in which legislators across the political spectrum were bribed, appears to be just a show and we predict it won't go anywhere because convictions depend on testimony from those same legislators who received the bribes and now of course deny it. Similarly, nothing has been heard again about legislators from all parties stealing money from the Social Investment Fund (FIS). And so on.
Ah, but the Martinelli pizza has much more ingredients than just corruption and impunity. Today, El País in Costa Rica - which is quickly becoming the online publication Panamanians turn to for that information the oligarch media in Panama won't publish - runs a story listing over 30 people who were appointed in high places because of their family ties with our Pizzafista rulers.
Did you know, for example, that Panama's ambassador is Costa Rica is the brother of minister Mulino; that the ambassador in Taiwan is chief foreign imports of Hermanos Varela, that minister Papadimitriu had his sister appointed to the embassy in Greece, vice-president Varela his cousin in the embassy in South Korea?
Or that Martinelli himself appointed one of the few cousins he has that are not in jail , Guido Martinelli, as Panama's ambassador in Italy? And his nephew, Alvaro Dutari, as consul in Houston?
And did you know that somehow the brother of Mrs. Martinelli, the First Lady, is Panama's ambassador in Peru? And that both children of that brother have been given consulates, one in Barcelona and the other in Lima? And that Panama's consuls in Rio and Dubai are school friends of president Martinelli's children?
Or that the son of Panama City's mayor, Bosco the Clown, is consul in Toronto?
Clearly, el cambio esta en marcha. For more choice of toppings for your Martinelli pizza, see the full list at El País.