Home Blog Page 3

Petaquilla gold scam legal rep is the PRD’s VP candidate

0
Petaquilla
April 2014: former miners from Richard Fifer’s and Ricardo Martinelli’s Petaquilla Gold swindle block the road over unpaid wages and Seguro Social contributions. Nowadays what are left behind are toxic holes from which water leaks in the rainy season and dust blows in the dry season, plus many legal and financial messes. Photo by Radio Temblor.

VP picks: Nito goes with gold scheme lawyer, Roux with reporter, FAD with economist

by Eric Jackson

Once upon a time there was an environmental crime, labor law violation and pump and dump insider stock trading swindle known as Petaquilla Gold. Its locus of activity was in the mountains between northern Cocle province and the western part of Colon’s Costa Abajo, but it was registered in Canada as Petaquilla Minerals. At one relatively brief moment it spread to Spain, promising to reopen a gold mine in Andalusia that dates back at least as far as ancient Roman times. Eventually it all fell apart. The Andalusia regional government kicked them out and Canadian stock exchanges de-listed their shares. However, Petaquilla lives on in a plethora of criminal and civil cases in Panamanian courts and prosecutors’ offices and as a stack of unpaid bills.

Now its attorney and legal representative, 35-year-old José Gabriel Carrizo, will be the PRD candidate for vice president. Presidential standard bearer Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo chose him over the weekend, talking about Carrizo’s wonderful family and membership in the next generation of politicians. Pundits noted that Carrizo is from Penonomé, seat of a Cocle province where the PRD is usually weak and which Cortizo would surely like to win this time.

Fifer, dubbed “the father of modern mining in Panama” by a gushy industry publication, is out on bail and facing multiple criminal charges. He has a June 1 trial date for allegedly defrauding the Social Security Fund. Ricardo Martinelli remains in jail — but might soon be granted bail — and has a March trial date on warrantless eavesdropping and theft charges. The former president argues that on procedural and treaty grounds he can’t be tried for an insider trading and money laundering scheme in which worthless Petaquilla stock was hyped as something valuable and sold through a chain of intermediaries, with the proceeds hidden via another chain of intermediaries.

Perhaps the most important thing about the stock swindle and money laundering case is that it’s most probably also a murder case — government securities analyst Vernon Ramos disappeared in 2012 while investigating the case. There is no statute of limitations on such cases and in the event of a procedural bar to prosecution here, by treaty there remains the opportunity to ship the accused off to The Hague to be tried by the International Criminal Court.

By Electoral Tribunal records, Carrizo is one of Nito Cortizo’s main contributors, having delivered more than $90,000 to the PRD candidate’s primary campaign. Due to Electoral Tribunal practices, the record would not distinguish whether Carrizo was a fundraiser and bundler of other people’s donations or whether that was his own money. A 10-year member of the PRD, Carrizo has held no public office. His living has been made in the practice of law — of which being legal representative of Petaquilla was — and in his family’s real estate business. He is a graduate of the USMA law school.

The other VP hopefuls

Meanwhile Cambio Democratico presidential candidate Rómulo Roux has tapped former Telemetro reporter Luis Casís as his running mate. Casís comes from the tradition of journalists who deny having a point of view, is unaffiliated with any political party, has never held any public office and says that he has no politics.

The leftist Broad Front for Democracy — running to advance a cause rather that seriously contending for the presidency — has collectively chosen University of Panama economist Maribel Gordón as the running mate of its presidential candidate, labor leader Saúl Méndez. Gordón has been one of the principal thinkers behind the left wing of the Panamanian labor movement and its CONUSI labor federation. That the militant SUNTRACS construction workers’ union has consistently had a very good tactical sense of what the market will bear in its contract negotiations can in part be attributed to her.

The independents have already chosen their running mates — Ricardo Lambana recruiting former Electoral Tribunal magistrate Guillermo Márquez Amado, Ana Matilde Gómez running with former agriculture minister Jorge Arango, and Marco Ameglio having chosen former diplomat and legislator Mario Boyd Galindo. The Panameñista nominee, José Isabel Blandón, has yet to announce his choice.

 

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.
 

bw donor button

vote final

$

FB_2

Tweet

spies

US Air Force C-17 transport planes at Howard today

0
Howard small
For a higher resolution version of this image, click here. These are US Air Force C-17 transport planes at Howard, a former US Air Force base in Panama that’s still a US forward operating location, with a hangar staffed by mercenaries. But Howard is also now a multi-agency humanitarian relief regional supply center, which US forces might use in a disaster situation. It might be presumed that this is a military move aimed at Venezuela, in which case it would further shred the principle of Panamanian neutrality and perhaps make Panama or its canal the object of attacks.

