The youth movement card — Ricardo Martinelli is pumping up a young woman, Lourdes “Lulu” Castillo, to be the next legislator from Anton. It’s a sprawling municipality and swing circuit, but how valuable is a Marinelli endorsement? Most polls say that the former president is well situated for a 2024 comeback, but court developments suggest that by then he stands a very good chance of being a convicted criminal who’s ineligible to run. This is his latest party’s youth organization office on the Pan-American Highway in Anton. He also has volunteer groups active in the corregimientos. It represents a head start on the others if you don’t count the PRD political patronage machine.
He’s promising more jobs and more cash, and revenge against everyone who calls him a crook. From his Twitter feed.
Martinelli, a dual Panamanian and Italian citizen, is celebrating a far right victory in Italy (as well as Sweden and other parts) and mostly ignoring the recent trend toward the left in much of Latin America. At the moment it would be a problem for him to go to Italy, as he’s wanted for hiring men to stalk and electronically spy upon a former mistress in Spain, so there would be a warrant in force for all of the Eurpean Union. Plus, after his two sons testified in a US federal district court in Brooklyn that they laundered some $28 million of Odebrecht bribe money for him, Uncle Sam would probably also be looking for him to be extradited and tried there.
Tick, tick, tick, ka-BOOOM! What’s a right wing politician without a conspiracy theory these days? Whether literal or figurative, any bombshell that the vice president may have in store for Martinelli is most unlikely to produce a Carrizo or a PRD victory in 2024. Should the derogatory Panamanian Spanglish word be used? It would be surplus. Panamanian voters generally throw the party that holds the presidency out of power in the next elections, and in this summer’s crisis Gaby Carrizo has shown his slickest moves to be incredibly clumsy. And if the ailing President Cortizo is unable to finish his term? By stepping up to that challenge Carrizo would make himself constitutionally ineligible. By declining the top job the VP would perhaps demonstrate even worse characteristics to the voters.
Stay tuned, folks. The editor is no prophet, but think about how unstable Panama could get over the next year and a half. Martinelli ineligible to run, the last Panameñista president convicted of Odebrecht kickbacks, people fed up with the PRD, most people unhappy with the way things are, nobody able to fully capture the public imagination? It might happen that way.
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