Tuesday 10th October 2023.

October 9, 2023


The United States (EU) embassy in Panama joined the voices that question the censorship imposed by the Electoral Tribunal (TE) on journalist Álvaro Alvarado and the digital media Foco and Clearly , by ordering them to suspend publications regarding Ricardo Martinelli , presidential candidate of the party Realized Goals and Alliance.

“ The recent censorship actions towards journalists and media outlets are a cause for concern. These acts can undermine democracy and the right to information ,” says a publication from the aforementioned embassy on the social network X.

Martinelli’s complaints against Alvarado, Foco and Clearly were admitted in resolutions signed by Ósman Valdés, national director of Electoral Organization, on September 19. However, the TE disclosed the content of both last Friday.

The TE reported that Alvarado and the representatives of Foco and Clearly had two days to present their defenses. However, Valdés ordered several measures from now on: he asked the TE Digital Monitoring and Study Center to verify any account or network that is sharing the content of Alvarado, Foco or Clearly.

Alvarado was notified this Monday, October 9, about the measure. At the TE headquarters they gave him the resolution, the complaint and a copy of the publications that the National Directorate of Electoral Organization asked him to download.

“Here there are dozens of publications that are related to Mr. Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, publications that I have made based on news events,” said the journalist, who added that if measures like the one imposed prosper, censorship in the general elections of 2024 “will be gigantic.”

“It all has to do with publications that we have made on social networks based on published information and statements that Mr. Martinelli himself has given throughout history. So, this means that basically it will not be possible to mention the name or use the image of Mr. Martinelli, according to what this resolution establishes,” he argued.

The decision of the TE to order the suspension of information about Martinelli, current presidential candidate of Realizing Goals, arises in response to two complaints filed on September 15 by the former president, in which he alleges that he is the object of a “dirty campaign,” which seeks to attack and disqualify him, “with the purpose of affecting him in voting intention surveys.”

To censor publications that mention the presidential candidate, the Electoral Court relies on a provision of the electoral law that refers to the unauthorized use of party and candidate symbols, personal image according to the Family Code , and dirty propaganda. .

Exactly in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of article 276 of the Electoral Code on prohibitions on electoral propaganda.

Section 4, for example, establishes this: “ Dirty propaganda, understood as that which offends human dignity with the use of insults, incursions into private life, discrimination and assertions of illegal conduct that has not been ruled on by the courts.” competent authorities, promotes violence or violates the laws, during the development of the electoral process of a primary or general election. The candidates and/or their campaign team will base their proposals by omitting, during the campaign period, denigrating, slanderous and insulting material against any candidate .

The presidential candidates Rómulo Roux and Martín Torrijos, from the alliance between Cambio Democrático and the Panameñista Party; and the Popular Party, respectively, condemned the incident. Diego Quijano , president of the National Council of Journalism (CNP), did the same , who mentioned that the measures adopted by the TE are “disproportionate” and represent a direct “attack” on the freedoms of the press and expression.

While the journalist and former deputy vice president of Global Impact and Strategy of the International Center for Journalists, the Panamanian Luis Botello , considers that the TE went too far. “It is very dangerous, because a democracy requires that citizens, including journalists, be able to express themselves freely without fear of reprisals. The role of the journalist and the media in democracy serves as a guarantor in the electoral process. And if they cannot exercise their role of control before the powers of the State, we are allowing the country to lean towards an authoritarian and non-democratic system,” he said in an interview with La Prensa .

The candidate for deputy Manuel Núñez , from the Other Path Movement (Moca) , said this Monday, October 9, that he will not give up his aspirations of seeking a seat in the National Assembly.

“I have no intention of withdrawing my candidacy for the next elections,” said the communicator in a press release published on his social networks.

Last week, the presidential candidate of, Ricardo Lombana , announced that the leadership of his party asked the announcer Manuel Núñez to resign from his candidacy after he requested an advertising advertisement from the PRD deputy Raúl Pineda.

The National Directorate of that party, in a statement, “strongly” rejected the statements made by Núñez during the broadcast of his radio program El Prime Time de Manuel Núñez .

According to the directory, Núñez requested benefits “from a strongly questioned deputy from the ruling party.”

But Núñez will not give in. “To decline my candidacy would be to admit a mistake that I have not made,” he said.

According to the communicator, his statements were “taken out of context with bad intentions and clearly motivated by politics.”