Aviones de la Fuerza Aérea de los EEUU en Howard

Para una versión de mayor resolución de esta imagen, toque aquí. Estos son aviones de transporte C-17 de la Fuerza Aérea de los EEUU en Howard, una antigua base de la Fuerza Aérea del EEUU en Panamá que aún es un lugar de operaciones de avanzada del EEUU. Pero Howard también es ahora un centro de abastecimiento regional de ayuda humanitaria de varias agencias, que las fuerzas estadounidenses podrían usar en una situación de desastre. Podría presumirse que se trata de un movimiento militar dirigido a Venezuela, en cuyo caso destruiría aún más el principio de neutralidad panameña y tal vez haría de Panamá o su canal objeto de ataques.

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information. Estos anuncios son interactivos. Toque en ellos para seguir a las páginas de web.
 

bw donor button

FB_2

Tweet

Tweet

FB CCL

vote final

Spanish PayPal button

spies

¿Wappin? Viernes Cultural ~ Cultural Friday

0
Flo
Florence and the Machine. Wikimedia photo by Theornamentalist.

Friday Free Form / Viernes de Forma Libre

Carole King – You’ve Got a Friend
https://youtu.be/IBh0NGNnRFY

Florence + The Machine – Moderation
https://youtu.be/ScxZwXH09Ws

Rubén Blades & Making Movies – No te calles
https://youtu.be/7OFp3DFyOn4

Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper – Shallow
https://youtu.be/_IT0oeR9q8A

The Specials – Vote For Me
https://youtu.be/hs8WNk8tDsg

Imagine Dragons – Bad Liar
https://youtu.be/I-QfPUz1es8

Wendy O. Williams – Reform School Girls
https://youtu.be/E9UHpgWYH3I

Residente – El Futuro Es Nuestro
https://youtu.be/u0tCelKjieA

Prince – Purple Rain
https://youtu.be/91hGB8YyGt4

Cream – Those Were the Days
https://youtu.be/4299pnOpFY0

Mercedes Sosa – Todo Cambia
https://youtu.be/0khKL3tTOTs

Thom Yorke – Bloom
https://youtu.be/EdmL835q9To

Mad Professor – Rasta Dub
https://youtu.be/M9PkADawUKU

The Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You
https://youtu.be/vKl7DrQj9ig

Café Tacvba – Live on KEXP
https://youtu.be/pGYLAb6pasQ

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information. Estos anuncios son interactivos. Toque en ellos para seguir a las páginas de web.
 

bw donor button

FB_2

Tweet

Tweet

FB CCL

vote final

Spanish PayPal button

spies

Two complex cases deepen the Martinellis’ woes

0
New Biz
Prosecutors’ chart of the New Business case, for which a court just granted another one-year extension to investigate. Much of the time problem is that this was a crime spread around multiple jurisdictions, requiring proceedings to secure the cooperation of foreign governments. Perhaps a bigger risk to the former president that possible prison time is the possible loss of EPASA, the publishing company that puts out La Critica and El Panama America and a key part of the Cambio Democratico political operation. It is alleged that two major construction projects, the widening of the Arraijan – La Chorrera Autopista and the office tower on the legislative palace, were used for overpayment of public funds, which were then kicked back for Martinelli, hiding behind associates, to buy the newspapers.

Prosecutors outline Blue Apple
and New Business cases

by Eric Jackson

Jailed former president Ricardo Martinelli is running for mayor and legislator from his prison lodgings in El Renacer near Gamboa, looking forward to a February 4 bail hearing and a March 12 trial for illegal eavesdropping, illegal use of government equipment to do that and ultimately the theft of that equipment.

(Full disclosure: as this reporter’s attorney and someone whose work is occasionally featured in The Panama News was on Martinelli’s known 150-member enemies list, email and telephone communication between that person and this reporter were intercepted.)

Before the trial was removed from the Supreme Court the prosecuting magistrate asked for a 23-year prison sentence and the magistrate acting as judged reduce the potential incarceration time to 21 years. Ricardo Martinelli may spend the rest of his life behind bars, or his remaining years out on bail and stuck in eternal litigation. As he fled the country to evade arrest, in any normal legal system bail would be out of the question but this is Panama.

