BRIBERY BROKER-TURNED-LEGISLATOR KEEPS PRD TRADITIONS ALIVE
PRD legislator Zulay Rodriguez, who narrowly escaped being locked up for corruption herself when she let foreign drug traffickers walk free when she was still a judge, went on a rant earlier this week in the National Assembly against Colombian nationals residing in Panama.
"I don't want new arrivals who are not yet here to import poverty and new forms of crime," Rodriguez said, adding that, "For every Panamanian who is arrested, there are five Colombians next to him."
She continued to call Colombians "scum" and said, "Where do you think credit card cloning comes from? From where? From Colombia!"
She made her comments during a debate about a law she proposed to end the so-called "Crisol de Razas" program, which legalized foreigners who had been in the country already for many years.
That law was enthusiastically supported by law professor Miguel Antonio Bernal, lawyer Evans Loo and several others. They, as well as other anti-foreigner crusaders such as Mauro Zuñiga and Erick Simpson A. have all gone uncharacteristically quiet about the xenophobic discourse of Zulay Rodriguez in the Assembly.
Of course, Colombians did not respond kindly to Rodriguez' rant. After video of her performance was widely distributed on social media and Colombia's Caracol Radio, minister of Foreign Affairs María Ángela Holguín announced that she would send her Panamanian counterpart a letter expressing her disgust about Rodriguez' comments.
Zulay Rodriguez is a member of the PRD bancada, which is in an alliance with the governing Panameñista Party of president Juan Carlos Varela. She used to work at the Panamanian Supreme Court, where she operated more or less as a broker for bribes. A recording was published in 2011 in which she could be heard discussing business issues with her husband such as laundering large amounts of money, assassinations, drug trafficking and weapons - all in typical PRD fashion.
It should be noted that neither common sense nor the numbers support Rodriguez' raving about Colombian criminals. Of the 30,000 people who were legalized through the Crisol de Razas program, only 9 were found to have committed any crime.
Alas, her proposal didn't make it: During the second round of discussions it was sent back to what is called the "first debate" (of three rounds of debate in total) because no agreement could be reached among the legislators.
Faced with a lost battle and an international uproar, Zulay Rodriguez then quickly a sort of apologized to Colombians for her insults.