Panama lawmaker wanted by U.S. won't seek reelection
Saturday, March 08 2008 @ 01:42 AM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
Editor's Comment: A couple of weeks ago Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro traveled to the United States to meet with members of congress, specifically Congressman Charles Rangel, in an attempt to push through the bilateral free trade agreement between the US and Panama. The only thing he had to offer was a letter from Pedro Miguel Gonzalez promising that he would not seek reelection when his term expires on 31 August 2008. According to one US embassy official the gesture was considered to be both weak and "laughable." But now it appears that the letter is real and the PRD is going to hold Pedro Miguel Gonzalez to it. Good. I'll feel better after the May 2009 election when "PMG" is running against only one unified opposition candidate for reelection to his seat in the National Assembly. He will lose, and then he can go drive a cab or something. Hey, wait a minute. The minute he is no longer a member of the Panamanian National Assembly then he is no longer protected by any kind of immunity. Maybe we can get Colombia to take him out... (grin)
U.S. law allows the prosecution of individuals accused of killing Americans overseas.
Hernandez, aged 22, was shot dead outside Panama City hours before the arrival in the capital of former President George H.W. Bush, the first presidential visit since the December 1989 U.S. invasion to topple General Manuel Noriega.
Gonzalez's election in September 2007 has turned into a major obstacle in relations between Panama and the United States, helping delay up a free-trade agreement between the two countries.
Panamanian business leaders have called for the deal, which has been approved by Panama but not ratified by the U.S. Congress, to enter in to force as soon as possible and have criticized the Panamanian government's handling of the matter.
Earlier this week, in a speech to business leaders, Domingo Latorraca, head of the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce, urged the government to try harder to resolve the impasse and revive the deal, which is hoped would boost investment in Panama.
No one from Gonzalez's office was available for comment.
(Reporting by Andrew Beatty; editing by Catherine Bremer and Philip Barbara)