Meanwhile the ex-president’s two sons, Ricardo Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, wait under house arrest in a Miami mansion for a March 4 immigration hearing, at which they may be deported for being in the United States without proper visas. That sort of deportation would avoid all manner of extradition issues, but the two young men might try to get voluntary departure to somewhere other than Panama so as to complicate and prolong matters.

On January 31 prosecutors from the anti-corruption and organized crime offices laid out their theories of two complicated cases involving the Martinellis. One, the Blue Apple affair, is about generalized corruption in public works contracting during the 2009-2014 Martinelli administration.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Aurelio Vásquez told of a more than $78 million kickback and money laundering scheme, involving a suppose factoring business called Blue Apple, 61 individuals, at least seven construction firms, at least 20 shell companies, the two younger Martinellis, a former minister of public works and the contracting director under him, a former vice president of Global Bank and an attorney who allegedly set up at least six money laundering chains.

Organized crime prosecutor David Mendoza described a scheme to divert nearly $44 million from a major road project and a big addition to the legislative palace, to finance the purchase by a group controlled by Ricardo Martinelli of EPASA, the parent company of the daily newspapers El Panama America and La Critica. The New Business case is named after one of 18 business entities, along with a law firm and four individuals, who funneled the stolen funds through 24 bank accounts at 13 banks situated in four countries. There may be more players to be discovered yet as prosecutors take their discovery missions to Switzerland, the United States and China, plus some Caribbean lands where some of the companies were registered.

The stakes are possible years in prison for the three Martinellis and their accomplices — powerful incentives for partners in crime to turn state’s evidence — and also the Martinelli media empire and its political effects. So far a number of people have made plea bargains but most of those named in both cases are denying all.

What to do in Panamanian legal culture? Why, argue procedure. The former president’s defenders are arguing the doctrine of specialty, which has it that a person extradited for one thing can’t be tried for another crime committed before the extradition without being first afforded an opportunity to return to the jurisdiction from whence he or she was extradited. It is specifically provided for in the 1904 US – Panamanian extradition treaty:

ARTICLE VIII.

No person surrendered by either of the high contracting parties to the other shall, without his consent, freely granted and publicly declared by him, be triable or tried or be punished for any crime or offense committed prior to his extradition, other than that for which he was delivered up, until he shall have had an opportunity of returning to the country from which he was surrendered.

However, as noted in a 93-page opinion by Magistrate Edwin Torres, the extradition was not based only on that treaty, but also on the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crimes and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Neither of those agreements contain a specialty clause. Nor did the US State Department specify that the extradition was only for the purpose of trial on one of the many cases pending against the older Martinelli.

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.
 

bw donor button

vote final

$

FB_2

Tweet

spies

Fiscales: 61 implicados en caso Blue Apple

0
BA intro

Resumen de los fiscales del caso Blue Apple

gráficos por el Ministerio Público
1
2
3
4
5
 
~ ~ ~
Estos anuncios son interactivos. Toque en ellos para seguir a las páginas de web
 

Spanish PayPal button

Tweet

Tweet

FB esp

FB CCL

spies

Carlsen, The pro-Trump OAS leadership

0
Don Pepe
Former Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica was among those who moved to expel Luis Almagro from the Frente Amplio. Amid crises in Venezuela, migration, and the climate, the Western Hemisphere’s chief regional organization has been hobbled by pro-Trump leadership. Photo by UNASUR.

The Organization of American States shouldn’t be run by regime change zealots

by Laura Carlsen – Americas Program

With a Venezuelan opposition leader declaring himself the country’s president and the Trump administration appearing to back a coup, Venezuela is lurching toward a new phase of crisis. And that crisis could be worsened by hardline leadership at the Organization of American States (OAS), the world’s oldest and most influential regional organization.

Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), recently announced his bid for another five-year term at the helm of the world’s oldest and most influential regional organization. His re-election would be a major setback for good governance in the region.

Throughout his tenure, Almagro has acted against many of the basic principles and mandates of the organization and consistently represented US interests, generally supporting allies and punishing adversaries of the US government. In particular, he has actively sought regime change in Venezuela. His often unsubstantiated claims against Venezuela and Cuba echo the rhetoric of dangerous terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles and his open intervention in internal politics has completely reversed diplomatic advances in resolving controversies, divided the continent and led his own party to expel him and advocate for removing him from the leadership of the OAS.

