Wednesday 8th November 2023.

November 7, 2023


The Minister of Commerce and Industries, Federico Alfaro Boyd , and his predecessor Ramón Martínez de la Guardia asked the Attorney General of the Administration, Rigoberto González, to keep all his opinions “in reserve” regarding the renegotiation and approval of the new contract between the State. Panamanian and the company Minera Panamá, SA

In this way, Alfaro and Martínez silenced the attorney, after he warned them, in writing, of the errors committed with the concession granted in Donoso, in 1997, and warned them not to incur the same errors in the new contract. with the mining company, such as the lack of public bidding.

The first to do so was Martínez, minister until May 2022. On December 29, 2021, Martínez had asked the attorney if the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici) could issue a resolution to order Minera Panamá to cease its operations. operations, after the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice was published in the Official Gazette, which, in 2017, declared unconstitutional Contract Law 9 of 1997, which authorized mineral exploitation in Donoso.

The attorney responded to the query on February 10, 2022, but six days before (on the 4th of that month), anticipating the implications of that opinion, Minister Martínez asked González, “considering the sensitivity of the subject consulted,” to maintain his response reserved, “while the negotiation and approval process of the new contract is completed.”

“For this ministry, it is vitally important to guarantee due process to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice, therefore, in a cautious manner, we are carrying out other consultations that help make the best decisions in the interest of the country,” Martínez wrote.

González’s response that the Mici silenced in advance consisted of a detailed explanation of the content and scope of the ruling of unconstitutionality of Contract Law 9 of 1997 and its clarification of the sentence. He also warned that the new contract had to take into account, as broadly as possible, the rights of the communities adjacent to the project and environmental aspects, as well as the requirement to call a public tender.

Martínez resigned in May 2022, because he was appointed Panama’s ambassador to the United States. He was replaced by Federico Alfaro, who was in charge of keeping González’s notes in reserve.

On two occasions, the attorney asked Mici about the confidentiality of his notes. On January 12 and June 29, 2023, Alfaro wrote to her to ask her not to share his opinions, since they were still confidential material.

By then, the contract with Minera Panamá was at a very advanced stage. On June 14, 2023, the Cabinet Council authorized the execution of the new contract and it was endorsed on August 2 by Comptroller Gerardo Solís. On August 13, 2023, Alfaro took the contract law to the Assembly, which was returned to the Executive, so that it could make some modifications. Eventually, that bill became Law 406 of October 20, 2023, which has been the subject of several unconstitutionality lawsuits before the CSJ.

In this regard, both González and the Attorney General, Javier Caraballo, warned the CSJ that Law 406 is unconstitutional.

The lawyer and former general director of Revenue, Publio Cortés, requested the suspension of the concession of the mine in Cerro Quema , in response to the mining moratorium in force throughout the country since last November 3, when the Executive sanctioned Law 407 of 2023 .

Cortés presented his request to the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Federico Alfaro , this Tuesday, November 7. In it, he invokes article 4 of Law 407, which states that “ no concession for the exploration, extraction, transportation and benefit of metallic minerals will be renewed or extended after the promulgation of this law .”

Therefore, this prohibition – according to Cortés – would apply to Minera Cerro Quema, SA ., since its concession contract to extract metallic minerals in Bajo de Güera, Llano de Piedra, Mogollón, Bayano, Altos de Güera, Flores, Macaracas, Las Tablas y Tonosí, in the province of Los Santos, has expired since 2017 and the company is currently processing a request for an extension for 20 years.

However, this year the Ministry of the Environment approved the environmental impact study (EIA) of the Cerro Quema project last May and the company has said that it intends to make investments of $163 million in the construction phase and another $50 million in construction activities. exploration and engineering.

The Electoral Court (TE) ordered the lifting of the electoral criminal jurisdiction of the deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party and independent presidential candidate, Zulay Rodríguez , as part of the criminal complaint against her for the alleged appropriation of some gold sheets, property of the Mexican José Luis Penagos .

TE sources confirmed that an electoral criminal court agreed to the request made by Judge María Cristina Chen Stanziola , who acts as prosecutor in this case. The representative’s defense appealed to the plenary session of the TE and lost, since that instance confirmed the decision of the electoral court.

The deputy is being investigated for the alleged commission of crimes against economic assets, in the form of fraud and abuse of trust, illicit association and money laundering.

On July 26, Judge Ariadne García , who acts as a guarantee judge, summoned a control hearing, but the deputy did not appear.

