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Sunday, November 19 2017 @ 05:31 AM EST

Cable: Moscoso Asked Taiwan For A Bribe

Corruption Diplomats working at Taiwan's Embassy in Panama told other diplomats working at the US Embassy in Panama that former Panamanian president Mireya Moscoso (1999 - 2004) pressured them into paying a bribe to which they agreed. This, according to Luis Arreaga, the former Deputy Chief of the US Embassy in Panama, who is now serving as the US Ambassador to Iceland, as reported in a diplomatic cable (Wikileaks) in which he criticized the controversial bribes paid by Taiwan to their Panamanian ally, at a time when Taiwan needed Panama's continuing political support and recognition as a legitimate state. The cable - delivered to La Prensa by Wikileaks and dated 23 September 2005 - also specifies that the Government of Panama "regularly" shared their budget with Taiwan in the planning stages, so that the National Assembly in Taiwan could decide how much money to "donate" to panama, and how it would be spent.

The cable also says that Jaime Chen, the counselor of the Embassy of Taiwan in Panama, said "the process was transparent and therefore Taiwan is exonerated of all suspicion of participation in Moscoso's appropriation of the charitable donations made by Taiwan." Another report cites the words of a Taiwanese diplomat who acknowledged that his country never demanded accounting records (from Panama) on the use of aid, and later they discovered that probably millions of dollars had disappeared.

When asked about the issue, Moscoso denied having bribed the Taiwanese. "That is false. When I was in Taiwan I met with President [of that country] and he asked me what work they could do for Panama. I told him the Santo Tomas hospital, the De Obaldía hospital in Chiriquí, the Foreign Ministry, the National Theater, the San Felipe Neri Church ... He told me he had to talk to his advisers and the next day we met and he told me yes, Taiwan could donate everything, but it had to be through a private foundation because previously, without naming names, Taiwan had donated money to other governments and the works had never been done. The projects were done. I never asked him for a bribe." she said.

David Hu, Taiwan's ambassador in Panama during the Moscoso administration, said at the time that his Government did not place any conditions on the delivery of the money to a private foundation. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: The simple fact of the matter is that literally no one believes a word Mireya Moscoso has to say on this issue. The fact that corrupt officials in the government of Panama stole millions of dollars from these donations made by Taiwan has been another of the "open secrets" in Panama for years. There was such an aura of corruption surrounding the administration of Mireya Moscoso that her chosen successor, José Miguel Alemán, only received 16% of the vote, coming in a distant third behind Martin Torrijos and Guillermo Endara in the 2004 election. And what's more, Martin Torrijos ran on a "clean up the corruption" campaign platform. During her administration she made a deal with Ernesto Perez Balladares to not go after him, and in return there were promises from the PRD when they took over not to go after her. In addition, when it became apparent that Ricardo Martinelli was going to win in 2009, she approached him and conditioned her support on a request that he not go after her once in office. And of course she denies all of this stuff, and no one believes her - because she's a bald faced lying corrupt politician of the worst order. And who's in line to take back over in 2014? You guessed it, the same political party, but this time led by Juan Carlos Varela. Look at it this way - Ricardo Martinelli and his "Democratic Change" party got elected mostly because everyone already knows that both traditional political parties are corrupt as hell, and they were hoping he would prove to be different. And, how has that worked out?

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