Monday 24th July 2023.

July 23, 2023


José Luis ‘Popi’ Varela , a former Panamanian deputy, considered that the designation by the United States of his brother Juan Carlos Varela , former President of the Republic as an ineligible person due to his participation in “acts of significant corruption” has been a surprise.

“It is unfortunate. He is working twenty-four seven to clarify and cooperate with national and international teams,” he indicated this Sunday, within the framework of the Panameñista Party primaries.

He said that until now they do not know the reasons why the United States made that decision, but that “we have to respect it.”

He indicated that his brother is focused on “clarifying” any issue before the people who appointed him. “He is with a work team showing his face and addressing the issue. I am not going to kill the messenger (to criticize the United States), I have to know what he has or does not have, ”added the former deputy.

Former president Varela is one of those called to trial for the Odebrecht case, considered the most important corruption process in recent times. This trial should begin on August 1.

According to former deputy Varela, his brother came to his inquiries in this Odebrecht case, “he did not get sick, he stood up and has carried a very heavy cross for political financing.”

The presidential candidate of the Panameñista Party, José Blandón, assured that former president Ricardo Martinelli , sentenced to 128 months in prison for money laundering in the purchase of the shares of  Editora Panamá América, SA (Epasa) , will be defeated if he participates in the 2024 general elections.

“I don’t care if they disqualify him or not… if he runs he will still be defeated,” Blandón said this Sunday, the day his party held the primaries and secured Blandon as the Presidential Candidate.

He indicated that they will also beat whoever he puts as his eventual replacement.

“Let’s look at Mr. Martinelli’s historical record: in 2004 he ran for the first time and lost; in 2009 he won because the Panameñista Party supported his candidacy; in 2014 the candidate that he supported with the appeal of all of us lost; in 2019 the candidate he supported lost… he supported Yanibel Ábrego (2023) and lost. When has he won an election? The only time he has been with the Panameñista and now he is not going to count on the Panameñista, quite the opposite”, he said.

Martinelli was elected on June 4 as a presidential candidate for the RM party.

The pre-candidate for the Mayor of Panama and current representative of Don Bosco, Guillermo Willie Bermúdez, deposited his vote around noon this Sunday in the primaries of the Panameñista Party. He did so at Don Bosco’s IPT accompanied by supporters and the party’s presidential candidate, José Blandón.

Bermúdez said that he aspires to become the first official candidate for mayor of Panama. “I couldn’t say who the other challengers will be, I think we have to wait. What I can say is that we are the only party that led the mayoralty of Panama to primaries”, he indicated.

On whether he would choose deputy Génesis Arjona, from Cambio Democrático, as his candidate for vice mayor, he indicated that this issue has not yet been discussed.

Meanwhile, Blandón was asked if in a possible negotiation with other parties or groups of independents they would be willing to drop Bermúdez’s candidacy.

According to Blandón, this decision is not made by the political organization, “it is the candidate’s decision.” But he assured that “we have the best candidate for mayor.”

The cracks in the leadership of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) remain open despite the calls for unity and the meetings that its leaders have held in recent weeks.

Crispiano Adames , deputy and former presidential candidate, asked the campaign of presidential candidate José Gabriel Carrizo to stop “the anti-PRD and anti-leadership attitude of the bases displayed by the leadership of the party in the National Assembly, ignoring the authority with which I signed appointments for positions, created by us, satisfying the clamor of many sectors that in the PRD or alliances had not been considered.”

He denounced, through a note, that “someone” from the party leadership” seeks to destroy or dilute the “leadership” that he has structured within the party.

It must be remembered that Adames, in addition to having been president of the National Assembly for two consecutive terms between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2023, is one of the 10 members of the PRD National Executive Committee (CEN), chaired by his colleague in the National Assembly, Benicio Robinson .

“Today I am sure that this attitude does not respond to the interest of the party’s candidate and that it only responds to envy and jealousy for perpetuating themselves in power and believing that they lose it,” said Adames, vice president of the PRD.

