Thursday 21st September 2023.

September 20, 2023


The former President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019), who will be tried next week for the bribes that Odebrecht distributed to Panamanian politicians and officials, is one of the 10 leaders of the Panameñista Party who ran to be a member of Parliament Central American (Parlacen), in the five-year period 2024-2029.

Varela signed up on the last day of applications, last Sunday, September 17.

At noon this Wednesday, September 20, the draw was held to determine the order of the list of candidates. Varela was number 9 on the list. Her substitute will be Itzi Atencio, current deputy of the National Assembly.

At the head of the list is Alcibiades Vásquez , who is already a Parlacen deputy in the period 2019-2024.

The selection of Central American parliamentarians has a particularity: in general elections, there is no ballot to vote for Parlacen candidates. The 20 seats are indirectly assigned to each party, in proportion to the number of votes its presidential candidate receives. Only the parties that have survived and also the candidates through free nomination who have obtained the minimum of 2% of the valid votes will participate in this allocation.

Currently, the Panameñista has 7 deputies in Parlacen.

Parties can nominate up to 20 main candidates and 20 substitutes, but the Panameñista only nominated 10 main candidates, with their respective substitutes.

Varela’s nomination was not a surprise, since last August his brother, former deputy José Luis Popi Varela, confirmed to La Prensa that the former president was evaluating that possibility.

It will be on October 1, in an Ordinary National Convention, that the Panameñista Party , chaired by José Blandón , formalizes its list of candidates for Parlacen. In that convention, around 1,500 people elected by district, at the national level, will vote.

Last Tuesday, Blandón was consulted about Varela’s possible candidacy. He responded that the former president does not need his permission to run.

There are those who point out that Varela’s nomination was an issue that was on the table in the discussion of the Democratic Change-Panameñista electoral alliance, officially presented last Saturday, September 16.

The candidate for mayor for the district of Colón, Diógenes Galván, presented this Wednesday, September 20, a complaint in the Electoral Court (TE) due to an alleged death threat against his substitute, Bethel Malca Barrios.

Both Galván and Malca Barrios went on September 17 to file a complaint with the Public Ministry and are now doing the same at the TE headquarters, located in Ancón.

According to the complaint, the substitute has received text messages and calls warning her that “it is better that she stay calm” since she is not going anywhere with Diógenes Galván. They also called her to tell her that they were going to “kill” her, as well as her “four dogs.”

Galván, who arrived at the court headquarters at 9:30 am, stressed that with this the only thing they are trying to do is weaken the candidacy, but stated that they will not achieve it.

“If she resigns, no one will want to accompany me and I will be alone. In 2019 they threatened me when I challenged the election results,” she emphasized.

In the words of the mayoral candidate, they decided to file the complaint because “this must be stopped” and because it is the beginning of “bullying.” However, he sent a message: “We are going to give up the candidacy. Neither she (her substitute) nor me,” the politician pointed out.

At the TE they were assisted by Osman Valdés, national director of Electoral Organization.

The Popular Party (PP) will hold an Extraordinary National Directory on Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 22 to, among other things, approve the figure that will accompany its presidential candidate, former president Martín Torrijos .

The election will be on Sunday the 22nd, in an event that begins at 9:00 am, at the Marriott Panama Hotel, in Albrook, as established in Resolution 7 of May 10, 2023 (Electoral Bulletin 5457 ) .

On July 16, Torrijos was ratified by the Extraordinary National Congress of the PP, as the candidate they will nominate in the 2024 general elections.

Within the PP, one of the names that resonates the most to accompany Torrijos is that of Jacqueline Hurtado Payne , one of the party’s vice presidents.

There is also talk of the doctor Javier López and the former deputy Juan Carlos Arango . However, it will be Torrijos who will choose his partner, who could even be someone who is not registered in that party, according to the president of the PP, Daniel Brea. In that sense, the former Minister of Health, Rosario Turner, is mentioned .

It should be noted that the parties have until October 30 to make all their candidates official, including the vice presidents, before the Electoral Tribunal.

Torrijos is currently active in the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), where there is a request for him to be expelled from that group.

16 days ago, the PRD prosecutor, Roy Torres, confirmed that he received a request to expel the former president, for the alleged violation of the party’s statute, after Torrijos was nominated as a presidential candidate by another group. That weekend, the Popular Party will also elect the main and alternate candidates for deputies, mayors, representatives of townships and councilors, who have not yet been nominated by the party, as it is expected that some alliance will be agreed.

For now, the PP has not announced an official alliance with any collective or group, nor alliances.

This Sunday, September 24, 2023, the political alliance made up of the Realizing Goals and Alianza parties will announce the candidate for vice president, ahead of next year’s general elections.

This was announced by the former president and presidential candidate for Realizing Goals, Ricardo Martinelli, on the X account (former Twitter).

“This Sunday we will be announcing, with prior approval from the party groups of the Alliance and Realizing Goals RM parties, the selection of the candidate for Vice President or Vice President,” Martinelli wrote this Wednesday, September 20, 2023.

According to official figures, Realizing Goals has 254,415 members, while Alianza has 24,564.

The National Police, the National Border Service and the Public Ministry carried out Operation Ocean, which sought to dismantle a criminal structure supposedly dedicated to illicit drug trafficking. In total, about 16 people in the province of Panama were arrested.

According to the authorities, these people were dedicated to transporting drugs using the Darién routes in different modalities, with the aim of getting them to Panama.

As part of the operation, three firearms were also confiscated, including two pistols, a shotgun, a supplier and ammunition, as well as a cell phone and technological equipment.

The raids were carried out in the districts of Panama and Chepo, in the townships of Tortí, Bayano, Tocumen, Rana de Oro and Contado Del Rey.

Those arrested were placed under the orders of a guarantee judge.

In Panama, 718,000 people or just over 35% of the population in the age range of 30 to 79 years, suffer from hypertension and of them seven out of 10 cannot maintain their blood pressure at adequate levels.

This is a proportion slightly lower than the world average, which is 33% or 1.3 billion people, of which around eight out of 10 do not receive the required treatment against this cardiovascular condition that significantly increases the risk of death. or suffer from other diseases.

These data emerge from the first report of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the global impact of this condition, presented at the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) that met on September 18 and 19 in New York, United States.

The document was prepared by the WHO as part of the strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established in 2015, related to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

In Panama, according to 2019 data used in the WHO study, approximately 33% of people between 30 and 79 years old with hypertension have not been diagnosed. This lack of diagnosis especially affects men, with 41% undiagnosed, compared to 24% of women. That is, they are unaware that they suffer from this condition, which significantly increases their risk of developing cardiovascular, brain and kidney diseases, among others.

Furthermore, the report reveals that a relatively low proportion of hypertensive people (29%) manage to keep their blood pressure under control. Only 36% of women and 21% of men have their blood pressure numbers at adequate levels.

To achieve adequate control for 50% of patients in Panama, effective treatment for approximately 154,000 more people with hypertension would be required, according to the WHO.


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