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Thursday, June 20 2019 @ 02:51 AM UTC

Yao Says The Gunas Are Not Obligated To Turn Over Drug Trafficking Boats

Drug TraffickingInternational law expert Julio Yao said today on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast, the Guna Yala General Congress is not obligated to turn over any boat used by drug traffickers to the State Border Service (SENAFRONT), because their region is shielded by the Constitution, and the national authorities must ask permission.

Yao said now another ingredient arises in the conflict, the enforcement of the Salas Becker treaty, against which a claim of unconstitutionality was submitted by the former director of the Public Registry, the Panameńista Luis Barria and the PRD's Pedro Miguel Gonzalez, and he agrees with them, but the request "sleeps the dreams of the just" in the Supreme Court.

Yao said the boat, a bone of contention between the local "sahilas" and the SENAFRONT, was chased by a U.S. helicopter, came to national waters, and took refuge on Isla Tigre. There the U.S. helicopter could not act because it has no jurisdiction, but neither can the SENAFRONT argued the expert. If they were trafficking drugs or not, procedures must be followed, the laws of the District are recognized by the Panamanian government, Yao stressed. What's more, he said the "sahilas" could even demand that the crew who were arrested and the drugs that were seized be returned to them. "Everything should be coordinated with the Guna General Congress," said Yao, adding it's the duty of the Guna authorities to discipline and punish crime in the region.

However, he emphasized that what is being discussed is how the crime is pursued, because it involved an additional element, which is the Salas Becker treaty. He recalled this treaty was signed on February 5, 2002 in the government of former President Mireya Moscoso during carnival and published in the Official Gazette on Ash Wednesday. "It was a madrugonazo" he said referring to the sudden adoption of the instrument. This treaty was signed between the U.S. and Panama (specifically by the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy Frederick Becker and the then Minister of Government and Justice Anibal Salas for Panama) to conduct joint patrols in Panamanian waters and to fly over the airspace to pursue the drug trafficking. The document was never passed to the National Assembly for approval or rejection. (TVN)

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