Panama. A strange political situation arose in September
when President Ricardo Martinelli first dismissed his
Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela and Varela declared at
the end of the month that he intends to remain as Vice
President but will henceforth act as opposition. The
alliance between Martinelli's Cambio Democrático (CD) and
Varela's Partido Panameñista (PP) was thus practically over.
Countryaah official site, the government coalition had already been hit by a series
of corruption scandals and falling confidence, among other
things. as a result of a bill to amend the legislation so
that foreign companies' exploitation of Panama's mineral
resources would be allowed. Martinelli's proposal for a
replacement for Varela led to further layoffs of PP members
in the government, including the successful Minister of
Finance and Finance, Alberto Vallarino, who is considered to
be behind economic growth of 7% in recent years.
The reason for President Martinelli's decision to dismiss
Varela was that the latter tried to use his position to
obtain support from CD for his candidacy for the
presidential office in the 2014 election. CD, in turn,
replied that the party will launch its own candidate.
Another reason was that Martinelli tried to push through a
constitutional reform to allow a second round of elections
in the presidential election, a proposal which Varela
On December 11, former dictator Manuel Noriega was
brought back to Panama after more than 20 years in prison in
France. He was deposed by a US campaign in 1989 and now
faces another 60 years in Panama for crimes committed during
his time as the country's leader in the 1980s.