UPDATE: Now with original documents! Hello gringo government! You thought Noriega was bad, turning the country into a branch office of the narco cartels? Think again! Our own Maximo Leader, Ricardo Martinelli, is making Panama a stronghold of the Panamanian-Italian mafia, Canal included!
Failed presidential candidate Balbina Herrera revealed emails yesterday. Super-secret correspondence between Martinelli, his private secretary and Valter Lavitola, Berlusconi's bagman who's on the run for Italian justice. And it's juicy! In an email from June 2nd of this year, for example, Lavitola starts planning who will be the next administrator of the Panama Canal (Martinelli has to appoint one next year) and that it would be nice if it was someone the "capo" likes:
Tra un agno tiene Che facer el nuevo administrador del Canal. Saria bueno empensar a piensar chi poderia esser un buen candidato e quale al capo le gustaría mas.
Lavitola, according to the emails, asked and obtained from Martinelli's private secretary Adolfo de Obarrio helicopter transport, bodyguards from the Presidential Guard, cars and other such favors reminiscent of David Murcia's glamorous lifestyle in our corrupt tropics. He also positioned himself as president of a company that would benefit from a privatization law Martinelli tried to get approved and that generated a massive strike in the public health sector.
Also, Herrera obtained a copy of the contract with Finmeccanica, for the radars and helicopters and cartography services. And now there is a big fight about how much money is actually involved. The government said $300 million - which is WAY over market value of the purchased products. The contract says less. CitiBank London was supposedly going to finance the deal - but probably not the bribes and kickbacks.
True to form, the government has now entered in panic mode and former dictatorship Noriega associate Ana Belfon Vejas, who has been recycled by Martinelli into Executive Secretary of Legal Affairs of the Presidency, is making threats that it is illegal to publish these emails and she will have those who do so prosecuted.
Hello Balbina! If the media here won't do it because they're lame, send it to us and we'll run it in full! UPDATE: We have the documents, all in PDF: Emails from/to Valter Lavitola; Agafia document; Finmeccanica insurances. Agafia, if you recall, is owned by Italian-Argentinian Gustavo Franchella and for appearances sake headed by one 23 year old bunga-girl from La Chorrera, Karen De Gracia Castro.
Meanwhile, dear reader, you may wonder where all this is gonna end? It'll end in Martinelli not finishing his term. What we're watching is the slow-motion collapse of his government, and eventually they'll all be hiding from prosecutors in various jurisdictions.