Friday 15th March 2024.

March 14, 2024


The recent elimination of Panama from the European Union list of high-risk countries in terms of money laundering and terrorist financing will generate an improvement in the country’s international reputation and strengthen the competitive position of the financial system, attracting foreign investments. .

This is how bankers, financial regulators and economists agreed when reacting to the information from the European Union, which after evaluating Panama’s compliance with measures to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes, and reviewing the progress made to leaving the list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last October, has also confirmed that the country does not represent any risk for this bloc of European countries.

The superintendent of Banks of Panama, Amauri Castillo, told La Prensa that this announcement consolidates the trust, integrity, solidity and competitiveness of the local financial market.

“There is no doubt that this new milestone, together with the country’s removal from the FATF list, is a clear example of the success of teamwork with a common strategic objective and leadership at the highest level. The banking sector will maintain its policies to prevent the improper use of banking services, in all its forms, to preserve at all times the good image and reputation of the country, essential elements for attracting good foreign and local investments,” said Castillo.

The Superior Court for the Settlement of Criminal Cases rejected a habeas corpus appeal presented by the defense Germán Eliécer Chanis (alias Fakir), detained as the alleged leader of a criminal network dedicated to drug trafficking, hitmen and kidnappings.

Eliécer Chanis was arrested in 2018 in Mexico and extradited to Panama for maintaining an Interpol red alert.

Fakir’s arrest occurred within an intelligence operation carried out between authorities from the United States, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama.

According to information handled by the authorities, the detainee acted as a link between some drug cartels.

The investigations of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime reveal that the criminal network under his command was made up of at least 40 people who were detained in Operation Empire and on whom an order calling for trial by the First Court for Liquidation of Cases weighs. Penalties for organized crime.

Fakir is considered by security establishments as one of the most dangerous criminals.

The prosecution attributes this criminal organization to carrying out activities, ranging from robberies, homicides, kidnapping and extortion.

The Panamanian government announced that it reinforced care points with more health personnel in Darién, after the departure of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the province.

Panama accuses ‘international organizations’ of encouraging irregular migration through the Darién.

The reinforcement consists of the hiring of five additional doctors, technicians and health personnel to further strengthen the care points in Bajo Chiquito and Lajas Blancas.

This was reported by the Ministry of Health (Minsa), which detailed that this week a meeting was held to strengthen health care for migrants at Migratory Reception Stations (ERM) in Darién, which was held in coordination with personnel from the Panamanian Red Cross and the regional Minsa.

The Minsa recalled that the health personnel stationed in these areas, are responsible for providing medical care to the thousands of migrants who cross through these posts, must complete the mandatory filling out of the different forms used in the care of patients of mandatory notification events, when diseases such as malaria, dengue, leptospirosis, encephalitis are determined, report of suspected violence related to crimes against the family legal order, the elderly, gender, personal integrity, sexual freedom, among others.

In fact, one of the reasons for the cessation of MSF in Darién was because the Minsa had on several occasions requested MSF to share the complete files of the alleged victims of sexual violence, but these reports were sent incomplete.

The lack of employment leads the list of the five main problems of Panamanians, as reflected in the results of a survey carried out by Mercadeo Planificado S.A., commissioned by Corporación La Prensa S.A., research was carried out between February 27 and March 4 of this year, after interviewing face to face 1,200 people in the 10 provinces and regions of the country.

81.3% of those surveyed stated that lack of employment or unemployment is the main problem, a figure similar to that reported last February (82%), when another survey on the subject was published.

This response is consistent with the national reality: according to data provided by the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development to the Institute of Statistics and Census, between January and December 2023, 262,874 new formalized employment contracts were registered. This represents 9% more than those reported in 2022, but 30% less than those registered in 2019, the year before the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 76% identified the high cost of living as the second most serious problem in Panama. In January 2024, the maximum price of the basic family food basket, measured by Acodeco, was $335.5 dollars.

The lack of drinking water came in third place, since 57.6% are placed it in that position. The 2023 Census revealed that almost 25% of households in Panama do not receive water continuously throughout the day.

Another 47.5% indicated that robberies, assaults and insecurity constitute the fourth most important problem in Panama. Between last January and February, 948 robberies were reported according to statistics from the Public Ministry.

The ranking closes with the lack of medicines. 41.2% of those surveyed ranked this issue as the fifth national problem. In September 2022, La Prensa reported that Panama has the most expensive medications, compared to five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Surprisingly, the lack of medicine took corruption off the list. From occupying third place in a survey carried out between January 26 and February 2, he moved to sixth place. 40.8% of those interviewed responded that it is one of the main problems, while in the last survey, 59% said that it was the third problem.

Corruption is a scourge that continues to be permeated in public administration. In the 2023 Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International (TI), released on January 30, 2024, Panama obtained 35 points. The country dropped one point in its previous rating (that of 2022) and now occupies position 108 on a list of 180 countries evaluated. In this index, 0 is the most corrupt score and 100 is the most transparent.

The margin of error of the survey is plus/minus 2.83%, with a confidence level of 95%.

It is important to remember that surveys are opinion studies subject to not reflecting the certainty of the results.

According to data from the Ministry of Security (Minseg), so far in 2024, Panama has seized at least 24 tons of drugs and has arrested about a hundred people related to this illicit activity.

One of the most significant seizures in recent weeks was recorded on February 29, when agents of the National Aeronaval Service seized five tons of cocaine in a port in the province of Colón.

According to Minseg statistics, to date, the largest amount of drugs seized is recorded in the province of Colón with 8,593 packages. They are followed by Los Santos with 7,591 and Panama with 7,069.

In these operations, 92 Panamanians and 29 foreigners have been arrested.

It should be noted that in 2023 Panama reported the seizure of 121.1 tons of drugs.

The coach of the Panama soccer team, Thomas Christiansen, defined the list of players who will be available for the final phase of the Nations League, which will take place next week in the United States.

In the so-called Final Four of the regional competition of the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Football (Concacaf), the Panamanian team will face Mexico next Thursday, March 21, starting at 9:15 p.m. at AT&T Stadium in the city of Arlington, Texas.

The matches for the title and for third place will take place on the same stage on Sunday, March 24.

The Panamanian Football Federation (Fepafut) reported that the first players to join the team’s concentration will be training this Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17 at the COS Sports Plaza, near the South Corridor.

It is detailed that this group will be traveling, along with the technical body and staff of Fepafut, from Panama on Monday, March 18 in the morning.

The rest of the soccer players will travel directly to the city of Dallas, from the countries where they play for their respective clubs.

The squads of the four teams that will play in the final phase of the Nations League will be published this Friday by Concacaf.


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