The complaint against Rodríguez was filed by Diana Clemencia Ríos Cardona , the widow of Penagos, the Mexican goldsmith who in 2009 was detained by Panamanian authorities at the Tocumen Airport, when he was in transit through Panama, for transporting undeclared gold sheets. .

Then, in 2013, Penagos hired Rodríguez to claim the gold, but at the end of the judicial process, he accused her of having appropriated the sheets.

In his defense, Rodríguez has pointed out that Penagos never paid him his attorney’s fees.

The complaint also reaches Álvaro Testa , the deputy’s husband, and the lawyer Rafael Araúz , but their case is being processed by the second prosecutor for Crimes against Economic Assets, Elizabeth Carrión

The United States denounced this Tuesday Russia ‘s efforts to “spread disinformation” in Panama and 12 other Latin American countries, by financing a campaign aimed at the entire region that seeks to gain the support of Latin Americans in the war in Ukraine .

According to the United States, Russia takes advantage of its contacts with the media in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, among other Latin American countries, to carry carried out “an information manipulation campaign.”

“The Kremlin’s ultimate goal appears to be to launder its propaganda and disinformation through local media in a way that feels organic to Latin American audiences, to undermine support for Ukraine and spread anti-US policies and anti-NATO sentiment,” the Kremlin said. Department of State in a statement.

The Social Design Agency (SDA, in English) , the Internet Development Institute and the technology company Structura have carried out “an information manipulation campaign” that seeks to “promote Russia’s strategic interests in the region.”

This campaign focuses mainly on trying to persuade Latin American audiences that the war over the invasion of Ukraine is just and that Latin American countries can join Russia in defeating neocolonialism.

“These issues align with Russia’s false narrative that it is an advocate against neocolonialization, when in reality it engages in neocolonialism and neoimperialism,” the State Department noted.

The current president of the Municipal Council of San Miguelito, César Caballero, was murdered on the morning of this Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Caballero was serving as a representative of the Belisario Porras district for the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) .

The event occurred in the Jardines de Sevilla residential complex, in Las Cumbres at 9:50 am this Tuesday. The subjects who murdered him were traveling in a gray Hyundai Accent car.

According to police reports, the township representative got into a white van; The criminals arrived there and shot him at least 10 times.

Caballero’s body was transferred to the Generoso Guardia polyclinic, located in the Omar Torrijos district, San Miguelito.

The Deputy Commissioner of the National Police Eduardo Arosemena reported that the security cameras in the area will play an important role in the investigation of the case.

“The main objective was the representative,” said the senior homicide and femicide prosecutor, Rafael Baloyes, who will be in charge of the investigations, when he arrived at the scene of the incident.

“When it comes to a hitman, there are other participants and other vehicles that are involved” and that is why the scope of the investigation will be expanded, stated the prosecutor.

This will be from the airport transfer (he came from Colombia), in addition to the transportation routes to his home, said Baloyes, who added that Caballero was accompanied by a driver, who was unharmed.

The prosecutor also said that this is a complex investigation.

A man shot two people who were participating in a demonstration on the Pan-American Highway, in the Chame sector, Panama Oeste province, this Tuesday, November 7, 2023, shortly before 3:00 p.m.

One of the injured died instantly and the other arrived without vital signs at the Juan Vega Méndez polyclinic, in San Carlos.

The attacker was identified as Kenneth Darlington, a 77-year-old man from Colon, according to information handled by the National Police.

Darlington was driving along the Panamericana when, near Milly cheeses, he had to stop his vehicle because the protesters had the road blocked.

A video recorded by a reporter from the EFE news agency shows how the attacker approached walking, spoke with the protesters, removed one of the objects placed to block the road and took out a gun from one of his pants pockets. Suddenly, he pointed it at Abdiel Díaz , whom he shot in the neck. Díaz, who was neither armed nor masked and was carrying a national flag in his hand, died on the pavement. He then shot Iván Rodríguez, who died in the polyclinic to which the other protesters took him. The attack occurred in plain sight of everyone.

The National Police (PN) immediately detained Darlington and took him to the Chame police station. Then, shortly after 6:00 pm, the entity released a video on its social networks in which the man appears handcuffed, getting out of a patrol car, escorted and with his head down.

The incident was also confirmed by the Ministry of Security (Minseg). “The National Police captures an older adult allegedly linked to an event where two people lost their lives recorded in the district of Chame,” the Minseg reported on the X account (former Twitter). The ministry later deleted that message.

The Pan-American highway has been the scene of road blockades for two weeks to demand the repeal of the law contract that extended the concession for 20 renewable years for the company Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of the Canadian company First Quantum Minerals, to exploit the open-air copper mine. open in the country.


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