Monday 9th October 2023.

October 8, 2023


The President of the Republic, Laurentimo Cortizo , stated this Sunday, October 8, that he asked his American counterpart, Joe Biden , to reschedule the date of the meeting in Washington, scheduled for November 3.

In the middle of an activity with producers from different regions of the country, in Azuero, the president said that he received an invitation note signed by President Biden, for the meeting of presidents in the United States on November 3, and that in the same note He requested a separate meeting with him.

Cortizo confirmed that unfortunately on that date he will not be able to attend that meeting of leaders because he has to be in Panama.

For those days the country is celebrating the beginning of the national holidays.

“I asked him to reschedule [the meeting] for another date, to go personally to Washington and among the main problems that I am going to be mentioning is the review of the FTA [Free Trade Agreement] with Panama,” said Cortizo.

Biden called a meeting of leaders of the region for next November 3, as part of the Association of the Americas for Economic Prosperity that includes countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Chile, Canada , Panama, Uruguay and Peru and the issue of the migration crisis would be one of the points to analyze.

Last Friday, during a tour with the Costa Rican president, Rodrigo Chaves, through the Darién jungle (border with Colombia), Cortizo had announced that he would not go to this summit, in which one of the topics to be addressed is the migration crisis that lives the region.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) and the Association of Business Executives (Apede), separately, expressed their rejection of the legislative proposal promoted by the ruling party to modify the Electoral Code

In a statement released this Sunday, October 8, the Cciap described as “irresponsible and dangerous” the attempt to reform the electoral law in the middle of the electoral process for the 2024 elections. The union also warned that this generates distrust throughout society.

“Insisting on carrying out these reforms undermines the process of consensus building and citizen participation that the Electoral Tribunal developed at the time. “This process is one of the fundamental pieces of participatory democracy,” the business union stated in its weekly message to the country.

The Chamber of Commerce stressed that modifying the Electoral Code , without the participation of all the actors that make up the Electoral Reforms Commission, “is an open provocation to our institutions and our democratic mechanisms.”

According to the business union, some decision-making sectors are ignoring the will and work of citizens and remain determined to change the rules of the game in favor of their electoral interests.

The main proposal to reform the electoral law is promoted by the ruling party of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) . This is bill 1092, which modifies the rules for applications for residuals  (R)  in multi-member circuits.

“The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama calls for attention to the Legislative Body and, if necessary, to the Executive: Listen to the voices of organized society, which demands the total and definitive abandonment of a reform that will only harm the country,” the statement also reads.

The project is already on the legislative agenda to be discussed in the second debate starting this Monday, October 9. This, despite the fact that the magistrates of the Electoral Court called the initiative “extemporaneous” and lacking “legitimacy.”

While Temistocles Rosas , president of the Apede, said that, without going into ruling whether these reforms are good or bad, the union’s position is that it is “inappropriate” to change the law, in the middle of an electoral period.

“That is what the Electoral Reforms Commission is for, with the consensus of political parties and civil society,” he added.

While Maribel Jaén, coordinator of the Citizen Forum for Electoral Reforms, stated that the proposal of the PRD bench leaves much to be desired from the country’s political class. Jaén hopes they reconsider her position.

Project 1092 contains an addition to article 380 of the Electoral Code (which will now be 380-A). It proposes that the “ Electoral Court will flatly reject nominations in alliance with the letter R”, when the political party to which the candidate nominated with the R belongs already has a candidate in common with another party .

He adds that the TE may also reject the nomination in the event that the list on which the R candidate appears has another candidate nominated in common with another party, who also aspires to the remainder.

In the opinion of Herbert Young, representative of the Panameñista Party on the National Electoral Reform Commission, the changes would affect the territorial alliances agreed upon between some political parties.

The majority of the presidential candidates for the May 2024 elections have remained silent regarding the decision of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) to order journalist Álvaro Alvarado and the digital media Foco y Clearly to suspend publications on social networks of images or videos of Ricardo Martinelli , presidential candidate of the Realizing Goals party.

Only Rómulo Roux, presidential candidate of the alliance between Cambio Democrático (CD) and the Panameñista Party, has spoken out on the matter.

“ It is worrying that, at this point, we are putting freedom of expression, which is a requirement for our democracy, at risk. We already see that in this electoral process we are not only going to decide who will be the next president, but that the future of our democratic system is at stake ,” the politician wrote on the social network X.

José Isabel Blandón, president of the Panameñista Party and Roux’s running mate, also repudiated the TE’s order.

“Totally against prohibiting the media from publishing images, the name or news of a political figure. It is an attack against democracy and freedom of expression. Do you want to turn back history and return us to the times of the dictatorship? “What times these are when the corrupt do not want people to talk about their corruption and the courts help silence those who denounce them ,” he wrote on the same social network.

While José Gabriel Carrizo, Ricardo Lombana and Martín Torrijos , presidential candidates of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the Other Path Movement (MOCA) and the Popular Party (PP), respectively, have not said anything publicly on the subject. Adding to this silence are the presidential standard-bearers for free nomination Melitón Arrocha , Maribel Gordón and Zulay Rodríguez .

The Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice rejected an appeal presented by anti-corruption prosecutor Edwin Juárez against the ruling of the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases that acquitted the former director of the Institutional Protection Service (SPI), Jaime Trujillo, and Carlos Castillo, David Robles and Ricaurte Grajales, prosecuted for the alleged commission of embezzlement crimes.

The ruling, dated August 24, 2023 and with the presentation of Judge Maribel Cornejo, specifies that the appeal of cassation does not constitute a way to enter a third instance, but rather it is an extraordinary phase to which One must come with arguments developed in a methodical order and where the charges against the second instance ruling are supported with precision, which is not the case in the present case.

The investigation began in 2014, after the importation by the company Armas y Municiones, SA (Armunal), owned by Grajales, of a batch of weapons that would be delivered to the SPI. The prosecution alleged that about 150 weapons from an alleged batch of 406 entered the country without the corresponding permits, at a time when there was a ban on the purchase and sale of weapons.

Almost 14 families out of every 100 that live in the country do so in rented or precarious housing, that is, they are not owners.

In concrete numbers, 157,657 homes registered this year are rented (13.11%) while another 9,929 (0.82%) are on land that the Comptroller General of the Republic names as “invaded,” which shows that almost 14% of the homes in Panama are not owned by those who live in them.

The data comes from the XII National Population Census and VIII Housing Census carried out by the Comptroller General of the Republic this year, which also provided important clues about the materials, conditions of said homes and whether they had basic services such as drinking water and electricity. .

But returning to the variable of ownership, of one million 201 thousand 809 private homes registered, 217 thousand 227 (18.07%) are mortgaged, 50 thousand 421 (4.19%) were transferred to their inhabitants, 3 thousand 392 (0.28%) are in succession or litigation and the majority, 763 thousand 183 (63.50%), are their own.


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