Tuesday 5th March 2024.

March 4, 2024


The Electoral Court (TE) has received notification from the Judicial Branch regarding the conviction in the New Business case , which indicates that Ricardo Martinelli has a sentence of 10 years and 8 months in prison for money laundering .

Previously, the TE warned that it needed this formal notification to begin the process of disqualifying Martinelli as a presidential candidate for Realando Metas and the Alianza party .

The Constitution , in its article 180, prohibits a person sentenced to five years or more in prison from being chosen as president or vice president of the Republic. Martinelli’s sentence is 128 months in prison.

At the same time, it was learned that an official (who said he worked for the Public Ministry) took a letter to the Nicaraguan embassy, ​​in La Alameda , but a woman received it and told him that any official document must be sent through the Foreign Ministry. The official tried to place the paper on the wall with adhesive tape, but finally he did not do so and left the place.

Martinelli has been barricaded in the Nicaraguan embassy, ​​located in the La Alameda urbanization, since last February 7, five days after the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice announced that it did not admit his appeal against the conviction for this case.

From this diplomatic headquarters, the former president of the Republic continues to be active in the electoral process. There he receives many of those who make up the electoral offer of his party Realizing Goals (RM), sends messages to his followers, asks to vote for José Raúl Mulino and also uses social networks without restriction.

This situation motivated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send a note to the Nicaraguan ambassador, Consuelo Sandoval Meza, in which she called her attention for allowing “the repeated statements and other actions” of the former president.

Martinelli and Mulino were nominated by the RM and Alianza parties, as presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate, respectively, for the elections on May 5.

The Electoral Court informed this medium that in the next few hours they will rule on the issue.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that Panama’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth will decline to 2.5% in 2024, well below 7.5% in 2023, due to the closure after strong protests of Minera Panamá , a large coal mine. copper subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum Minerals (FQM).

”As a result of the mine closure, GDP growth is projected to decline to 2.5% in 2024, before gradually improving in the medium term,” the IMF said in a statement released this Monday .

These conclusions about Panama’s economy come after completing an official visit to the Central American country by IMF officials.

The Final Declaration of the 2024 Article IV Consultation Mission highlights that “the slowdown is not expected to be widespread, but rather to reflect the closure of Minera Panamá, which contributed, directly and indirectly, around 5% of Panama’s GDP ”.

In addition, the organization expects that “inflation will remain low at the end of 2024, in the order of 2.2% year-on-year and around 2% in the coming years.”

Although he estimates that “in the medium term, GDP is expected to grow 4%, while the current account deficit is projected to be around 2% of GDP.”

The IMF added that “the short-term economic outlook is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and the balance of risks is tilted to the downside.”

Those “downside risks include loss of investment grade [due to concerns about Panama’s fiscal situation], which would raise Panama’s external borrowing costs and increase refinancing risks.”

These downward risks also “include new social unrest and more consequences from the closure of the mining company.” In addition, the IMF says, if the severe drought that impacts the Panama Canal lasts longer than expected, “the risks could be reduced.” income” from the Canal “and its contributions to the Government.”

”In the medium term, mining arbitration claims represent a significant risk for public finances,” the note highlights.

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, traveled this Monday, March 4, to the community of Chagres, in Palmas Bellas, province of Colón, to inaugurate the Anastasia Miter General Educational Center . This work was awarded in December 2019, during the eighth community work tour carried out in this community.

Although the opening of Anastasia Miter was the event chosen by Cortizo to commemorate the beginning of the school year, this school is still not receiving students, since the Ministry of Education (Meduca) decided that pre- and middle school centers start classes on Next March 11th.

An investment of $11.3 million was made in the new educational center facilities and it offers bachelor’s degrees in science and tourism. The center will serve 630 students, reported the Presidency of the Republic.

In addition, it has 12 classrooms for theoretical classes, 7 laboratories and work spaces for high school. The academic center will have 6 theoretical classrooms, 8 laboratories, support classrooms, a gymnasium with a stage and stands, a cafeteria-dining room, a dormitory for students and teachers, administrative areas, parking lots, water supply, storage tanks and a water treatment system. residuals.

During the event, Cortizo asked school directors to use the Education Equity and Quality Fund (FECE), which has resources of $80 million for repairs to schools in the country.

He also asked educators to teach children and young people to think, be creative and work as a team to strengthen educational work as an instrument of development.

The 2024 school year began normally for preschool and primary school students in some educational centers, such as the Carlos A. Mendoza school , located in the San Miguelito district. There, students, educators and administrative staff participated in civic events before starting the school day.

But at the Villa Grecia Basic Bilingual Center , located in the Las Cumbres district, northern Panama sector, the reality is very different. A group of parents met with the Minister of Education Maruja Gorday de Villalobos early in the morning on a day that should have been one of joy and excitement for the students of that school. It was not so.

The minister arrived at the scene before heading to the inauguration of the Anastacia Miter school in Palmas Bellas , province of Colón, with President Laurentino Cortizo. In the end, she did not arrive in Columbus in time.

The parents of Villa Grecia demand a prompt solution, since the new infrastructure has been under construction for five years.

They indicate that since July 18 of last year they have been waiting for modular classrooms to be enabled. 12 are needed to cover both shifts, since for eight years they have been operating with three shifts: from 7:00 am to 10:30 am; from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm, and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm Due to this situation, parents and guardians closed the four lanes of the Transisthmian highway last Friday, March 1, in the Villa Grecia entrance.

After the meeting with Minister Gorday de Villalobos this Monday, an agreement was not reached and the parents organized to close the Transistmica highway again.

The year 2024 looks like a complete recovery of air connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Panama is among the cities that will see a 13% increase in air connection and international passenger traffic through the Tocumen International Airport. according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Carlos Conde, re-elected president of the Panama Airlines Association (ALA), said that a large part of the international visitors and tourists who arrive in the country do so by air, so the effort is shared between transportation companies. commercial air and tourism authorities to work together to promote the country.

Panama is currently promoted as a tourist destination in source markets such as Colombia, the United States, Canada, Spain, Holland, Germany and France, among others. While it is defined whether or not the Promtur Tourism Promotion Fund will have the full budget of $20 million that corresponds to it by law. Several airlines are adjusting their plans to offer more seats and routes to Panama.

“The airlines that operate in the Panamanian market have a strong commitment to promoting Panama as a destination and facilitating air connectivity so that any tourist who is in different countries can connect at reasonable and competitive rates. There are several programs that are being implemented and the The idea is to continue increasing the options to strengthen this destination,” said Conde.

Representatives of several airlines announced their plans in the country this year.

María Eugenia Onofre, sales manager of United Airlines in the country, announced that they will increase the daily flights between Panama and the United States to five on the two routes they operate, starting in April: Houston (3 daily) and New Jersey (2 daily ).

“We are seeing considerable demand in the Panamanian market to the United States, so starting in April we will have 3 daily flights to Houston and two to New Jersey until September,” said Onofre, indicating that travelers can connect with the rest of the airline destinations.

Turkish Airlines confirmed that it will continue to operate the 12 flights between Istanbul and Panama per week with new aircraft. Arif Tatoğlu, country manager for Panama and Venezuela, explained that of the 12 flights, seven are shared with Bogotá and five are direct. “We have seen growth on the route and in the Panamanian market that has allowed us to increase connectivity with five direct flights and the rest in stopover with Bogotá. The agreement with Copa Airlines has been key, which attracts passengers from all the cities in the region and connects in Panama to Istanbul,” said Tatoğlu.


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