Abetting corruption and dictatorship

Moreover, as Almagro has set himself up as arbiter in the internal affairs of leftist nations (while turning a blind eye to blatant disregard for law in rightwing regimes), his own leadership faces serious corruption charges related to management of funds for the beleaguered anti-corruption mission in Honduras.

In an unusual move, Almagro appointed himself the head in absentia of the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), maintaining control of the mission and finances in Washington. The MACCIH was founded in 2015 as a result of citizen pressure and placed under the auspices of the OAS.

The lead representative of the MACCIH, former Peruvian prime minister Juan Jiménez Mayor resigned in frustration in February 2018, citing lack of support from Almagro, withdrawal of security measures for his team, and a “pact of impunity” between Almagro and JOH.

Jiménez also publicly accused Almagro of hiring persons close to him at hefty salaries despite the fact that the commission in Honduras doesn’t know what it is they do. With signs of corruption within the OAS anti-corruption mission, MACCIH lawyers requested an audit by the OEA Inspector General. Although member countries seconded the request, no audit was carried out.

Tensions between Almagro and the anti-corruption commission had been building for months. The MACCIH had recently taken on some major investigations in the midst of a political crisis in the country. Since the 2009 coup d’etat, Honduras has lurched from one crisis to the next. The nation has suffered a series of corruption scandals under the post-coup regimes, rule of law has deteriorated, and state and criminal violence have soared, often hand in hand.

On November 26, 2017 President Juan Orlando Hernández was re-elected in elections viewed as illegitimate by the majority of the population and many experts. Although the OAS declared the elections essentially too dirty to call, the opposition criticized the OAS for tacitly supporting the US Embassy in propping up Hernández (JOH), as massive protests called for him to step down and government forces killed at least 16 protesters.

In early 2018, with continuing post-electoral conflict, the MACCIH uncovered a corruption scheme involving members of the Honduran congress. The case alleges that legislators syphoned off hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money (in a country where 25% of the population lives on $5.50 a day or less). The MACCIH has filed several similar cases against government corruption since then, the latest on December 11. As the mission attacked corruption, it began to receive threats and encounter what one member, the Peruvian prosecutor Julio Arbizu, called “serious obstacles” to its work directly from Almagro.

A June 2018 evaluation of the MACCIH by experts at American University concurs that much of the blame for the obstacles and failures of the MACCIH can be directly attributed to Almagro. The study concludes: “The political course of the MACCIH has revealed an OAS weakened and divided, directed by an impulsive and inconsistent Secretary General.” The report quotes a member of the anti-corruption commission saying that Almagro “spent more time spying on our colleagues to report to Washington what Jiménez Mayor was up to than working on what we were supposed to be doing.”

Almagro’s decisions to abandon the Honduran political crisis and back off on prosecuting corruption and state crimes, undermining his own mission, has contributed to the exodus of thousands of Hondurans seeking refuge in the United States. Since the audit of his office requested by MACCIH members and donor countries was blocked, allegations against Almagro of misuse of funds have not been cleared up.

Dividing the Hemisphere

Almagro’s support for the Honduran leader deemed a dictator by his own people contrasts sharply with his extremely aggressive campaign against Venezuela. In a shocking break for with his diplomatic mandate, on September 14 Almagro threatened military intervention to overthrow the Maduro government. This position violates the OAS Charter and the reason for being of the organization, articulated in Article 21 that states “the territory of a State is inviolable; it may not be the object, even temporarily, of military occupation or of other measures of force taken by another State, directly or indirectly, on any grounds whatever;” Article 3 that mandates “respect for the personality, sovereignty, and independence of States;” and numerous commitments to resolve conflicts through diplomacy and peaceful means.

Almagro’s statement, although not unexpected, provoked an avalanche of criticisms from diplomats. His own party, the Broad Front of Uruguay, voted unanimously to expel him and the Uruguayan government announced it will oppose his re-election.

The promotion of intervention in alliance with the Trump administration has carefully driven a wedge between nations and forces in the hemisphere. Almagro’s attempts at regime change in Venezuela were consistently seconded by the Mexican and Colombian governments, but the new government of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador wisely decided against continuing to play the role of Almagro-Trump lackey in the OAS and abstained from a declaration by the majority of the Lima Group not to recognize Maduro’s re-election. Although Almagro has found a new ally in the neofascist government of Jair Bolsonaro, that alliance will only make the politicized nature of his strategy more painfully obvious.

