Weeden: The Titling Of Land In Juan Hombron Was Illegal
Monday, July 16 2012 @ 11:01 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Weeden said while speaking on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast that the only thing the President Ricardo Martinelli has done was to open the way for the Papadimitriu family to go to court and sue the nation to demand compensation for $25 to $30 million dollars. (Estrella)
Editor's Comment: OK, I know this is very confusing. Let me try to explain it to you. First of all, back when Panama was first created as a nation, many people held titles to land granted to them when it was part of Colombia. Issuing land titles is a function of the Executive branch of government, and from the birth of Panama in 1903 through 1968 and the start of the years of the military dictatorship, many people were issued title to most of the valuable land in the country. Then in 1968 after Omar Torrijos took over the country, he created this concept of "Rights of Possession" - basically, if you're on it, you can own it. The problem was there were rich and privileged land owners who held title to vast swaths of land in the country, and the poor peasants were little more than slave workers or some form of indentured servants. So with the stroke of a pen, land ownership and titles went out the window, and any squatter can make a claim, simply by being on it.
The National Assembly created the new National Land Authority and the hope was that the administration of Ricardo Martinelli was going to try to do something to clean up this mess. Because, it really is a huge friggin' mess that Torrijos created. They made provisions and created rules on what you can do to obtain title for land, but there are restrictions on the size of the lots, in order for the Nation to pass ownership to a private individual tax free. That's why they had to break up this 54 hectare parcel into 14 smaller parcels, in order to get them under this size cap.
The bogus owners were found and paid off. They submitted their paperwork and were given Rights of Possession documents. They then submitted those documents to obtain title, which was quickly granted. So, are you following along? The state first recognized their (bogus) claim on the land. Then the state granted them (bogus) title. And lastly, through the Executive Order issued last week, President Martinelli said "screw that" and ordered all of the land to be returned back to the hands of the Nation, in an attempt to reverse everything that had been done up to that point.
So, Weeden is right. If the original ROP still stands, and if the titles were valid, then they have a chance of making a claim in court. This is one massive kluster. Martinelli was hoping to shoot it in the head to make it all go away, but he might have just made a bloody mess.