Wednesday 21st December 2022.

December 21, 2022


Panama commemorated this Tuesday morning the 33 years since the US invasion of the country on December 20, 1989 with a protocol act in the Jardin de paz, where relatives of the fallen, deputies, State ministers and the President of the Republic Laurentino Cortizo participated. Also present were the Vice President of the Republic, José Gabriel Carrizo, and the attorney in charge, Javier Caraballo. “For the first time, the country expresses due protocol, solemnity, respect and gratitude” to the victims of the invasion, said the president. Cortizo recalled that this Tuesday, December 20, is the first day of national mourning, after he sanctioned last March the law that decreed that date as a mandatory day of rest. “As president, I am honored to preside over the tribute that the State offers to our fallen in those events that overshadowed our country,” said Cortizo.Also present at the event were Trinidad Ayola, president of the association of relatives of the victims of December 20, and Rolando Murgas Torraza, interim president of the December 20 Commission. During his speech, Torraza questioned those who thought that it was not necessary to declare a mandatory rest day to commemorate the date. “The arguments against this decision, many, are for not having the ability to glimpse the importance and significance of this date; others perhaps with the intention of diverting attention from all of us, ”he indicated. Through Law 291 of March 31, 2022 , December 20 of each year was declared a day of national mourning, on the occasion of those who died in the US invasion of the country to capture the dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega , after 21 years of a military regime. All owners or administrators of canteens, bars, discos, wineries, barbecues, cevicheras, supermarkets, stores and distributors of alcoholic beverages must suspend the sale and consumption of alcohol, from 12:01 am on Tuesday 20 to 12:01 on Wednesday December 21.

The number of migrants who have crossed the border through Darién, east of Panama, increased considerably compared to last year. Figures from the National Migration Service indicate that up to mid-December 2022, 236,000 migrants have passed through.That is, more than  100,000 more people than in all of 2021, said Samira Gozaine, migration director. In 2021 the figure was 133 thousand 716. Gozaine indicated that in the last two days a little more than a thousand migrants have arrived, so they expect Panama to close with a figure of 240,000 in 2022. She estimated that the country has allocated close to $50 million to assist migrants.

Six people were apprehended for the smuggling of migrants. The capture was carried out during the binational operation called “Matrioska”, carried out between authorities of Panama and Costa Rica and under the coordination of the First Prosecutor’s Office Against Organized Crime. Emeldo Márquez, first prosecutor against Organized Crime, specified that the investigation began in March 2022, when indications and evidence were verified of an organization that operated in Panama and Costa Rica trafficking continental and extra-continental citizens, including Haitians, Hindus, Ecuadorians and Venezuelans. Through the operation carried out in the districts of David and Gualaca, the apprehension of five men and one woman was achieved. Prosecutor Márquez indicated that during the action, evidence was recovered, handwritten documents from citizens of other countries, proof of deposits from money remittance companies, passports and cash. The penalty they could face for this crime is between 20 to 30 years in prison in the aggravated modality, since they trafficked minors.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) reported this Monday, that the National Directorate of Mineral Resources issued a resolution that orders Minera Panamá to prepare, within the next 10 business days, a plan to place in care and maintenance the Cobre Panamá mine, which contemplates the cessation of commercial operations. In a statement from the entity, it is highlighted that this plan must be approved by the MICI and that the resolution, published in the Official Gazette , is given as a consequence of the unconstitutionality ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Justice and following the mandate of the Resolution of Cabinet No.144 of December 15, 2022 . The 10 business days begin to count once the notification to the company is completed.

Four days have passed since the announcement of the closure of commercial operations of the Cobre Panamá project by President Laurentino Cortizo , after the company Minera Panamá , a subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum, did not agree to sign the new contract to continue with the operation located in Donoso, Colon province. Spokespersons for the workers who operate in the mine and, who currently has more than 5,000 workers, indicated that for the moment all the operating areas within the 13,600 hectares where the mining project is located are working normally, but they point out that as the days go by, uncertainty grows due to the measures that the Government will apply to decree the closure of operations. Daniel Esquivel, advisor to the office of the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Federico Alfaro Boyd, commented that there is still no date to notify the company of the cessation of operations, especially exports of copper concentrate. He pointed out that during the negotiations that culminated at the beginning of the year, the company explained with technical arguments why the change in royalties based on gross sales to a scheme based on net profits.  Likewise, the official indicates that studies requested by the Government showed that Panama only received 5% for the collection of the effective tax rate, when in the international mining industry the average payment ranges between 40% and 60%.

At least 10,000 applicants to be enumerators and supervisors of the National Population and Housing Census must complete their training on December 22, after it began on December 12. The training is provided by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), in conjunction with the National Directorate of Human Resources of the Comptroller General of the Republic. The topics addressed in the training are the content of the census questionnaire, use of the mobile capture device, management and importance of cartography, among others. After finishing the instruction process, the participants will be evaluated to be formally chosen as personnel of the National Population and Housing Census. The census, which will last 54 days, will involve around 7,000 enumerators and 2,000 supervisors who must cover the 136 census regions of the country. This statistical investigation, set to start on January 8, 2023 and end on March 4, and will take place in the person’s usual place of residence. The search for these data was scheduled to take place in May 2020, as the first large-scale challenge that the Comptroller’s Office would assume under the direction of Gerardo Solís, but challenges to the public contracts that the institution carried out in order to proceed with the project caused delays. It was further extended with the arrival of the covid-19 pandemic and confinement. The census has a cost of $54.7 million, of which $20 million have already been used to purchase equipment.



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