The OAS chief’s obsession with Venezuela has eroded his leadership and distracted the organization from confronting shared threats to the region. The cozy relationship to the Trump administration has meant downplaying the need to promote joint measures to slow climate change. Nor has the organization under Almagro’s rule taken a strong stance in defense of migrant rights despite thousands of deaths and human rights violations.

 

With the United States withdrawing from international accords on climate change, migration and other shared interests — and Brazil following suit — there’s a growing governance gap on the most pressing issues facing the hemisphere. The OAS must step up to fill that gap, with creative solutions for working together before inequality and indifference send the planet into a tailspin.

Almagro has been far more interested in anti-democratic regime change than in facing these critical challenges. The region has an opportunity to restore regional cooperation on shared priorities. But that will require a change in leadership.

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.
 

bw donor button

vote final

$

FB_2

Tweet

spies

Ameglio challenged over petition campaign costs

0
Ameglios
Ameglio’s selfie emphasizes that he’s for God and his family.

Peñaloza finally sees a violation

by Eric Jackson

Was it the people who complained that their names appeared on Marco Ameglio’s nominating petitions, but that they didn’t sign and would not have signed? Not that, although at least 46 people, not including candidates, have been referred to the Electoral Prosecutor over bogus signatures.

Electoral Prosecutor Eduardo Peñaloza, a Ricardo Martinelli appointee who notoriously looked the other way in the tainted 2014 campaign and then argued for dismissal of all charges when the Electoral Tribunal’s own investigations led to cases being opened, finally found a case to file. Under this year’s regulations, those seeking spots on the ballot as independent presidential candidates were limited to spending no more than $2 per signature in their petition campaigns. Marco Ameglio filed an expense report of $259,763.84, all of which came from his own pocket. He submitted 355,038 signatures, of which the Electoral Tribunal accepted only 115,071 as legitimate.

Look for possible litigation about how to count and do long division, but not about the apparently massive petition fraud by Ameglio and Francisco Carreira. The latter, who came in fifth in the race for three ballot spots, submitted 245,399 signatures. The tribunal only found 70,643 of these to be valid.

Carreira admits that lists of Electoral Tribunal data (which are supposed to be confidential) were used in his petition drive. But in 2014 the use of such government data by the Martinelli campaign was disregarded by Peñaloza and the matter never got to the Electoral Tribunal or to the regular criminal justice system.

Ameglio, a former legislator and at one time president of the Panameñista Party, denies all wrongdoing and says that he will put up a vigorous legal defense.

If  Ameglio gets bumped off of the ballot, the next in line would be Dimitri Flores. That is, presuming that he doesn’t have the same problem as Ameglio or if he does will get different treatment.

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.
 

bw donor button

vote final

$

FB_2

Tweet

spies

The race for president, 2019

0
candidates
Blandón ~ Roux ~ Ameglio ~ Cortizo ~ Gómez ~ Lombana ~ Méndez

In the race for president of Panama…

by Eric Jackson

Who are the candidates?

This election cycle there is a narrow window of time for campaign ads. Otherwise radio and television would already be insufferable. Might that mean that instead of jingles and imagery the candidates will talk about issues? Mostly they have not done so at this point. There will be televised debates.

It’s a seven-way race among Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), José Isabel Blandón of the Panameñista Party, Rómulo Roux of Democratic Change (CD) and Saúl Méndez of the Broad Front for Democracy (FAD), plus independents Ana Matilde Gómez, Ricardo Lombana and Marco Ameglio.

Notes on what they say about themselves

Nito Cortizo
https://www.nitocortizo.com/conoce-a-nito/ – slow website to open
University studies in the USA – doesn’t say where, if he graduated or in which field
Went to the OAS right out of the university
Son of a chiva driver in Alcalde Diaz
Business background

Ana Matilde Gómez
https://www.anamatildegomez.com/#adi_page1001_1_102 – slow website to open
Law degree, masters in criminology at University of Panama, Human Rights law studies at USMA
She has taught law
Business background

Ricardo Lombana
https://otrocaminopanama.com/
Law degree, University of Panama, LLM at George Washington University, continuing education courses at Harvard and Oxford
Journalist and assistant editor at La Prensa
Law and media person

