Editorials, Drop the drama; and Drop Ricky’s proxy

At the ribbon cutting for the ill-fated Trump Ocean Club. Photo by the Presidencia, way back when.

What if…?

Any line of questioning that begins that way usually falls outside the proper purview of journalism, law or history. In any case, shall see.

Neither can the editor nor any contributor to The Panama News read minds, as popular as that sort of claim might be with snobs stuck in high school in-crowd mentalities or the most foolish and annoying of political activists who play malpracticing junior shrink about their adversaries.

AND YET, with a critical case before Panama’s Supreme Court and elections less than two weeks away, a majority of the high court’s magistrates have left the country for overseas vacations. The matter of whether Ricardo Martinelli’s irregularly nominated proxy will be on the ballot has been left pending.

Meanwhile to the north, another thuggish ex-president is trying to run out multiple clocks and court docket calendars to put off days of reckoning until after the vote in November. It may offend US legal traditions – and tradition is a much bigger deal in US law than in the Panamanian system – but banana republic norms do have their fans up there.

All such caveats aside, what if key jurists here and there are acting in the ways that they do because they’re just sick and tired of all the contrived drama?

Not to worry TOO MUCH. Panama’s high court magistrates have alternates – suplentes – who can decide the case while their superiors are off to Disney World or wherever. The US legal system also has its safeguards.



Lady Justice

Disqualify Mulino

Again, we shall see. The Martinelli stand-in’s lead in the polls has been dropping anyway.

The Constitution says that a presidential candidate shall have a running mate on the ticket. The Electoral Code says that for a major party candidate for president to be on the ballot, she or he must have won a primary. The judgment in the money laundering conviction handed down to Ricardo Martinelli says his political rights are suspended. International law to which Panama is a party provides that a person granted political asylum in a diplomatic mission isn’t allowed to engage in political activity from such asylum.

Arguments sounding in high-minded principles may be accepted, but theoretically the Civil Code system of which Panamanian law is an adherent bases itself firmly on the letter of the law. José Raúl Mulino isn’t qualified to be on the presidential ballot. Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal isn’t qualified to return to power via a proxy candidate.

Panama needs a vast cultural change from top to bottom to get past the culture of corruption that afflicts us. It’s a complicated matter.


Entertainer and inventor Hedy Lamarr. Portrait by sergemalivert – Deviant Art.

              Your mind is your most potent weapon.

Hedy Lamarr              

Bear in mind…


If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.

Fran Lebowitz


The secret of being a top notch con man is being able to know what the mark wants, and how to make him think he’s getting it.

Ken Kesey


If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

George Orwell


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