Contributed by: Don WinnerThe socio-political crisis in Venezuela and its respective international impact seems to be sneaking into the Panamanian presidential campaign.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the termination of political and economic ties with Panama, and he took the opportunity to demonstrate his affinity with the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), whose presidential candidate is Juan Carlos Navarro.
After throwing all kinds of diatribes against Panama and his government, Maduro said Chavez "always supported Torrijos" and he named a building after General Omar Torrijos in one of the popular sectors in Caracas.
The Venezuelan president cut ties with Panama claiming a foreign "interference" in local politics.
However, just a few hours later, Maduro immersed himself in the same sorts of problems he was complaining about, intervening in the politics of another country by singing the praises of Torrijos and the PRD.
Panama is in the final stretch of an electoral campaign year and Maduro announced with great fanfare that he will not resume relations with Panama unless the country asks for forgiveness - or with another government, that according to his tastes would be the PRD, said a political analyst.
Contrary to many members of the opposition parties in Panama who have openly rejected Maduro's statements, the PRD and their candidate Navarro have maintained a cautious stance on the issue, and his statements have been "light" considering the seriousness of the matter.
Just so there is no doubt, the PRD leader and former Panamanian Ambassador to Cuba, Rafael Moreno Saavedra, instead of questioning Maduro, claimed that the position taken by Panama to elevate the Venezuela issue to the OAS was an "outburst" - and then he expanded with insults against President Ricardo Martinelli.
"I was shocked to hear a former ambassador who is said to be a member of the PRD party speaking incoherently about Panama's action before the OAS," said the lawyer Ernesto Cedeņo via his Twitter account.
Another who has avoided addressing the issue of Venezuela and the insults being launched at Panama is the former president and International Socialist leader, Martin Torrijos.
Do not forget that in August 2004, Hugo Chavez froze relations with Panama after the then-President Mireya Moscoso pardoned Luis Posada Carriles, but then two weeks after the PRD and Torrijos took power, relations between the two countries were normalized.
Editor's Comment: This must be a big day of no surprises. Of course Venezuela is backing the PRD and Juan Carlos Navarro. Just like they backed the PRD and Balbina Herrera in the run-up to the 2009 election. See: Balbina Herrera's Campaign Financed By Hugo Chavez?. This is what Venezuela does. They have supported the winning candidates in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Those countries then become their partners in drug trafficking. This play shows the difference between Chavez and Maduro. Chavez was smart enough to keep it under the table, while Maduro is apparently a political idiot. The PRD will lose, and he just openly confirmed what everyone already knew, anyway. He's not going to be changing anyone's vote in Panama - if anything the specter of a leftist commie dictator in Panama will send people running towards Arias. People still remember the 21 years of military dictatorship in Panama under Torrijos and Noriega very well, and they certainly don't want to return to anything like that. They will take their right-wing corrupt billionaire over their left-wing corrupt drug trafficker, any day. Don't you just love Latin American politics?
Fast Forward A Couple Of Months: "Panama's newly elected president Jose Domingo Arias announced Panama will be providing moral, political, and material support to the growing right-wing militant movement in Venezuela, trying to overthrow Maduro's increasingly isolated administration. Following months of protests and thousands of deaths, the UN and OAS finally passed resolutions condemning Maduro, and the unprecedented levels of violence and terror he has unleashed in an attempt to squash the rebel movement. Money and weapons from the United States are said to be flowing freely on ships from Panama to clandestine rebel outposts along the Caribbean coast..." Sound familiar? In Nicaragua, the name "Contra" came from "counter revolutionary." Meaning, they were the guys who were trying to overthrow the left wing revolutionary government of the Sandinistas. This sort of stuff isn't new in Latin America. Not by a long shot. In fact, the above paragraph - fiction today - might not be all that much of a reach.