Rómulo Roux
https://renovacion.nationbuilder.com/biografia_romulo
BS Babson College (Boston), JD Miami University, LLM USMA, MBA Northwestern
Minister of Canal Affairs. Says he solved the metro area’s water problems
Corporate lawyer

José Isabel Blandón
Uses social media, seems to have no website
University of Panama law degree, studies disrupted by exile in Noriega times
A few days in jail after arrest in anti-Noriega protest, twice exiled (USA and Puerto Rico)
Son of a PRD politician, from Chitre

Saúl Méndez
No specific website, but part of a leftist movement with much online presence
Labor relations degree from UDELAS, Political science degree from Universidad Panamericana
Construction worker, father of three, 30 years as a labor activist, secretary general of SUNTRACS

Marco Ameglio
https://marcoameglio.com/biografia/
Business degree from USMA, courses in business at INCAE and dairy processing at Penn State
Panameñista background: was the youngest legislator in Noriega times, later party president (2005-2006), was on the ACP board
Lists his family at the top of his qualifications

Some associations about which to be aware

Asking an uncomfortable question is not the same as making an accusation, and for some, it’s a welcome opportunity. With this year’s crop of presidential candidates there are many ties that may mean something, and at least ought to be the subject of questions:

  • Serves or served in the National Assembly, thus depending on variations on the concept, possibly vulnerable to the #NoALaReelección wrath (current legislator with asterisk): Cortizo, Gómez*, Blandón, Ameglio
  • Served as a cabinet minister or head of an autonomous branch of government: Gómez, Cortizo, Roux
  • Served as mayor of Panama City: Blandón
  • Had direct business dealings with Odebrecht or at least one of its subsidiaries: Cortizo, Roux, Méndez, Blandón
  • Have been set up on politically motivated and contrived or totally bogus criminal charges: Gómez, Méndez, Blandón
  • Beneficiaries of the Electoral Tribunal’s or Electoral Prosecutor’s largess in criminal matters: Roux (won’t lift his candidate’s immunity so that he can be investigated on an Odebrecht case); Ameglio (his petitions included a lot of forgeries and so far no big deal is made of it)
  • Served in or was politically allied with the Martinelli administration: Roux, Blandón
  • Served in or was appointed by the Martín Torrijos administration: Cortizo, Gómez, Lombana
  • Served in a public post during the dictatorship: Cortizo
  • Arnulfista roots, thus likely to split the Panameñista vote and doom their already slim chances: Blandón, Ameglio
  • Worked in US-Panamanian relations: Gómez (for USAID in Panama), Lombana (with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Washington), Cortizo (with the OAS in Washington)
  • Worked for a Motta company: Gómez (Banco Continental)
  • Worked in the banking / offshore corporations sector: Roux, Blandón, Gómez
  • Worked in the construction sector: Cortizo, Méndez, Ameglio
  • Worked for or served on the board of the Panama Canal Authority: Roux, Ameglio
  • Worked in or with the agriculture sector: Cortizo, Ameglio
  • Worked in or with the energy sector: Ameglio
  • Worked in or with the telecommunications sector: Roux
  • Union member: Méndez

Other signals

One important clue is to look at their campaign websites. Are they superficially beautiful but dysfunctional – slow to impossible to open, or difficult to impossible to navigate? THESE are generally people who employ young incompetents with the right surnames in their campaigns and could be expected to do so in government.

People who campaign on their families usually are saying that they are of the creole aristocracy or at least married or adopted into it and intend to defend its privileges.

Saúl Méndez brought media folks to his mother’s house in Colon and appeared there with his wife and three children for a different purpose. HIS point is that they are a respectable working class family and he won’t do the bidding of the usual elites.

Ricardo Lombana’s family reference is to his aunt, Clara González de Behringer, a legend whose bust faces the law school at the University of Panama. She was a feminist, leftist, the first woman to be a lawyer in Panama, a campaigner for women’s suffrage that did not come here until the 1940s and the country’s first juvenile judge.