Núñez, candidate for deputy 8-3 (Ancón, Bella Vista, Bethania, Calidonia, Curundú, El Chorrillo, Pueblo Nuevo, San Felipe, Santa Ana), interviewed Pineda and at the end told him: “remember that why am I not in the pattern, why does it work for everyone and they tell me that there is no budget ?

The story of the lack of money to cover expenses experienced at the National Oncology Institute (ION) is now repeated at the Dr. José Renán Esquivel Children’s Hospital , the main pediatric hospital in Panama.

The reality of the center specialized in pediatrics is complicated, since it requires $3.6 million for the purchase of supplies, medications and equipment maintenance for the last months of this year and January 2024.

Paul Gallardo, medical director of the Dr. José Renán Esquivel Children’s Hospital, said that for this year’s fiscal year the budget was $79.8 million, but they had requested $103 million.

Given the situation, the authorities of the hospital center requested $12.1 million more from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the Ministry of Health (Minsa) last April.

Of the $12.1 million requested, the hospital has received a total of $8.5 million, that is, $3.6 million is still missing, indicated the medical director of the Children’s Hospital.

Gallardo stated that they are waiting for a response from the MEF and the Minsa, since they were sent notes about the need they are facing.

“We need that money to purchase supplies, medications and maintain equipment such as monitors. “It is not to buy uniforms, nor for staff,” he told La Prensa.

These medications and supplies are necessary if we take into account that statistics from the Children’s Hospital indicate that last year 193,657 children received specialized and emergency care. Of that number of patients, 104,484 are specialties and 89,173 correspond to emergencies.

In the hospital, not only do they have financial problems but they live in constant overcrowding, which is why the hospital authorities have made the decision to reconvert various areas.

For example, the 26-bed intensive care unit increased to 46 beds, due to the increase in respiratory symptoms that children are facing at this time of year. While the newborn nursery of 40 to 50 beds now has 110 beds, Gallardo said.

Panamanian Daryelis Denise Sáez Batista , who had been reported missing in Israel and who was later believed to be kidnapped by the Islamist movement Hamas, was found alive this Monday, October 9, reported the Israeli ambassador in Panama, Itai Bardov .

“I am very happy to announce that Daryelis has been found along with her husband,” the diplomat said on his social networks.

Meanwhile, the Panama Foreign Ministry reported that the young woman managed to contact her relatives. “She was in an anti-bombing shelter,” she noted.

Charter flights between the Scarlett Martínez International Airport, in Río Hato, province of Coclé and the Canadian cities Montreal, Quebec and Toronto will resume on November 2 and 3, as part of the winter season in the northern hemisphere, to attract tourists to the Panamanian Pacific Riviera.

Air Transat and Sunwing Airlines, which operate direct tourist flights from Canada, will begin with four weekly frequencies the first week of November and will expand to five operations starting November 21, 2023, Tocumen International Airport reported in a statement.

Raffoul Arab, General Manager of Tocumen SA, which operates the Río Hato terminal and three other regional terminals, highlighted that it seeks to positively impact the communities of the central region of the country, as flight frequencies increase, to attract more tourists to the area.

Until July of this year, the Scarlett Martínez airport in Río Hato processed 45,258 passengers and carried out 3,971 air operations.

The El Buen Tenedor platform opened voting to the public to reward the best of the Panamanian gastronomic industry.

To vote you must enter the website , from October 1 to 19.

This 2023, the El Buen Tenedor platform will focus on gastronomy and its infinite possibilities as a creative industry under the motto Creativity is the recipe .

These recognitions, created by gourmet Jorge Chanis Barahona 9 years ago, are presented by Multibank as support for the work of producers, chefs, restaurateurs, hotels and product distributors.

“Highlighting the work of the agricultural sector and producers, highlighting local gastronomy through platforms such as El Buen Tenedor fills us with pride and emotion, since they are aligned with our active role from the bank where we have supported and seen our national producers grow. who are key to the economic development of our country,” said Ariadne Castrellón, vice president of communications at Multibank.

The nominees, selected by a committee, will be voted on by a jury that will represent 70% of the vote and by the public who will be responsible for the remaining 30%.

The awards gala will be on Wednesday, October 25 at the Sofitel Legend Casco Antiguo.

Among the categories established this year are: Panamanian cuisine today, gastronomic industry, best service, best coffee offer, hotel with best gastronomic offer, tourist destination restaurant and various additional recognitions such as the award for gastronomic excellence.


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