Varela Inaugurated as President, plans to take on crime, mend relations with Venezuela – Weekly News Roundup, July 4th

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly Offshore Roundup. It has been a busy week in Panama with the inauguration of the new president. We go over his agenda, how he plans to take on crime, and the mending of a fractured relationship with neighboring Venezuela. Here’s the latest:

New Panama President Varela Offers Gangs One-Month Amnesty

This week, Panama’s newly inaugurated president wasted no time in laying out his agenda on crime; specifically drug gangs, and gang violence. The President has laid out an ultimatum to Panama’s gangs and organized crime groups. They have one month of amnesty, to disband and join society. After that, they will be taken on with the full force of the country’s police force, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law:

The new president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, has offered an amnesty until 1 August to “more than 200 criminal gangs” operating in the country.

Speaking shortly after being sworn in, Mr Varela gave the gangs one month to disarm. He urged them to “sever links with organised crime and join civic life”.

Mr Varela, 50, has promised to tackle corruption in the Central American nation in the next five years. “From today, no one in Panama is above the law,” he said during the inaugural ceremony. “Corruption will not be tolerated in our government,” he added.

Source: BBC News



Venezuela Hails Panama’s New Leader

In a move that no one would have expected just a few months ago, Panama’s relationship with Venezuela appears to be on the mend. In honor of Juan Carlos Varela’s inauguration this week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reached out in support, and gave both countries renewed hope that diplomatic relations were improving.

“I sent greetings to the president of Panama, we have re-established diplomatic and political relations with Panama this very day, July 1, and we will deepen the economic, diplomatic, trade, energy relations,” the Venezuelan said Tuesday night during his radio program, “En contacto con Maduro.” Venezuela’s vice president, Jorge Arreaza, was present Tuesday in Panama for Varela’s inauguration.

Varela signaled his intention to renew full diplomatic relations with Venezuela after winning the May 4 presidential contest and the administration of outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli began the process of restoring consular ties a few weeks later.

Source: Fox News Latino



Panama Canal Expansion Reaches New Milestone

Another major milestone was reached last week with the pouring of millions of cubic meters of concrete into the new Canal Expansion Project. The project, which is slated for completion in the next 18 months, is now in hyper drive, as strikes and contract negotiations have slowed it down, and caused major delays.

Construction of the two lock complexes requires a total of 4.3 million cubic metres of concrete. The volume placed at the Atlantic side currently stands at 1.8 million cubic metres. The new lock complexes in the Pacific and Atlantic sides will feature three chambers, three water-saving basins per chamber, a lateral filling and emptying system, and rolling gates. Overall progress on the project was 76.3% as of 31 May.

Source: The Construction Index



Panama’s New President Sworn In: Gets to work on new agenda

This week, Panama’s newly elected president was sworn in, and will be taking over for the next five years. Find out what are the key points in his agenda, what he plans on doing first, and how it will affect you. Check out our latest blog post.

Though Panama’s economic growth has averaged double-digit numbers in the past 5 years, there are signs of a slight slowdown. 2013, and the first half of 2014 have seen numbers dip a bit, but the country is still on track for significant positive growth. He is also inheriting the country on the eve of the completion of a major expansion project of the Panama Canal, as well as a recently built subway system, and an enhanced urban infrastructure in the capital. As far as Varela’s concerned, the people expect him to continue the civic and social progress started by his predecessor, while at the same time weeding out some of the corruption, and nepotism, which tarnished the Martinelli regime.

Continue reading about Panama’s new president…


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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