Panama Weekly News Roundup: March 7, 2014

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly Offshore Roundup! This week, we look at Panama’s strained relationship with Venezuela, the new airport in the beach town of Rio Hato, the latest on the new canal agreement, and the Yankee’s are coming to town. Here’s the latest news out of Panama:

Venezuela expels Panama’s Ambassador, Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Nation.

In a somewhat unexpected move this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expelled all Panamanian diplomats from his country, with a 48-hour ultimatum and a stern warning. The latest rift comes after Panamanian leaders made a formal request to the Organization of American States (OAS) to meet on how to best handle the current situation in the South American nation.

 ”There are moves by the United States government in accord with a lackey government of a right-wing president which has been creating the conditions for the OAS and other bodies to step towards an intervention in our country,” Mr Maduro said earlier this week.

Four diplomats working at Panama’s embassy, including ambassador Pedro Pereira, were declared “persona non grata” on Thursday, according to Panama’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mayra Arosemena.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Venezuela also had suspended debt negotiations over $1bn (£600,000) owed to Panamanian exporters, according to reports.

Source: BBC News


Flights Finally Starting At Rio Hato Airport

After officially opening its doors in November 2013, Panama’s long-awaited beachfront airport is set to receive its first flights, starting this April. The airport, owned by Tocumen, S.A. is part of a $53 million transportation project, meant to alleviate travel time and congestion, for those who want to fly directly to Panama’s ever-growing Pacific beach communities.

Juan Carlos Pino, Director of Tocumen, S.A, indicated that the name of the company conducting the flight has not been revealed yet, but it will be a chartered flight that goes from Canada directly to the Río Hato Airport.

This is a large step in the development of Panama’s Pacific Beaches, which have only been accessible by a 2-hour car ride from Panama’s Tocumen International Airport.  Having an airport that airlines can flight directly into will help boost tourism as well as reduce travel times for the residents living in Coronado and surrounding beach areas.

More flights are still being negotiated but Air Canada, Air Transat, Can Jet and Webjet are some of the airlines that showed interest in conducting flights when the airport opened last year. Charted flights from Colombia, Venezuela, and Spain are also in negotiation to service the new Riu Hotel opening at Playa Blanca.

Source: PTY Life


Expanded Panama Canal “should be in operation” by Jan 2016

After a lengthy legal battle, and heavy debate on current construction costs and timetables, the new extended Panama Canal should be complete, and operational, by the first month of 2016. Despite being nearly a year after original estimates, there is great optimism that everything will go according to plan from here on out.

The Panama Canal Authority expects the expanded canal “should be in operation by January 2016″ after a trial period, Silvia de Marucci, ACP’s manager of marketing and forecasting, said Friday.

“In January 2016, we are expecting to be operational” after a period of testing at both the Atlantic and Pacific side of locks, Marucci said. At the moment, the expansion is 65% complete, she added.

The latest target is seven months behind a previous estimate of June 2015. The project was originally scheduled for completion this year. Next week, ACP intends to sign a final agreement with its contractor for the expansion project, Marucci told Platts ahead of the conference Friday.

“Works were stopped about a month ago but resumed two weeks ago and we are very optimistic that we will sign the agreement by next week,” she said.



Yankees Prepare for Trip: Ex-skipper Torre excited for Legends Series in Panama

The Yankees are coming to town next weekend, and the country is buzzing with baseball fever. After a noble final season and sendoff into retirement, Yankees legend, and Panamanian native, Mariano Rivera is spearheading a two-game exhibition series between the New York Yankees and Florida Marlins, to be held next weekend in Panama City.

Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre witnessed many of the greatest moments in Mariano Rivera’s illustrious baseball career. Now the former skipper is poised to celebrate what could be the finest achievement in the recently retired closer’s lifetime.

The “Legend Series” between the Yankees and the Marlins will be played March 15-16 at Panama City’s Rod Carew Stadium, marking Major League Baseball’s first visit to the country since 1947. The games, a rematch of the 2003 World Series, will honor the legacy of Rivera, who retired last season as baseball’s all-time saves leader.

“I think it’s going to be very nostalgic for Mariano, being down there for his first year during retirement,” said Torre, who will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame this summer. “I know the Commissioner and all of Major League Baseball is very interested in the globalization of the game. When I was with the Dodgers, we took trips to Beijing and Taiwan. I’ve been to Tokyo as a member of the Yankees. It’s so important. We know how important the game of baseball is around the world.”


About Manoj Chatlani

Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, POLS Attorneys offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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