Out with the old In with the new

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Martinelli 2 _fmtPresident Juan Carlos Varela vowed yesterday, as constitutional President for the period from 2014 to 2019, that no one would be above the law and there would be no more impunity. In the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, and with half a dozen leaders of the hemisphere present, Varela said that “we will return strength and credibility to our democracy and its institutions.”

With less than 16 hours of diplomatic immunity left, former President Ricardo Martinelli was sworn in as a member of the Central American Parliament in Guatemala, a group that he formerly described at “a den of thieves.” The former president, who withdrew Panama from the forum by a law that was later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, said he was was justified in joining this parliament. “I said it was a den of thieves, but at that time I did not know about the work of the Central American Parliament,” he claimed.

Under Varela’s mandate, Colón province will undergo significant changes and its people will be the beneficiaries. This is the goal set by the new government that announced the renewal of the Wilcock House and other historic buildings in Colón in a $500 million program. The Minister of Housing and Land Management (Miviot), Mario Etcheleccu, explained that with the renovation of the Wilcox House, the quality of life of those living there will improve. He also said all the historic buildings and icons that are in Colón will be renovated while preserving the essence of the city. President Varela also said he will take another look at the Colón Free Port Plan.

Ricardo Martinelli was the 36th president of Panama. He served from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2014.

In 2012, Colón residents opposed the sale of Free Zone land. Former-President Martinelli presented a bill to this effect to the National Assembly and went off travelling to the Far East. Clashes between civil society and police officers ensued, leaving behind dozens of civilians dead and three wounded. Two years later, the judicial authorities closed the inquiry process because they could not determine who fired at these people. Professor Hidelfonso Vargas ensures that the authorities never investigated anything, but that the Colón people know who fired on the demonstrators.

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