Cover Story

Martinelli promotes business

UN Assembly in NY

Ricardo Martinelli and Marta Linares
President Ricardo Martinelli
with First Lady Marta Linares
de Martinelli at Yankee Stadium.
“We are open for business!” said President Ricardo Martinelli to the world. He was in the Big Apple last week attending the 64th United Nations (UN) General Assembly. He kept busy in meetings with important government figures like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and making key public appearances. Martinelli rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and threw the first pitch at a Yankee’s game, becoming the first president ever to do so. The crowd was reported to break into cheer when Yankees star pitcher and Panamanian Mariano Rivera caught the well-aimed pitch.

“We have a new government led by two businessmen, and we are not politicians,” Martinelli told CNN en Español viewers during an interview on the “Economia y Finanzas” program. The president went on to promote Panama as “a hub of investment”, stable, with a current growth rate of 3% growth rate and with plans for sustainable growth that should be attractive for all those who wish to come to the country.

“We are going to turn Panama into the Hong Kong or Dubai of the Americas”

The opening pitch at the Yankees Stadium
The opening pitch at the Yankees Stadium
The opening pitch at the Yankees Stadium
The opening pitch by President Martinelli, followed by an embrace with “Number 42”, the Yankees star closer, Panamanian Mariano Rivera. The Yankees were playing the Boston Red Sox. It was a shutout win.

Martinelli discussed business opportunities in Panama with the Americas Society, an organization established in 1965 by David Rockefeller and dedicated to education, debate, and dialogue in the Americas.

Martinelli and Vice President Juan Carlos Varela attended the UN Summit on Climate Change, where chiefs of state were urged to educate their countries’ populations on the subject. Panama’s efforts to combat climate change though renewable energy sources and a clean new mass transit system were presented.

In his Wednesday, September 23 speech before the UN General Assembly, Martinelli opened with a lesson in evolutionary history. When Panama rose out of the oceans and united the Americas over three million years ago, it changed the face of the earth and created the environment in which modern man has evolved. Then he spoke about today and what his government had done in their first 84 days of service and promoted the country’s economic opportunities, “like the ones at Panama Pacifico.”

Martinelli and Hillary Clinton
Martinelli with US Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton.
In his speech he said: “In these five years, we have to show how our economic and government model can be an example for all who seek prosperity and progress... I got into politics to change the way things are done... We are going to turn Panama into the Hong Kong or Dubai of the Americas... We are open for business!” His speech was met with several rounds of applause.

During the visit to New York, Martinelli also met with Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and the Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus regarding Bilateral Trade Agreements. The Emir of Quatar, Sheik Hamad bin Kahlifa Al-Thani, will visit Panama next year. Such was decided in a meeting between the Sheik and Martinelli who were discussing double taxation, copyright and oil. After a reception with US President Barack Obama, Martinelli reported that a “positive climate” surrounding the pending trade agreement with the US.