Adios, Pinhead - Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Steps Down
Monday, September 01 2008 @ 04:39 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - As of this morning Assemblyman Pedro Miguel Gonzalez is no longer the President of the Panamanian National Assembly. He was replaced by PRD Assemblyman Raúl Rodríguez from the 4-7 district in Chiriqui in a vote this morning. Gonzalez remains under indictment by the United States for the terrorist assassination of US Army Sergeant Zak Hernandez in 1992. Gonzalez fled Panama after the murder and hid overseas for two years and only returned to face "trial" after this father, a prominent PRD politician, was able to make a deal with then PRD Panamanian President Ernesto "El Toro" Perez Balladares. When he finally did face trial in Panama, he was (surprise, surprise) acquitted. (more)
Normally Two Years: The president of the Panamanian National Assembly normally does a two year stint. In this case, Pedro Miguel Gonzalez agreed to not seek reelection in order to facilitate the passage of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Panama. So, he basically stepped aside. In fact, he should have resigned months ago, for the good of the country. This way, he got what he wanted, put that check mark next to his name. It's a shame, really. He's a national embarrassment.
Now, To Sink Further: Expect the star of Pedro Miguel Gonzalez to continue sinking. Political opposition leaders have indicated their intentions to unify their efforts in the district Gonzalez represents to unseat him in the May 2009 elections. Once that happens, he loses all protection offered to sitting members of the National Assembly. Then, the United States can simply request his extradition for trial in the United States on charges of murder as a terrorist assassin.
Happy He's Gone: The presence of Pedro Miguel Gonzalez caused the bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Panama to become stuck in the jaw of the US congress. Now, there's no way congress will pass that agreement (or any other free trade agreement) until after the US presidential elections in November. If Barack Obama wins, it might never pass. No matter what, basically everyone is happy to see Pedro Miguel Gonzalez out of that position.
Best Of Luck: Best wishes and good luck to Raúl Rodríguez as the new president of the National Assembly. It's just nice for Panamanians to have someone in that position who is not under indictment for murder by the United States of America. I'm sure Raúl Rodríguez will do a bang-up job, and he's already making noises and speeches focusing on making amends and patching fences.
Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.