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Sunday, August 31 2014 @ 04:33 AM EDT

Martinelli Appoints Roberto Henríquez As New Foreign Minister - Jimmy Papadimitriu Is Gone

Panama NewsBy DON WINNER for - It's official. This afternoon the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, appointed Roberto Henríquez as the new Minister of the Presidency. Henríquez replaces Jimmy Papadimitriu who had occupied the post since 1 July 2009. The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Álvarez De Soto will temporarily be in charge of the Foreign Ministry until a permanent replacement is named for Henríquez.

Movin' On Up: Roberto Henríquez started off in this administration as the Minister of Trade and Industry. He was moved up to head the Foreign Ministry (with title of Chancellor of the Republic) on 30 August 2011, after Ricardo Martinelli fired Vice President Juan Carlos Varela from that position, when the alliance between the Cambio Democratico and Panameñista political parties broke apart. And now with the departure of Jimmy Papadimitriu, Roberto Henríquez takes one more step up - and one step closer to the President's ear - with this appointment to the Ministry of the Presidency.

Ready, Aim... Ricardo Martinelli doesn't allow for the taking of many prisoners. The current administration is flush with people who were hired because they rode in on Jimmy Papadimitriu's coattails. And now of course none of those people will be considered as trustworthy, so they will all be fired. During the course of this week there will be a flurry of activity with people either resigning or getting fired, their replacements being named, etc. There will be a lot of shifting parts and pieces as heads are lopped off, and others are moved up to fill their spots. Every promotion, resignation, or firing creates a vacancy and therefore a new spot to be filled, and a guy like Roberto Henríquez will probably be bringing people with him on the move as well. There might be dozens of these types of movements.

La Estrella Had It Right: During the course of the weekend there was some speculation growing that the La Estrella newspaper - who broke the story in the first place on Friday afternoon - might have somehow gotten played, mostly because there was no official confirmation or statement for three days from the national government after the story broke. Even today at noon the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ricardo Quijano once again repeated that Jimmy Papadimitriu was still in his post. And then a few hours later, this official release came out of the Presidency on the appointment of Henríquez to replace him. So, La Estrella got their grand slam, it just took awhile to reach the scoreboard. Good for them.

The Juan Hombron Mess: So it's probably true that Jimmy Papadimitriu quit in a huff over the Executive Order signed by Ricardo Martinelli last week. That whole thing will now probably devolve into a legal and political quagmire that will fester for decades. Martinelli issued his Executive Order because it was a simple political necessity to kill the whole Juan Hombron scandal with a bullet to the head, even if it meant screwing over the Papadimitriu family's investment. The bigger prize is the 2014 election, and they had to get that whole thing behind them as quickly and as cleanly as possible. Now for the other side - the opposition politicians of the PRD and Panameñista parties - they will try to keep Juan Hombron alive on life support as long as possible. They don't want that scandal to fade from the minds of voters, so you can expect them to wheel old Juan into the ICU as of right now and hook his ass up to every known sort of medication and monitor. There will be suits filed, complaints, cases, denouncements, etc. (ad nauseum) - And for the love of God, will someone with a television camera please go running out right now to find out what Balbina Herrera thinks. And Milton Henriquez. And Miguel Antonio Bernal. And Raisa Banfield. And Samuel Lewis Navarro. And Jose Blandon. And that new guy who was just elected to the APEDE. And Gerardo Solis. And (any member of the Panameñista political party). Please, interview them, and give them thirty minutes of air time to spout, blow, and vent their spleens. Yeesh...

Fish In The Bowl: And the fish just keep swimming around in their bowl. Some have teeth. All of them have tails. And every now and then, one of them manages to swim really fast and make a break for it. Bye, Jimmy. It's been a barrel of laughs. And thanks for finally killing that damn "Diablo Rojo" - a feat no one else could accomplish. So feel free to hop on your brand new air conditioned Metro Bus and ride off into the sunset. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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