Friday 3rd March 2023.

March 3, 2023


Deputy Raúl Pineda –the PRD’s third undersecretary– has obtained dozens of hectares of state land in the current government, paying pennies for land located in privileged areas in Colón.

Pineda joined the select group of politicians who have obtained national land by paying pittances, such as former minister Alma Cortés, who, for $534, acquired 88 hectares of land on the banks of the Mamoní River, in Las Margaritas de Chepo, or former minister Franklin Vergara, who titled 128 hectares for $774 in Chepo. Also the former minister Demetrio Papadimitriu, who obtained with his family 54.3 free hectares – titled in the name of 12 companies and two individuals – on the beaches of Juan Hombrón, or the deputy Yanibel Ábrego, who obtained 9.3 hectares in Cirí Grande, Capira, by paying $60 for them, that is, less than $6.50 per hectare.

And it’s not just about getting large tracts of land for pennies. They also get them in privileged areas, as in the previous examples. In the case of Pineda, they are farms located a few meters from beaches or in the mountains, thanks to the generosity of the National Land Administration Authority (Anati), an institution that permanently suffers scandals of this type.

In May 2021, President Laurentino Cortizo announced in Colón the start of the Cadastral Sweep of Coasts and Mountains of Colón program with Anati to “put an end to decades of waiting for these areas to be legalized and have a property title.” Three months later, to be part of this project, authorities from the district of Santa Isabel, in Colón, and Anati signed an agreement.

On June 22, 132.5 hectares in a wooded area, close to the beaches of the Costa Arriba de Colón, went from being national to belonging to the deputy of San Miguelito. It is about three fincas One, 14 hectares, located a short distance from Playa Chiquita, a fishing community on the Costa Arriba de Colón. It is an area that, due to the beauty of its beaches: crystalline waters and white sands –ideal for snorkeling– , is sought after by nationals and foreigners.

For this finca, Pineda paid $1,587, less than $115 per hectare. The farm was requested by the deputy in July 2015, but it was not until the PRD came to power that the Ministry of the Environment approved its use, in June 2021. Shortly after, in October of that year, Anati determined -in a second visual inspection on the ground – that “there was no opposition or complaint from third parties” to grant the finca, indicates the award resolution, signed by the national director of Titling and Regularization of Anati, Damián Cigarruista.

Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of Canada’s First Quantum, began the process of temporarily reducing the presence of workers at the Cobre Panamá project, located in the districts of Donoso and Omar Torrijos in the province of Colón.

Michael Camacho, director of the Unión de Trabajadores de Minera Panamá (Utramipa) union, pointed out that as of yesterday afternoon, March 1, the company had processed the vacations of 750 workers, out of a total of 1,100 workers who will be away from work  for 15 days.

The information was confirmed by Minera Panamá, which added that the process is “part of the actions that we are being forced to take in view of the stoppage of copper concentrate processing operations, as a result of the prohibition of the Maritime Authority of Panama to export it”.

The approval of vacations is the step prior to the suspension of contracts that the mining company plans to execute after suspending operations at the mine on February 23.

The Reuters news agency reported that the Government and First Quantum would be close to signing the new contract to continue with the extraction of copper.

Reuters interviewed lawyer Ebrahim Asvat, part of the government’s advisory team, who noted that “an agreement could be reached in less than two weeks.”

Asvat told Reuters three points remain to be finalized, one of which is related to tax deductions the company is seeking that would hurt government revenue from the mine in times of high production and copper prices.

The results of studies on covid-19 vaccination in Panama are beginning to be released by scientists.

The latest research involving 1,532 dialysis patients shows a decrease in mortality from 30% to 5% in patients after vaccination against covid-19.

This result constitutes one of the main contributions of Vaccination and mortality from covid: a comparative study between the adult population on hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and non-dialysis in Panama, carried out by a team of researchers from the Panamanian Society of Nephrology and Hypertension and the Institute of Medical Sciences.

The main investigator of the study and president of the Panamanian Society of Nephrology and Hypertension, Karen Courville, explained that the data from this study support the use of vaccines in dialysis patients, since they are associated with a decrease in the rate of hospitalization for serious infections and deaths, and are safe with a low rate of adverse effects, no higher than those reported in the general population.

Courville indicated that initial vaccine research did not include dialysis patients, and even less in Latin America, so this type of contribution provides data on another type of population.

The Panamanian Jorge Rubén Camargo Clarke, alias Cholo Chorrillo, was extradited yesterday, by Costa Rican authorities to the United States, where he is required for alleged drug trafficking.

A strong security operation was activated to move Cholo Chorrillo from his maximum security cell in La Reforma, in San Rafael de Alajuela, to the plane that took him to the United States, reported Costa Rican media.

It must be remembered that Camargo Clarke was arrested on February 11 in Grecia, Alajuela, after an operation carried out between Interpol Costa Rica and the Directorate of Intelligence and National Security. Cholo Chorrillo, the alleged leader of Bagdad, one of the most dangerous criminal groups in Panama, was with his wife at the time of his arrest.

In Panama, he is required for the alleged commission of the crimes of drug trafficking and money laundering, among others.

A preliminary report of the population and housing census indicates that to date 4 million people have been counted in Panama, of which 50.4% are women and 49.6% men.

This was reported this Thursday, March 2, by the comptroller of the Republic, Gerardo Solís, during a press conference where he presented some data collected by the enumerators, who began the census task on January 8 and will end this Saturday, March 4.

Solís said that they will enter the post-census stage. That is, in a period where they will verify the information and even revisit those homes where there were no people at the time the enumerator attended.

He explained that, on the 53rd day of the census, they exceeded the exemption for home visits: 1,537,183 homes, which represents 103%. During these visits, 4 million people were registered, which represents 90% of the estimated population.

Solís explained that the 10% that remains to be censused are people who were not at home and those who live in areas of difficult access and were censused using the paper method, so their counting will take a little longer. Therefore, he said, the team from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Inec) will have a period from March 6 to April 4 to complete and verify this information.

An interesting fact, highlighted the comptroller, is that 32.8% of the population self-identifies as Afro-descendant. That is, 1,258,915 people.

According to Solís, Panama would be the third country in Latin America where the population says it is Afro-descendant, behind Brazil (50%) and Cuba (35%).

Meanwhile, of the population registered so far, 243,314 people said they were born abroad. Of those, 64,225 are Colombians (26%); 58,158 are Venezuelans (23%) and 28,112 are Nicaraguans (11%).

On the other hand, 554,215 people (14.4%) were classified as indigenous population.


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