Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 06:48 AM EDT

View Printable Version

Man Executed Near Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal

Crime & PunishmentRuben Oses Delgado, 26, was executed by the road leading to the former Fort Sherman military base, in a forested area next to the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal, in the province of Colon. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Delays By Electoral Prosecutor Draw Criticism

Law & LawyersThe work - or rather the inactivity - of the Electoral Prosecutor Eduardo Penaloza continues to attract criticism. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

San Felipe Fire Leaves At Least Two Killed, Others Missing, Many Injured and Homeless

Safety & SecurityLast night, at approximately 8:00 pm a fire started in the building located in 9th Street, La Terraza, San Felipe. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Fire Destroys Building in San Felipe - One Killed

Safety & SecurityA fire consumed an old building in San Felipe last night known as "Caserón Terraza 9" located between 9th and 11th Streets. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Doubts Over Metro Fare Linger

Infrastructure UpgradesThe publication of a technical and economic report written by the Road Commission of the Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects stating the Panama Metro will require $194 million per year to meet operating expenses has raised new questions. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Trial Decision Delayed for Man Accused of Girlfriend's Panama Death

Expat TalesBy Andie Adams and Vanessa Herrera - A federal judge has decided to hold off on an obstruction of justice trial for the man accused of killing his girlfriend in Panama.

Brian Brimager, 38, is the lead suspect in the death of Yvonne Baldelli, who went missing while the two were on vacation in Central America in 2011.

Baldelli’s remains were found in a zipped bag off the coast of Isla Carenero in Aug. 2013. A federal grand jury charged Brimager with obstructing justice and making false statements to law enforcement, and he was arrested by the FBI in the Vista area on June 26, 2013.

Prosecutors allege he underwent an elaborate scheme to cover up Baldelli’s death.

On Friday, the federal judge heard a defense motion to dismiss charges against Brimager. The judge did not throw out the charges, but he also did not set a trial date, calling the hearing a “dicey matter.”

While prosecutors were expecting a trial date, they accepted a 90-day motion.

Baldelli’s family said the delay will give officials in Panama more time to gather the evidence.

Brimager’s defense said there has to be a “clear nexus” in the case, and if it goes to a jury trial, they want wording on the charges changed.

James Faust Jr., Baldelli’s brother, told NBC 7 it was heart-wrenching to see the “emaciated” Brimager in court Friday, but the family is glad he has not been released from custody.

“The jumpsuit suits him very well though, and those shackles, those chains on his ankles are music to my ears," said Baldelli’s sister Michele Valenzuela.

According to the grand jury indictment, Brimager and Baldelli traveled to Bocas Del Toro, Panama, in Sept. 2011. They stayed in a hostel on Isla Carenero, an island off the coast accessible only by boat.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office accused Brimager of physically abusing Baldelli, and she was last seen with him at a Panamanian restaurant on Nov. 26, 2011.

Prosecutors allege that soon after that, Brimager killed Baldelli. Investigators said he then tried to cover up her death by sending emails to family and friends from her laptop, posing as Baldelli. The emails said she was traveling to Costa Rica with another man.

Brimager allegedly disposed of a bloody mattress from their Isla Carenero hostel by dumping it in the ocean, investigators said. According to the indictment, Brimager had done two internet searches on Baldelli’s laptop for instructions on getting blood stains out of a mattress.

Court documents also accuse Brimager of packing Baldelli’s belongings into ten large garbage bags and leaving them on the dock outside their hostel for disposal.

Brimager then used Baldelli’s ATM card in Costa Rica and San Jose to make it look like she was still alive, prosecutors said.

When investigators questioned the suspect about Baldelli’s disappearance, they said Brimager lied to them and claimed she took her laptop to travel. That same laptop was found in his possession in 2012, at which point he changed his story and said the device never went to Panama and he never sent emails from it.

Nearly two years after vanishing, Baldelli’s body was discovered on a small island off the Isla Carenero coastline. Forensic scientists used DNA analysis on the skull and bones to identify her.

Brimager now faces 13 charges in connection with Baldelli’s death. If convicted on all counts, he would have to serve a maximum sentence of 205 years in prison and a $2.5 million fine.