 

 

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.
 

bw donor button

$

FB_2

vote final

Tweet

spies

¿Wappin? Irie Friday / Viernes Chévere

0
Dread Mar I
Dread Mar I in Luna Park, Buenos Aires, 2011. Photo by Eduardotomasi.

Irie Friday ~ Viernes Chévere

Wicked Dub Division – How many women
https://youtu.be/iaYyXz0JE_s

Cultura Profética – Llevarte Allí
https://youtu.be/SzenT85bX8I

Black Uhuru – War Crime
https://youtu.be/9sakBUMmcyk

Raging Fyah – Milk and Honey
https://youtu.be/DN9j0frIhmo

Julian Marley – Are You The One
https://youtu.be/pgqa9siWaOk

Erykah Badu – No more trouble
https://youtu.be/8-9XjHJ0GXU

Dread Mar I – Así Fue
https://youtu.be/csx53ZqoQqI

Burning Spear – Throw down your arms
https://youtu.be/aZ14bOV4jhE

Dub Inc. w/ Meta Dia & Alif Naaba – Enfants des ghettos
https://youtu.be/avoLglj653U

Playing for Change & Nattali Rize – Rasta Children
https://youtu.be/68calsldQ38

Alpha Blondy & The Solar System – Sebe Allah
https://youtu.be/StfkcX2nUW8

Clinton Fearon – Richman Poorman
https://youtu.be/lAZx3TxilnQ

Kafu Banton – Triste Realidad
https://youtu.be/S7KCn7ftNYI

Tash Sultana – Jungle
https://youtu.be/joq114XAPM8

Conscious Woman (Female Rasta Roots Reggae Mix)
https://youtu.be/iV9ZKPl_ajQ

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information. Estos anuncios son interactivos. Toque en ellos para seguir a las páginas de web.
 

bw donor button

FB_2

Tweet

Tweet

FB CCL

vote final

Spanish PayPal button

spies

Will tax evasion be a crime, and will that satisfy international critics?

0
AMG tax
Independent legislator and presidential candidate Ana Matilde Gómez. She has long warned that Panama will face stiffer international sanctions if we don’t make tax evasion a crime. National Assembly photo by Johanna González.

Oft-delayed vote on tax evasion may come on Monday

by Eric Jackson

The international heat is on Panama. International organizations like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, mostly a rich countries’ group), its Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Latin American counterparts and a number of countries in this region have long been making demands, one of the key ones being that Panama make tax evasion a crime. We have for years been on and off of various black lists and “gray lists,” to the point that a lot of financial institutions either flat-out refuse to deal with any transactions involving Panama or else impose time-consuming extra scrutiny in such cases.

The criminalization of tax evasion, however, is only one of many demands. The OECD declared long ago that “the era of banking secrecy is over” and has applied off-and-on pressure, quite unevenly, to make this so. Panama has agreed in principle and dragged its feet. Within the OECD, countries are divided between their tax collectors and powerful rich people and corporations, making the hypocrisy a multilateral affair.

Why should anyone else care about Panama’s tax evasion laws? It’s because this country, which only has civil penalties for tax evasion, won’t extradite or open a criminal investigation for an offense that is not a crime here. If some American tax cheat parks his or her money here, there may be tax information sharing agreements but if that American is living here Panamanian authorities won’t do more than share data.

The torque is increasing on Panama’s arm, hence a proposal to criminalize tax evasion, Bill 591. This would make tax evasion a crime, but only in cases involving more than a $300,000 tax loss to the state.

The bill passed through committee on first reading in October, but has met opposition in the National Assembly plenum. Last year’s second regular legislative session ended without the bill coming to the full legislature. It was put on the agenda for a December special session, but on the 28th of last month — our local equivalent of April Fools Day, by the way — Assembly president Yanibel Ábrego gaveled the session to a close without bringing up that matter.

It seems that some of the lawyers in the body, whose firms create corporate shells precisely for the purpose of concealing tax evasion by their foreign clients against foreign governments, were quite happy to see the legislation stall and wished for its ultimate demise. By and large the banking sector, which is in no hurry to get rid of secrecy, wants to see the law passed because they find sanctions and discriminatory treatment time consuming, annoying and a factor that drives business away.

Those opposing the measure rarely come out and say that, but rather ask whether passing it calls off the black lists, gray lists and other hurdles for transactions with Panama. The answer is fairly clearly that it won’t solve the long-running dispute.

When legislators gathered for a January 22 “permanent session” — one day of debate, it turned out to be — PRD legislator (and attorney)  Zulay Rodríguez played anti-foreigner, constitutional and procedural cards. It got heated and enough of the deputies left the room to the point where there was no quorum. An exasperated — or so she played it — Yanibel Ábrego gaveled the session closed and rescheduled the vote on second reading for Monday, January 28.

 

 
~ ~ ~
These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.
 

bw donor button

$

FB_2

vote final

Tweet

spies