When il duce Martinelli goes on a foreign trip and meets with the members of his c̶r̶i̶m̶e̶ ̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ political party C̶r̶i̶m̶i̶n̶a̶l̶e̶s̶ ̶D̶i̶p̶u̶t̶a̶d̶o̶s̶ Cambio Democratico first, you just know there's gonna be trouble.
Before taking off for Davos, il capo told his underlings that they better pass a law to install a Constitutional Chamber in the criminal racket also known as the Supreme Court, or otherwise he wouldn't give them any more money for those "look at me doing good" projects these legislators do in their districts.
So the legislators went to work, and approved in the first of three debates the so-called "Sala Quinta" law. Then they tried to whisk it through the second debate as well while Panama was watching a soccer game of its team against the USA, but that didn't really work out that well because of vehement opposition from the people, the Panameñistas and the PRD.
The law the Martinellistas are trying to get passed establishes a sort of a constitutional court, with all three magistrates to be appointed by Martinelli, who rule over constitutional issues. That sounds innocent enough, until you look at it a bit closer.
In fact, this court can rule over elections and anything having to do with them. It can decide the ban on reelection is unconstitutional. It can declare Martinelli taking full legislative power a la the Fujimori auto-coup to be perfectly legal:
On the night of April 5, 1992, Fujimori appeared on television and announced that he was "temporarily dissolving" the Congress of the Republic and "reorganizing" the Judicial Branch of the government. He then ordered the Army of Peru to drive a tank to the steps of Congress to shut it down. When a group of senators attempted to hold session, tear gas was deployed against them.
That same night, the military was sent to detain prominent members of the political opposition. Fujimori is currently on trial for the kidnapping of journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer, both of whom were detained by the military on the night of the coup.
One of the most criticized moves that Fujimori took was the attempt to arrest former President Alan García, in order to have him face numerous trials. Also contributing to the coup was Fujimori’s desire to remove García, who was serving as a Senator, as a political rival and potential future presidential candidate. However, García managed to escape arrest and sought political asylum in Colombia.
Worst case scenario: Martinelli grabs full power, closes down the web and media that might oppose him, and bans the people from organizing for restoration of democracy.
Imaginary? That's not what Panamanians think. About 72% of them believe that democracy is in danger because of this brutal law and Martinelli's authoritarianism, and over 50% is convinced that he won't step down in 2014 when his term is up.
In other words: The vast majority of Panamanians fears and prepares for a dictatorship. And they have more experience with dictatorships than you and I together, dear reader, so you better start paying attention.
UPDATE: In case you were still doubting; Alma Cortés, Martinelli's corporate lawyer, minister of labor and one of his hardcore defenders, just said that they are "working to obtain reelection because that is what the people are asking for". Panama, brace yourself!