Cortizo wins unexpectedly close race. : Weekly News Roundup, May 7th, 2019

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly News Roundup! Here’s the latest.

Welcome to the Panama Weekly News Roundup! Here’s the latest.

Cortizo wins unexpectedly close race.

In an unexpectedly close race, Mr Cortizo finished two percentage points ahead of his centre-right rival, Rómulo Roux.

Official results are expected to be announced on Thursday, though the tribunal said the result was “irreversible” despite a close margin of fewer than 40,000 votes.

“I owe it to you, to all Panamanians,” Mr Cortizo told reporters.

“I will work hard, fight and I will serve my country with humility, dignity and honesty”.

The presidential race is Panama’s sixth since a US invasion ousted Manuel Noriega in 1989.

Source: BBC Latin America

Corruption concerns cast shadow over Panama’s elections.

Voters expected to kick out the ruling party on Sunday, as they’ve done in every election since the return to democracy.

Panamanians will cast their ballots on Sunday to elect the country’s next president, 71 legislators and hundreds of local government officials.

Government corruption is among the chief concerns of the country’s 2.7 million registered voters, and some are sceptical of all the candidates’ campaign promises to root it out.

“They all say they are against corruption,” Espacio Encuentro de Mujeres women’s group president Juana Camargo told Al Jazeera.

Source: Al Jazeera

Drought hits Panama Canal shipping, highlights climate fears.

An intense drought related to this year’s El Nino phenomenon has precipitously lowered the level of Panama’s Gatun Lake, forcing the country’s Canal Authority to impose draft limits this week on ships moving through the waterway’s recently expanded locks.

The restrictions on how deep the vessels can reach below the surface means large ships, primarily from the United States and China, must pass through with less cargo, which translates into lower revenue for the voyages. The driest period in memory for the canal basin is also hitting small indigenous villages that depend on tourism along the tributaries of the inter-oceanic passage.

The economic hit to canal operators stands to be minor — an estimated $15 million this year, compared with the $2.5 billion in revenue generated in 2018. But the drought and the resulting restrictions highlight the difficulties Panama faces in satisfying increased demand for fresh water to feed the canal while irrigating fields and keeping the taps flowing in the capital as climate change threatens more extreme weather events.

Source: City News 1130


Cortizo Wins Highly Contested Panama Presidential Election

In what seemed to be a relatively mild and scandal-free campaign season leading up to the 2019 elections, Panama has voted and chosen a new president. That president, elected by just over a third of Panama’s voters, is Nito Cortizo. While not a particularly radical change, it does mark the return of Panama’s PRD party, which many believed would happen after 5 years of Varela’s Panamenista party in power.

The election comes at a time where Panama’s general public opinion of their leadership is at a low, with the main focus on Varela’s various disappointments and the overall culture of corruption within the presidency and Congress. It’s because of this public sentiment that this election almost slipped away from the traditional party brokers, too. Here’s why.

Source: POLS Blog


Panama’s electoral court has ruled that jailed ex-President Ricardo Martinelli may not participate in May general elections.

Martinelli has been behind bars on charges of political espionage since being extradited from the U.S. last June.

The 67-year-old who governed from 2009 to 2014 was nevertheless able to secure candidacies for mayor of Panama City and for the national legislature. He has led some polls on the mayoral race.

After the ruling was made public Friday, Martinelli’s lawyer said there would be an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Martinelli blamed President Juan Carlos Varela for the decision, saying in a message released online that he “always knew Varela would never let me run and win overwhelmingly for any public office.”

Source: City News

Panama’s voters are angry, but politicians are not offering fundamental change.

Panama is among the luckier countries in Latin America. Drug-traffickers mostly bypass the isthmus, preferring to ship cocaine to the United States through northerly neighbours.

A forest protected the country from Colombia’s long-running insurgencies. Its canal provided $1.7bn to the treasury last year, an eighth of the government’s budget. Panama’s citizens are the second-richest in Latin America. Thanks partly to the canal, its economy is the fastest-growing. The social safety-net is generous by regional standards and life expectancy matches that in the United States.

Source: The Economist

Robert Brazeau builds entire village out of plastic bottles in Panama.

Located in the island of Bocas del Toro, Panama, the plastic bottle village by Robert Bezeau is an initiative that seeks to reduce plastic waste and reuse it by incorporating it in the construction of homes. Bezeau has collected millions of plastic bottles, which he then used to build a series of structures, including a castle and dungeon, inviting visitors to have a vacation where they can learn more about recycling, up-cycling, and other actions they can take to ‘repent’ for their plastic waste crimes.

Through his plastic bottle village, Bezeau wants to educate more people on how they can reuse their plastic waste, while he has enlisted a series of applications that they can be used for, such as: home insulation, rapid temporary shelters after disasters, buildings for animal’s on farms, swimming pools, barns, roads, and more. the startup eco-village has been up-cycling Isla Colón’s PET plastic waste into an educational center, museum, eco-homes that are up for sale, and a retreat destination.

Source: Design Boom


Looking for a quiet mountain community? Check out Volcan!

Retirement in Panama is big these days, and there are many communities that cater to expats of all ages and budgets. The western mountains of Panama have long been a top retirement destination for both expats and locals, especially Boquete. But recently, and under the radar of many, another local town in Chiriqui has been quietly becoming the ideal destination to settle down in Panama.

Volcan is appealing to expats, especially retirees, for many of the same reasons Boquete is. It’s nestled in the heart of the western sierras of Panama, about 45 minutes from David, and a 7-hour ride from Panama City (40 min flight via David). It’s called “Volcan” (Volcano in Spanish) because it’s located right at the foot of Panama’s biggest volcano, Volcan Baru. The location is remote, and that seems to be the draw for a lot of people. Volcan truly has unique scenery for Panama. It’s cool and dry (68-75 F) with lush green fields, bright colored flowers, and plants covering nearly every open space in the area. It’s visually stunning, and temperate enough not to need A/C or heat. If you’re an outdoors person this truly is your place.

Source: POLS Blog


About POLS Attorneys Staff Writer

As one of the leading Panama Law Firms, and one of the regions most reliable offshore service providers, POLS Attorneys brings a wide range of professional knowledge to our clients needs. Our staff is made up of professional offshore consultants, Panama attorneys and immigration specialists who are experienced in offshore business, understand international investment and asset protection strategies, and are experts in providing a seamless Panama immigration process.

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