He indicated that for having aspired democratically in his party, the leadership now wants to sacrifice him.

“Even if I am left alone, time will prove me right. We will be ready to fight for a party led without cruel clientelism and without sepulchral feelings of revenge. Let it be clear, I attribute this to the PRD leadership, which is wrong, not by centimeters but by light years… ”, he added.

The national board of directors of the Cambio Democrático (CD) party is in the internal process for the selection of the candidates for the positions that were excluded from the primaries, held on July 9, when Rómulo Roux was elected as the presidential candidate of that group.

The board of directors of CD, chaired by Roux, has met for three consecutive days, as it is in permanent session. It has already put a face on the replacement of at least four of the 13 seats that the deputies that make up the “rebel” faction of that group occupy today, which supports Yanibel Ábrego, CD general secretary and Roux’s archenemy.

CD decided that it would not nominate any of the deputies who, along with Ábrego, unsuccessfully sought to wrest control of the collective from Roux.

The consumption of electrical energy continues to increase. This Friday, July 21, a new historical record was established in demand, reported Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica (Etesa).

At 2:07 pm on Friday it reached 2,222 megawatts, explained Carlos Mosquera Castillo, general manager of Etesa, while explaining that this situation should not generate any concern for consumers or decisions on electricity rationing by the sector authorities.

The last record consumption figures were on April 4, 2023, with 2,079 megawatts, and on May 4, 2023, with 2,171 megawatts.

Mosquera Castillo assured that the increase in demand does not mean increases in the cost of electrical energy either and stressed that the installed capacity in the country’s energy matrix “is practically double what is currently needed in terms of demand.”

However, he did reiterate the importance of making responsible use of electricity consumption, especially given the high temperatures already forecast and the thermal sensations experienced in recent days.

So far in 2023, more than five historical records in energy consumption have been recorded in the country, according to figures from Etesa.

The World Population Review recently published a comparative analysis, listing (highest to lowest) the average intelligence quotients (IQs) of 199 countries and territories around the world. In the list, Panama occupies position 124, with 79 points of the well-known IQ (intelligence quotient).

The index is calculated with data from the results of the public education system and the rate of child malnutrition.

The country with the highest score is Japan, with 106.48 points; in second place is Taiwan (with 106.47 points) and then Singapore, which ranks third (105.89 points).

The Latin American country with the highest score is Costa Rica, which occupies position 67, with 88.34 rating points. The last three places are occupied by Sierra Leone, in position 197 (45.07 points), Liberia in position 198 (45.07 points) and Nepal in position 199 (42.99 points).

Panama’s proposal for the Trans-Isthmian Colonial Route to be recognized as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) is advancing as planned.

This was reported by the director of the Ministry of Culture (Micultura) , Giselle González, who last June led a technical meeting of the Inter-institutional Management System created by the Executive for the comprehensive management of this proposal. The Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yill Otero, also participates in this team.

And it is that to be on this exclusive list of exceptional value for humanity, created in 1972, countries are obliged to identify, conserve and revalue these sites, as well as their protection and safeguard. There are, for example, the city of Cusco in Peru and the historic center of Rome in Italy.

Panama’s application, formalized in January 2023, aims to include the Camino de Cruces and the Camino Real on the World Heritage list, as essential pieces of the so-called Trans-Isthmian Colonial Route. Panama already has on the list the monumental complex of Panama Viejo-Casco Antiguo (World Heritage since 1997) and the forts of Portobelo and San Lorenzo (on the list of Heritage in Danger since 2012).

Its historical value lies in the fact that it was used by the Spanish from colonial times until the mid-18th century and was the direct precedent of the interoceanic railway (1855) and the Panama Canal, inaugurated in 1914.

González indicated that the application of the Trans-Isthmian Colonial Route as World Heritage of Humanity, with the support of historians, archaeologists and anthropologists, seeks to open all the doors of tourism to Panama with opportunities for economic progress for the communities.


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