Panama. According to
Panama has a population of 4.177 million (2018). The political opposition to President Ricardo Martinelli intensified during the year. Among other things,
the country's trade union central organization Frenadeso
protested in March against the government's planned
restructuring of tax policy and mobilized tens of thousands
of protesters. After clashes with police, 200 people were
arrested. At the same time, Martinelli was accused of
increasingly autocratic practices, for example, by passing
on the statutory rights of Indians in the country's five
autonomous regions, comarcas, with the aim of facilitating
the exploration of copper deposits.
In June, for the first time, the Panama government
acknowledged that the Colombian guerrilla group FARC
(Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) operates in
Panama. President Martinelli's approach to the US was seen
in the light of this, for example through a bilateral
security agreement concluded in June and the military
exercise PANAMAX in August that simulated an attack by a
left-wing guerrilla group against the Panama Canal.
In April 2006, the Panama Canal presented a project to
expand the canal at a cost of $ 5.25 billion. US $. Of
these, 2.3 billion taken out as a loan abroad. In order to
be launched, the project had to be adopted by a referendum.
That happened in October, with 78% voting for the expansion.
Panama and France quarreled in August 2007 about the
future of former President Noriega. Both countries wanted
him extradited from the United States once he had suffered
his drug trafficking sentence. Panama wanted to prosecute
him for a series of murders while France accused him of
money laundering. Noriega could be released from prison in
Florida from Sept. 9, but he remained behind bars while
attorneys gushed about his future.
The May 2009 presidential election was won by Ricardo
Martinelli as the leader of a right-wing coalition.
Martinelli initiated a series of measures to reduce poverty
in the country, including US $ 100 in monthly pension for
the elderly, increase in minimum wage and student subsidies.
Despite efforts, 24% of the population lived below the
national poverty line in 2013, and 6.6% lived in extreme
US Ambassador to Panama, Barbara J. Stephenson, in August
2009 complained to the North American Department of Foreign
Affairs about Martinelli's aggressive methods. Among other
things. he had approached her with a request to intercept
his political opponents. We don't know if the US did, but
Stephenson's memorandum to the State Department was
published in December 2010 as part of WikiLeak's leak of
Martinelli was involved in a scandal in January 2010 when
he tried to nominate his own candidate for the post of
Secretary of the Interior. Acc. the constitution is the
incumbent minister to appoint his successor.
In December 2011, Martinelli had former President Manuel
Noriega extradited from France. Apparently a diversionary
maneuver from several scandals in the government. In May
2012, 55% of Panamans estimated that their president was
doing a bad or very bad job. He was apparently also involved
in bribery aggression. have received a bribe from Italy's
Juan Carlos Varela of the conservative populist Partido
Panameñista (PP) won the parliamentary elections in May 2014
with 39.1% of the vote. The second most votes got José
Domingo Arias from Cambio Democrático (CD) - also
conservatively populist. However, in the simultaneous
election to the National Assembly, PP got only 12 out of 71
seats (a decline of 10), while CD got 30 (an increase of