Bernal, Panabrecht

Odebrecht MP
From a Panamanian Public Ministry graphic. They would lead you to believe that it’s a Brazilian problem, not a Panamanian one.

From Odebrecht to Panabrecht

by Miguel Antonio Bernal

Throughout his tenure, Varela and his Public Ministry, through the attorney general, tried to make us believe that Odebrecht only bribed Martinelli and his children. The Cortizo admionistration and its Public Ministry, hand in hand with the Supreme Court, have gone much further in their cohabitation with impunity for corruption.

Based on the confessions of Marcelo Odebrecht himself and of more than 150 executives of the criminal mega-company, not to mention from investigationd by the Brazilian, American, Swiss, Colombian, Dominican, Guatemalan, Mexican, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Ecuadorian, etc. authorities, there is no room left for doubt about the scope of the crimes perpetrated via the surcharges, bribes, percentages, kickbacks and extortion by those who paid and those who received bribes.

The number of presidents, ministers, deputies, senators, mayors and other officials investigated, prosecuted and jailed in many countries leaves no doubt that the mega criminal enterprise. Nor that its tentacles extended beyond the construction company.

Meanwhile in Panama, the inept governmental and, especially the judiciary (the problems of which are unceasingly covered up by exclusion of all citizen participation), are debased. By all means available, the corrupt continue doing what they feel like doing. The complicity with this criminal enterprise is an example.

Over the past seven years, the “Odebrecht corruption orgy,” as Brazilian prosecutors described it, has dominated all the branches of the Panamanian government. It has managed to strike down the puny public institutions with its stab of death. Contracts and addenda are the buttons that they push.

In the Panama version of the Odebrecht case prosecutors, attorneys general, judges, magistrates, ministers, deputies, mayors, comptrollers and four presidents have zealously sown and harvested disbelief and mistrust, both from the governed towards those who govern, and among the governed against each other.

What credibility can the Public Ministry, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Comptroller General, the Court of Accounts, etc. have today? The chain of failures in the prosecution of crimes has no parallel throughout our history as a republic. They have become a matrix the cradles of corruption and sponsors of impunity. It’s not only in the Odebrecht case, but also in public contracting, legislators’ circuit funds, the representantes’ juntas comunales, ventilators, hospitals, Seguro Social, the universities, to mention just a few examples of this sorry show.

The mega-corruption promoted by the administrations from 2006 to date are living proof of an ongoing affront to our dignity. They mock us with lies and deceit. The main achievement has been to poison the roots of the tree of our national identity.

Those administrations are responsible for this mega-scandal, in which Panama has ceased to mean an abundance of fish, trees and butterflies, and instead to mean an abundance of corruption, impunity, extortion and ineptitude. That is, Panabrecht.


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