Thursday 9th November 2023.

November 8, 2023


Four deaths have now been registered during the demonstrations and street blockages. The first incident occurred during the morning of October 26 when a driver ran over Agustín Rodríguez Morales, 49, in the middle of a demonstration in the community of Los Viveros, in the town of Buena Vista, Colón. Rodríguez Morales lost his life, while the precautionary measure of reporting to the judicial authorities on the 15th and 30th of each month was applied to the person responsible for the incident.

The second event occurred on the night of November 1, in the Horconcitos district of the San Lorenzo district, Chiriquí. That day, the driver of a truck ran over Tomás Milton Cedeño García, 42 years old, who died. Cedeño García, from the Ngäbe Bugle region, was an educator who protested against the mining contract. A citizen of Central Europe is detained. Since that moment, the blockades in Horconcitos have not stopped.

The other two cases occurred on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 7, on the Pan-American highway, in the Chame sector, province of Panamá Oeste. The murderer’s name is Kenneth Darlington, a 77-year-old man from Colon, according to information provided by the National Police. According to what can be seen in a video recorded by a reporter from the EFE news agency, the attacker approached walking, spoke with the protesters, removed one of the objects placed to block the road, and took out a gun from one of the pockets of his pants. He targeted Abdiel Díaz, whom he shot in the neck. He then shot Iván Rodríguez, who died in the polyclinic to which he was transferred.

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Nito Cortizo, responded. “I express my condolences to the families of the two citizens who lost their lives in an incident that occurred this Tuesday in a sector of Panama Oeste. This is a fact that has no place in a society called to be supportive like ours,” he wrote on the social network X.

Kenneth Darlington, was taken to a hearing before a magistrate judge, where he will be charged with the murder of two people. The event took place at the offices of the accusatory penal system of La Chorrera, province of Panama Oeste. Darlington, 77 years old, arrived handcuffed and escorted by police officers, while a large number of teachers and neighbors of the victims gathered on the premises, shouting slogans against the man.

A statement released by the Public Ministry states that they are carrying out 175 investigations into cases related to crimes committed in the midst of massive citizen protests rejecting the contract between the State and Minera Panamá. The press release also reports that the arrest of 60 people was ordered, who, taking advantage of the protests, participated in criminal activities: robberies, homicides, personal injuries, extortion, excess of functions, abuse of authority, damage to public and private property.

What unites the contractor Bagatrac with the company Contac Global Services, Corp.? a Prensa has had access to a treasure trove of documentation that would evidence a sophisticated scheme of undeclared donations and what appears to be a triangulation of collections and payments through bridge companies, billings that resemble fictitious services and/or services and goods paid for by third parties, but not declared to the Electoral Tribunal (TE) in the 2018-2019 political campaign. Everything was controlled through detailed internal reports, which would be outside the official accounting of the campaign, to inject resources into the political campaign in the internal elections of the PRD and the general elections in 2018-2019 on the payroll of Laurentino Cortizo and his partner, José Gabriel “Gaby” Carrizo. Behind this coordinated organization would be the current vice president of the Republic, with the support of a business partner – Luis Acevedo Ureña – and close associates who today hold positions in the government machinery with high salaries. Over the next few days, La Prensa will publish a series of articles that would demonstrate these actions.

The National Immigration Service reported this Wednesday, November 8, that an Italian-Venezuelan man was detained at the Tocumen International Airport after confirming that he maintains a red notification from Interpol. Immigration Panama reported that the 36-year-old man was handed over to the competent authorities to continue with the corresponding process in these cases. Likewise, it is highlighted that this person is wanted by the Venezuelan authorities for the alleged commission of the crimes of diversion of public funds, association, and money laundering. The man arrived at Tocumen Airport from the Dominican city of Punta Cana and was in transit through Panama bound for Cali, Colombia.

Six trucks transporting medical and surgical supplies to the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro have remained stuck on the route for several days, as a result of the closures that remain between San Félix and Horconcitos, so they have not been able to reach their destination. This was reported by the Social Security Fund (CSS) through a press release detailing that these medicines and supplies are essential to serve the entire insured and uninsured population of said provinces. Medical and surgical supplies in the provinces are at risk of deteriorating, which is why we strongly request that the protesters on this route allow the implementation of the humanitarian corridor for the free passage of trucks with hospital supplies, ambulances, fuel for boilers, oxygen, and health personnel, with the purpose of fulfilling, without distinction, our mission of saving lives and serving humanity. The situation experienced in the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro due to the multiple closures on the Inter-American highway has led patients with chronic diseases to clamor for passage to reach hospitals to receive their medical treatment. The scenario in the province seemed to change last Tuesday, November 7, after leaders of the Ngäbe Buglé region decided on the night of last Monday, November 6, to temporarily open in Horconcitos, district of San Lorenzo, province of Chiriquí. However, on Tuesday, November 7, in the morning the situation became tense in the Horconcitos area when a group of indigenous people closed the road again, while Luis Marcucci, spokesperson for the base communities that were in the sector, was beaten after the decision made.

Arriving by ferry from Panama City and the so-called Pacific Riviera that covers part of Western Panama and Coclé emerged as an alternative transportation as a result of the roadblocks and blockades that have occurred on the Inter-American highway in the last two weeks due to protests against the mining contract. A maritime tourism, sport fishing, and yacht and boat rental operating company in San Carlos decided to activate the passenger ferry service last week for transfers from Amador to San Carlos, a journey that takes 2 hours. The first trips were made on October 31, Friday, November 3, and Sunday, November 5, and they have decided to maintain the service twice a week depending on passenger demand and the season. “There were several tourists who needed to get to the area and who, due to the roadblocks and blockades, could not travel by land, so we made this service available that allows for carrying around 90 people on a ferry,” says Raúl Navarro, representative of Majo Fishing Lodge. Navarro indicates that this week the service will leave this Thursday, November 9th from the Flamenco marina in Amador at 9:00 am to the Vista Mar marina in San Carlos and will return to the city at 2:00 pm in addition to a round trip service. return on Sunday, November 12 for passengers who decide to stay longer in the area. The majority of passengers who have opted for the service are tourists, foreign retirees who live in San Carlos, and some residents who have needed transportation by sea. The representative of Majo Fishing Lodge indicated that they activated the service as a tourist route with the endorsement of the Panama Tourism Authority, in addition to the fact that the I Love Panama boat has its operating license from the Panama Maritime Authority. The service costs $60 one way and $100 round trip.


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