SUNTRACS Leader Saul Mendez Just Screwed Up
Friday, February 22 2008 @ 07:35 am EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning on the Telemetro 13 news program SUNTRACS leader Saul Mendez challenged the fifteen nationally recognized Panamanian journalists who attended the official state intelligence briefing regarding connections between SUNTRACS and extreme leftist political organizations in Latin America to present the documents "page by page" in order to determine "who is lying." Mendez is thinking the same thing as many other people in Panama - it simply does not make any sense for one Vice President to brief journalists with official state intelligence information, and then six days later to see Panama's First Vice President, Chancellor, and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro release an official statement saying that information is false. But, Saul Mendez is making a big mistake... -- (more)
The Information Is Real: I did my own investigation into this "whiplash" story and have reached the conclusion it was most likely a coordinated effort by Panamanian President Martin Torrijos to have his cake and eat it to. The Panamanian government presented an intelligence briefing to the most prominent Panamanian journalists and provided them with a package of printed intelligence information regarding meddling of the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez in Panama. It is absolutely certain at this point the meeting did in fact occur, the journalists were handed packages of intelligence and information to prove the assertions being made in the briefing, and apparently Panamanian state intelligence officers have a pretty good handle on who is doing the dirty work on the ground in Panama. So, SUNTRACS and leftist extremists in Panama are working together to destabilize the country. Got it.
"Page By Page..." Saul Mendez wants to try to make the Panamanian government look bad and that's all he really cares about right now. This morning on Telemetro 13 news he challenged all of the journalists who received intelligence and information packages from the Chief of the Panamanian Security Council to publish the intelligence "page by page" to see who is lying. His point is simple - if the information does exist, then Vice President Samuel Lewis Navarro is lying when he said on 19 February 2008 in a press conference held specifically for international journalists (only) that Panama does not hold any such information.
Why The Whiplash? In the realm of international diplomatic relations between countries conflicts, disagreements, and friction always exists. In this case there is a good chance the administration of Martin Torrijos decided they needed to send a loud and clear (and undeniable) message to the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez. In other words - We know what you're doing, we have proof and intelligence information, and we want it to stop, now. On the other hand Panama does a lot of business with Venezuela. So, they have a need to be able to deny that the information or problem exists - at least for international consumption. Notice that the only two international news outlets that picked up on the 19 Feb 2008 press release were the Prensa Latina from Havana and another similar state-controlled news organization in Venezuela. In other words, in Cuba and Venezuela the people were spoon-fed a load of bullshit, which they lapped up right on cue.
Why Saul Mendez Is Screwing Up: If Hugo Chavez was within reach he probably would have slapped Saul Mendez in the back of the head when he started with his "show me the documents page by page" rant. Hopefully the journalists who have that information will now print those documents, page by page. Ok, Saul, here's the proof. And yes, the Foreign Minister was simply doing the international diplomacy dance (that has to be done sometimes) to try to plug some of the the holes and leaks in the ship of Panama-Venezuela bilateral relations. But Saul is standing there insisting that those little plugs and patches be ripped out. If that happens then the boat sinks, and (by the way) Panama's Attorney General should then charge Saul Mendez, the rest of the SUNTRACS leadership, and anyone who's coming here to create riots with subversion, Fernando Bossi included. And why not?
Opposition Political Leaders: Billy Ford, the President of the Union Patriotica political party, former Vice President of Panama and former Ambassador from Panama to the United States told me "if the PRD government has this intelligence information, and if there are actually foreigners in Panama fostering riots and destabilizing the country, then those people should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." Panama has to make a choice. On one hand there are people coming here, primarily from Venezuela and Nicaragua, who are trying to foster the communist extremist left-wing revolution from within. On the other hand Panama does a good amount of business and trade with Venezuela, and they are apparently trying to have their cake and to eat it to.
Nicaraguan Deported: Last week Panama arrested and deported an activist back to Nicaragua who had overstayed his welcome. He was identified and arrested during the SUNTRACS demonstrations and deported back to Nicaragua. Here's a suggestion - the next time that happens why not arrest the guy, and then charge him with international terrorism. Panama City was held hostage for a week thanks to the SUNTRACS strikes - and I'm sure the United States would be more than happy to help Panama develop the information necessary to successfully prosecute and convict guys like this.
My, The Worm Has Turned: Back in the old days Arnulfo Arias was the extremely right-wing Panamanian politician Washington wanted in place to keep communism in check during the height of the cold war. Omar Torrijos was much more popular and left-leaning, and he overthrew Arnulfo Arias in a military coup. So the PRD was seen as "left" and the opposition was seen as "right." And now, the extreme-left is demonstrating against the PRD administration of Martin Torrijos because he's not "left enough." Go figure. It's weird to see because the PRD has always traditionally swallowed up the more extreme leftist political parties like Borg.
Not Going To Say Any More: The Panamanian government probably is not going to say very much more on this issue, for now. The message has been sent loud and clear to Caracas in a manner that can not be denied later. Panama is just about two inches away from a complete and total break in diplomatic relations with Venezuela which would include a recall of the Panamanian Ambassador and a formal and public declaration. And guess what - if Hugo Chavez wants to continue doing what he's doing in Panama and in the rest of Latin America, then this exact same story is going to repeat itself all throughout the region. Governments and administrations such as Panama's are going to throw him out by the collar - and arrest and prosecute anyone who keeps it up anyway.
Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.