Wednesday 20th September 2023.
September 19, 2023
The president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo , met this Tuesday, September 19, with his Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro , and both agreed to activate the “Good Neighbor Commission” to address the migration crisis in the region, among other bilateral issues.
Both leaders met when they met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, United States.
The Presidency of the Republic of Panama reported in a statement that Cortizo and Petro talked about irregular migration and addressed methods to achieve an orderly and safe migratory flow.
Likewise, the Panamanian Presidency highlighted that the presidents agreed to activate the Good Neighbor Commission to address bilateral issues, strengthen ties between both nations and strengthen relations.
The Panamanian Government recalls in its statement that this commission was created in November 1992, as a mechanism for monitoring and articulating efforts aimed at the development of the border areas between Colombia and Panama.
On the other hand, the leaders spoke about the progress of the electrical interconnection between Panama and Colombia, a project of approximately 500 kilometers, whose energy transportation capacity is estimated at 400 megawatts.
Janaina Tewaney, Foreign Minister of Panama, participated in the meeting with the Colombian delegation on the Panamanian side; Samira Gozaine, director of the National Migration Service; and Saleh Asvat, Chief of Staff.
This diplomatic meeting between both countries takes place in the midst of an irregular migration crisis, which is reflected in the record number of more than 370,000 irregular migrants who have crossed the border through the Darién jungle.
Panama has made several calls to the international community to support developing a controlled migratory flow.
The Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases confirmed the decision of the second liquidator of criminal cases, Baloisa Marquínez , not to prosecute Importadora Ricamar , property of former president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and his family, given that it cannot be prosecuted. attribute a crime to a legal entity.
The decision was presented by Secundino Mendieta (who recently retired from the position of magistrate) and was communicated through Auto 46 of last August 2.
Although the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in the Odebrecht case requested that Ricamar be brought to trial, both the court and the tribunal considered that charges could be brought against the people who appeared as shareholders, beneficiaries, resident agents and legal representatives of companies that were used for the commission. of the criminal act, but not to any of the legal entities that appear in the summary.
Anti-corruption prosecutor Ruth Morcillo had appealed the decision adopted by Judge Marquínez not to prosecute Importadora Ricamar, considering that in Panama there is a history of convicted legal entities.
In the investigation carried out by the prosecutor’s office, it was established that Importadora Ricamar accounts were used by Odebrecht to receive funds that came from activities related to international bribery.
The trial of 36 people accused of money laundering must begin on September 27, but the court has not yet issued the evidence order that will be used during the trial.
Among those called to trial are Martinelli and also former president Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019), as well as Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, former ministers, figureheads, politicians and others close to power.
André Rabello, former mayor of Odebrecht in Panama, declared under oath that payments were made to Ricamar as compensation for “the favors provided for the payments that were owed [to Odebrecht] from the previous government and the projects that the company would execute during the mandate of Martinelli Berrocal”.
The court also maintained Judge Marquínez’s decision to reject the annulment incidents presented by the lawyers of Juan Francisco Mutio Cerdeiras, Juan Carlos Rosas O’donnell and Rosa Molino Paz , as well as an appeal for prescription of the criminal action presented by Francisco José Perez Ferrerira .
Some $223 million 56 thousand 645 will receive the 701 community boards and 81 mayoralties that will exist in the country as of January 1, 2024, with funds from the Public Works and Municipal Services Investment Program (Piopsm) and the Real Estate Tax ( IBI ), which is managed by the National Decentralization Authority (AND).
This was announced by the AND team, led by Edward Mosley Ibarra , who this Tuesday, September 19, supported the entity’s budget before the Budget Commission of the National Assembly .
César Candanedo , AND’s budget chief, explained that the budget recommended by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to the institution was $232,785,920, in the middle of an election year. Of that amount, $45 million 115 thousand 465 are for operation and $187 million 670 thousand 455 for investment .
In 2023, the AND received a budget of $353 million.
“What we are going to present are the aspirations of our local governments through the programs managed by the National Decentralization Authority,” said Ibarra, who added that the amount assigned to the entity is not enough for the projects that they plan to implement. launching in 2024.
The AND had requested $246 million 291 thousand 495 , that is, $13 million 505 thousand 575 more than what the MEF recommended.
“I cannot leave this premises… On several occasions, I have been here to express my gratitude to each of you, because, thanks to the approval as was done last year, our community boards, our mayors’ offices were able to attend to the communities of the different projects that of course bring them many benefits (…) We make the request to be able to strengthen our community boards, our mayors’ offices. As I said at the beginning, these funds are insufficient, Mr. President, they are insufficient to be able to face and achieve real development, which is what we aspire to in our country, thank you very much,” concluded Ibarra.
Of the total budget of the AND, the 701 community boards will receive $84 million 810 thousand from Piopsm. Since July 1, 2019, when the deputies for the 2019-2024 five-year period took office, 22 townships have been created.
Meanwhile, $102 million 610 thousand 455 will come from the IBI for the mayors and the Guna Coordination Council and another $17 million 769 thousand 545 for said entities
A request for the lifting of the electoral criminal jurisdiction of the deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and presidential candidate for free nomination Zulay Rodríguez was sent by the Supreme Court of Justice to the Electoral Tribunal (TE).
The request submitted to the TE is within the complaint filed against Rodríguez for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering and fraud related to the loss of gold sheets owned by the Mexican José Luis Penagos.
Sources from the Judicial Branch and the TE confirmed that a request to lift the immunity of Deputy Rodríguez is being processed, but that the magistrates of the highest electoral justice corporation have not yet made a decision regarding said request.
On July 25, Rodríguez did not appear at a guarantee control hearing that took place in the Court’s cassation chamber. On that occasion the deputy was represented by public defender Danilo Montenegro.
In this case, Judge María Cristina Chen Stanziola acted as prosecutor of the case, while Judge Ariadne García is the guarantee judge, the latter validating all the judicial proceedings in the case.
The national board of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD ) not only chose Camilo Alleyne as José Gabriel Carrizo’s running mate, but also authorized the National Executive Committee (CEN) to negotiate the possibility of nominating candidates from other parties.
That, in short, is to give the power to the deputy and president of the CEN , Benicio Robinson, to hold conversations and approaches, even with the deputies called “dissidents” of Cambio Democrático and who are close to the candidate for president of the CEN. republic by the Realizing Goals Party (RM), Ricardo Martinelli.
The president of the PRD himself recognized this during the board meeting that took place last Sunday: “We have a commission that is even in talks with some deputies from other parties who could establish an alliance with the PRD.”
For political analysts, this is a move that aims to “control” the National Assembly, regardless of whether or not the PRD presidential candidate reaches the Palacio de Las Garzas in 2024.
“What is at stake here is control of the National Assembly and what is intended is to fill some of the candidacies reserved in the PRD, for candidates from another party. They are forcing the construction of a legislative majority,” said analyst José Eugenio Stoute.
Hence, it would not affect Robinson or the loyal deputies much that Carrizo has chosen Camilo Alleyne as his payroll partner, who in the past publicly asked for an investigation into how Robinson has managed millions of dollars from the public treasury.