Wednesday 28th February 2024.

February 27, 2024


The Panamanian Foreign Ministry called for “attention” to the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for allowing “the repeated statements and other actions” of former president Ricardo Martinelli, who barricaded himself in the diplomatic headquarters of the Central American country since last February 7, five days. after the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) did not admit an appeal against the sentence that sentenced him to 128 months in prison for money laundering in the New Business case.

In a letter dated this Tuesday, February 27, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama reminds its Nicaraguan counterpart that its diplomatic mission has the “unavoidable responsibility of not allowing the practice of acts contrary to public tranquility” and therefore, to ensure that the conduct of “Mr. Martinelli Berrocal remains within the established limits.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama rejects the permissive attitude of the head of mission, given the repeated statements and other actions that her guest, Mr. Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal, publicly carries out from the embassy in the Republic of Panama. This, despite the fact that other international norms invoked with the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry expressly prohibit this act,” the note reads.

In the document, the Foreign Ministry of Panama, headed by Janaina Tewaney, reminds Nicaragua that it “demands” full observance of the call for attention. The document also recalls the functions that the diplomatic mission is called upon to fulfill and safeguard, such as ensuring that the embassy is not used in an “incompatible manner” in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Foreign Relations. diplomatic.

From the Nicaraguan embassy, ​​where he barricaded himself, and in open violation of international conventions, Martinelli continues to proselytize in the face of the general elections of May 5, 2024.

Day after day he receives his co-partisans, many of whom are part of the electoral offer of his party Realizing Goals (RM) for the May tournament. From the embassy headquarters, in the La Alameda urbanization, he sends messages with political overtones to his followers; He asks for the vote for José Raúl Mulino, his running mate, and uses social networks without restriction to send intimidating messages to those he considers his adversaries.

Once, its spokesperson Astrid Salazar told reporters that a meeting of RM’s board of directors would be held at the embassy.

The Electoral Tribunal waits for the sentence to become final before acting in the case. Last Friday the Second Court for Liquidation of Criminal Cases reported that the file is currently in the Superior Court for Liquidation of Criminal Cases.

On February 22, the Second Criminal Chamber issued Edict 40, in which it is reported that judges Ariadne García (speaker), María Eugenia López Arias and Maribel Cornejo have rejected Martinelli’s requests “outright, as inadmissible”. and other convicted persons to “clarify” why they did not admit the appeals. Edict 40 is withdrawn next Friday, so it is understood that that day the conviction would become final.

The judge of guarantees, Carmelo Zambrano, ordered the preventive detention of three suspects for their alleged participation in an attempted robbery – which occurred last Sunday – at the branch of the National Charity Lottery (LNB) located on Ricardo J. Alfaro Street. .

The Homicide and Femicide Prosecutor’s Office accuses the detainees of being part of a criminal network and of being responsible for the use of vehicles for this attempted robbery.

The arrest of the suspects was carried out after reviewing the surveillance cameras at the location, which captured the arrival of the assailants and identified the cars used by the group.

The defense of the accused has appealed Judge Zambrano’s decision, so another hearing will be held on March 6.

The suspects were located in San Miguelito and La Chorrera (West Panama). The prosecution managed to recover some evidence that links the three detainees to the attempted robbery.

In the robbery that occurred last Sunday, two of the assailants and a Lottery security agent lost their lives in an exchange of gunfire. One of the assailants died near the LNB branch, while the other died at the San Miguel Arcángel Hospital, to which he was taken by his accomplices.

The First Settlement Court of Criminal Cases notified Dangelo Dayán Ramírez and Félix Gaspar Saravia , both sentenced to 125 months and 100 months in prison, for the crime of aggravated gang activity.

Another 15 people linked to this case were also convicted.

Ramírez, who is detained in Colombia following a request for capture and extradition presented by the Panamanian authorities for the crime of money laundering, was sentenced for being the leader of a criminal structure dedicated to robbing, assaulting and committing other crimes in the city. from Panama.

The conviction was notified through Edict 269, published by the First Criminal Cases Settlement Court on February 23. The ruling orders that Ramírez and the rest of the convicts be sent to a penitentiary center to serve the prison sentence imposed.

The investigations carried out by the Public Ministry link Ramírez with the Calor Calor gang , which has its center of operation in the area of ​​El Chorrillo and Santa Ana .

In 2003, Ramírez was investigated for his alleged connection with a homicide case in the area of ​​Via Cincuentenario, near Panama Viejo. However, in this case he was dismissed.

On December 1, the Judicial Branch formalized an extradition request against Ramírez, after he was detained in Colombia. The authorities of that country were able to locate Ramírez in November 2023, thanks to his membership in a gym.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP ) has calculated the impact of the waterway on the national economy, revealing that in 2023 its activity generated direct and indirect economic contributions that totaled $3,630 million at the close of the fiscal year.

These contributions were achieved, according to the Panama Canal, despite the challenges that the maritime route faced during fiscal year 2023, including the economic impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and transit restrictions due to low levels of the Gatun Lake, caused by the El Niño phenomenon.

This is a record achievement in direct and indirect economic contributions, the Canal administration stated in its 2023 report.

These contributions include the $2,545 million that the Canal delivers to the State as part of its direct contribution. A series of indirect contributions to the National Treasury and the economy are calculated, such as local purchases of goods and services, payments to local suppliers or payroll disbursements.

According to the Canal’s measurements, they indirectly contributed $828 million to the country’s economy, resulting from the payment of $510 million in net salaries paid to collaborators. In addition to $318 million in local purchases of goods and services, and payments to local suppliers as part of the investments in equipment and infrastructure that the ACP makes annually.

Indirect contributions to the National Treasury reached $257 million, $19 million more than in 2022.

These contributions are mainly made up of the payment of the employee-employer contribution to the Social Security Fund for $139 million, income tax for $105 million, and educational insurance for $13 million.

It means that according to recently revealed data, it is estimated that the Canal’s direct contribution represents approximately 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP), while if indirect contributions and expenses in the economy are included, these contributions would reach around 4.5%. of GDP.

Since last September 29, the ACP asked the Cabinet Council to consider the approval of the resolution that endorses new limits of the hydrographic basin. He also requested the presentation of a bill that would allow lifting restrictions on building reservoirs in the country.

With no answers in sight, it is understood that the issue has been archived, so it will be up to the next administration to make decisions.

For now, according to the Canal’s guide curve, the level of Gatun Lake should be 86.98 feet above sea level under normal meteorological conditions, but it is 80.83 feet above sea level, or 6 feet less than where it should be for the present day.

Lake Alhajuela, for its part, should be at an elevation of 243.43 feet but it is at 241.19 feet, that is, 2 feet less.

The level of the lakes determines the viability of ships passing through the waterway and the availability of water for human consumption, since this resource serves 50% of the Panamanian population.

The situation in Gatún is the most critical, so we would have to see how much rain falls in the months of March and April to determine if the number of transits allowed per day changes, which today is 24, when the ideal would be between 36 and 38 transits.

According to the ACP analyses, no changes are expected in the number of daily transits, at least upwards, before April.

During the last fiscal year [which runs from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024], lake levels had initially been projected to allow about 30.5 daily transits on average, but this was varied downwards due to the lack of water. due to the El Niño phenomenon.

By mid-fiscal year 2024, more rain is expected to be recorded, and the calculations could be recalibrated and have more transits per day, but it will depend on the level of precipitation.


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