Media concentration affects democracy says Atilio Boron

Week of US allegations against former Panamanian President and his relatives

A statement by Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken points to Martinelli’s act of significant corruption, which the former ruler ignored, responding that he will continue the process to seek the presidential seat in the 2024 general election.

In the statement released by all local media, Blinken stated that the former president, one of the defendants in the Odebrecht case, accepted bribes during his tenure in return for improperly awarding contracts, rendering him and his immediate family ineligible for the United enter states.

The note was released shortly after the arrival in the country of Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto, sons of party leader Realizando Metas, after serving a 23-month sentence in the United States for money laundering.

The former president’s children arrived at Tocumen International Airport on a scheduled airliner, guarded by US Immigration Service agents.

The Martinelli Linares brothers, along with their father, face charges in Panama over money laundering in the Odebrecht case and another scandal called the “Blue Apple,” a conspiracy to collect commissions to speed up contracts during the billionaire’s government.

For the past seven days, residents of the international port of Punta Rincón in Colón province have also denounced illegal copper and gold exports by the Minera Panamá company amid a standoff with the government over a disputed contract.

According to environmentalist Raisa Banfield, the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, is to take action against the subsidiary of the Canadian transnational company First Quantum for violating the issued order to cease commercial operations.

For their part, residents of the area posted photos of a ship at the Puerto Rincón pier at the time the cargo was taken over on social media, calling it “a plunder of the heritage of all Panamanians”.

Social communicators from the province of Colón also asked National Aeronaval Service officials to submit a report on these irregularities.

They added that due to this fact, there are already six cargo ships that have carried out similar operations and sent materials abroad illegally, and the number of tons of copper and gold exported has not been recorded.

It was also revealed this week that more than 14,000 students have migrated from private schools in Panama to the public sector, leading to the closure of some schools.

According to Education Minister Maruja Gorday for the 2023 school year, this student brain drain is also impacting a drop in hiring of new teachers in relation to the years 2021 and 2022.