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Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 04:56 PM EDT

Panama Working To Identify Human Remains Of Victims of Military Dictatorship

Panama NewsThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revived efforts to identify the human remains that have been extracted from various grave sites found throughout Panama, suspected to belong to people murdered during the years of the military dictatorship (1968 - 1989), according to Minister Roberto Henriquez. According to Henriquez, the work is being done mainly in Panama by the families of the victims, the Foreign Ministry of Panama, the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science, and the prosecutors of the Public Ministry. However, he explained they have hired a special team of medical examiners from Argentina to help in the identification of the remains. "Right now we are sending to Argentina the remains that could belong to Floyd Britton, Marlene Mendizábal, and [Jorge] Falconet, but obviously we must await identification," he said. Besides these remains, Minister Henriquez said during an interview on the TVN morning news program there are a large number of other sets of remains in the facilities of forensic medicine for subsequent identification. While acknowledging that this work will take time, "the important thing is that we have reactivated this process that had been stopped," Henriquez said. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Dozens if not hundreds of people were murdered during the brutal military dictatorships of Omar Torrijos (1968 - 1981) and Manuel Antonio Noriega (1983 - 1989). Omar Torrijos created the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) in 1979 in order to give an air of legitimacy to his military dictatorship, so the PRD is basically the party representing the years of the military dictatorship. After Noriega was arrested and thrown in prison by the government of the United States as a result of the US Just Cause military invasion, the PRD has been elected to run the country twice, Ernesto Perez Balladares (1994 - 1999) and Martin Torrijos (2004 - 2009). So, in the 22 years since the invasion and a return of democracy to Panama, about half of that time has been under the control of the PRD. Every time the PRD gets back in power they shut down this investigatory process of trying to identify the remains of those killed during the years of the military dictatorship, and every time a non-PRD party has been elected - either the Panameńistas or now the Cambio Democratico - the reactivate the process. These types of headlines serve to remind everyone of the brutal, murderous, and repressive nature of the PRD. And when they say the current leadership of the PRD are "dinosaurs" what they really mean is that those guys are contemporaries of Torrijos and Noriega.

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