OUR maximum leader, president Martinelli, has just made his contribution to maintaining Panama's reputation as the political trashcan of the Americas, by granting political asylum to María del Pilar Hurtado, Colombia's former head of the state security service DAS. Mrs. del Pilar Hurtado was being prosecuted in Colombia because of her responsibility for a political campaign of terror, psychological torture, stalking, harassing and assaulting of political opponents, NGO people, activists and journalists during the reign of Alvaro Uribe.
It's often called a "wiretapping scandal", but the illegal tapping of phones is just a euphemism to describe what really went on. Under del Pilar Hurtado, the DAS collected all possible information on its victims, and even infiltrated through domestic servants and in schools of the children of its victims. These victims would then receive death threats and otherwise be intimidated.
María del Pilar Hurtado was only accountable to the president, Alvaro Uribe.
Uribe, whom US authorities established had significant ties with drug trafficking, was during his presidency involved in major scandals like the "parapolitica" (his and his family's ties with paramilitary death squads), ties with David Murcia and left Colombia with an abysmal human rights record.
So naturally, Alvaro Uribe is a good friend of Ricardo Martinelli.
The political asylum for María del Pilar Hurtado is widely assumed to be a favor of Martinelli to his friend.
The media in Panama are going full blast on the case. At least, that's what it looks like. La Prensa is crying foul, Telemetro and TVN have been doing multiple reports, all are giving ample space to critics of Martinelli's decision. They haven't had as much fun since Montesinos came to Panama and then left again.
Or is it just a show? In La Prensa's print edition of November 22nd, we found this intriguing advertisement in the business section, announcing a "Conferencia Magistral" of Alvaro Uribe, organized by the INCAE Business School. The theme Uribe will address is "The synergy between the State and the Private Sector" (read: "How government and Narcos can work together") and the event takes place the 25th of November in the Sheraton Hotel.
Under the sponsors, both La Prensa and TVN are listed as "Diamond Sponsors", one step above the "Gold Sponsors" which include Global Bank, BAC/Credomatic and BDO.
Why would the same media that are "exposing" the asylum scandal sponsor the former narco-president of Colombia who is behind that asylum scandal?