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Monday, September 01 2014 @ 03:36 AM EDT

Camacho Says "The Video" Is Designed To Divert Attention Away From Varela Hermanos SA Case

Luis Eduardo Camacho - Official Spokesman For The Government of Panama
Luis Eduardo Camacho - Official Spokesman For The Government of Panama
"This view (the video of the statements of Raul Mata) was created to try to deflect the issue that has arisen in the public opinion about the non-payment of minimum wages by the company Varela Hermanos, SA". Thus spoke this Friday, July 6, the government spokesman Luis Eduardo Camacho, about the video circulating on the Internet which supposedly contains an alleged confession by Raul Mata on the case of the irregular sale of land in Juan Hombrón in the province of Cocle. Camacho referred to the statement made earlier this week by the Minister of Labor and Workforce Development, Alma Cortez, who said in a television interview they have issued a resolution against the company Varela Hermanos SA and the company was fined $102,500 dollars for failing to pay their workers minimum wage. "Here is the resolution, they did not pay minimum wage," Cortés said, referring to the Vice President Juan Carlo Varela, who is also the president of the Panameñista political party.

Alliance - While speaking on RPC Radio, Camacho said it is clear the publication of this video is part of a public partnership between the Panameñista party and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), of which Balbina Herrera is a member, who also appears credited in the video. The official further noted that the controversial video, which supposedly reveals who would be linked to the irregular sale of 54.3 acres of beachfront land on the shores of Juan Hombrón, reflects the interest Varela has in the land in Juan Hombron, in the Hacienda Santo Monica, and in the sand industry. Camacho said "this is an orchestrated plan, which seeks to link the Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu, who has repeatedly said he has nothing to do with the topic of Juan Hombrón". "And it also seeks to damage the image of the government," he said.

Editor's Comment: First of all, this video and the audio recorded on it will never make it into evidence as it is. The audio recording has obviously been altered and edited, and the only way to accurately and fairly judge the content is to hear the entire original with no edits. Secondly, it was clearly an illegal recording, made without the knowledge of the participants. In order to record a conversation in Panama you either need to make all parties aware that it's being recorded, or the judicial and legal authorities can do it with a court order. And obviously none of that was done in this case, so the recording is worthless as evidence. Third - the person or persons who are putting this forward obviously are driven by politics, so it can't be trusted. Who knows if it's even Raul Mata's voice on the recording. It might be, but how can anyone prove that it is?

So since it has no legal value whatsoever, the only thing left is to do what they are doing - to put it forward as a controversial hot potato. The La Prensa newspaper, at war with the Martinelli administration, can harp on it all day long and they will certainly ride this for all it's worth. Both sides continue to play their political game of "let's see who can do the most damage to the other side." I'll see your attack articles in La Prensa with an audit and a $3 million dollar fine. And, I'll raise your public statements about our administration with an audit and an inspection of your work force, and a fine of $102,500 for not paying minimum wage. On one side there's the press and public statements, and the government is responding with inspections, audits, and fines. Who do you think is going to win?

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