Baldelli’s family said if Brimager goes to trial and is convicted in the U.S., they hope he will then be extradited to Panama to face murder charges.

“Justice is most important for us, and justice will be done when he is incarcerated – like I said – for the rest of his life,” said Baldelli’s father James Faust.

Many of the family members have made it a priority to attend Brimager’s hearings en masse.

“He did everything he could, hoping that people would forget her and not investigate and try to cover his tracks. But it didn’t work and we’re all here and he’s in jail,” said Baldelli’s niece Lauren Beyer.

NBC 7 reached out to Brimager’s defense attorney, but so far, no response has been returned. (nbcsandiego.com)

Editor's Comment: My guess is the judge punted on the issue for 90 days because they know Panama is about to finalize their request for extradition, to have Brimager returned to Panama to face murder charges. And 50 years in a Panamanian prison is a longer and tougher stretch than 205 years in a US prison. If he gets extradited to Panama, then they can keep him in prison for a very long time. If he ever gets released then they can boot him back to the US, where he can die in prison there. If justice is to be served, then Brimager will face murder charges in Panama, where he killed Baldelli.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Daniel Moreno Melendez Convicted in Murder of American Expat Denise Mullen Hiller - Sentenced To 25 Years in Prison

Expat Tales By Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - Daniel Moreno Melendez was convicted of murder in the case of the American expatriate Denise Mullen Hiller, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Moreno Melendez killed Denise Mullen Hiller during the evening of Thursday, 18 February 2010 in her apartment in the Paitilla neighborhood of Panama City.

According to the autopsy Denise died as a result of severe head trauma caused by a blunt object.

During the trial Moreno Melendez admitted he met the victim at the hotel where he worked. He was a bartender at the "Champions" Sports Bar in the Marriott hotel in downtown Panama City. Moreno said he and Hiller struck up a friendship, but he denied having murdered Hiller. He maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

The Second Superior Tribunal convicted him of aggravated homicide, and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Two of the three judges sitting on the tribunal voted for conviction, and there was a dissenting minority opinion.

Police detectives, forensics experts, and investigators working for the prosecutor of the Public Ministry were able to determine that Moreno Melendez surprised the victim and struck her in the skull from behind. She had no chance to defend herself, and he did not try to help her.

During the trial it came out that there were supposedly indications of a "condition of evident superiority" between the perpetrator and the victim.

Justice Luis Mario Carrasco wrote a dissenting opinion in this case, who said the prosecution was not able to prove the existence of premeditation.

He went on to say the prosecution was only able to prove that Daniel Moreno was in the company of the deceased in her apartment in the late afternoon, and at that time she was alive. He also said the accused lied to investigators throughout the investigation. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: This news article actually appeared in the La Critica newspaper in the middle of last year. There was no news article published anywhere in the Panamanian Spanish language press when the conviction was handed down, and I missed this one when it was published at the time. This evening I was going through the news and ran across an article about a different case and court trial. That prompted me to do a search, and I found this.

Justice moves very slowly in Panama, especially when the prosecutors are convinced they have the right guy behind bars. Moreno killed Denise Mullen Hiller on Thursday, 18 February 2010. Her body was discovered the next day, on Friday. Police detectives arrested Moreno was arrested just a few days later, on Monday evening, 22 February 2010 - thanks to information provided to me by Denise's "close family member" (who was in the United States at the time). I relayed the details for her to the DIJ, and they were able to quickly coordinate with the prosecutor, find Moreno's house in Arraiján, post a stake-out, and arrest him when he returned home from work later that evening. He has been in prison since that day.

This case represents the first time I was able to help the family members of a murder victim by providing the details and information they had to the Panamanian authorities, resulting in an arrest. Also, this is the first conviction for murder in any of the cases in which I've been involved. The serial killers William Dathan "Wild Bill" Holbert, his accomplice Laura Michelle Reese, and the Spaniard Javier Martin have yet to face trial. Brian Brimager is still facing extradition from the United States, to be returned to Panama for the murder of Yvonne Baldelli. So it took more than three years, but today I learned that one murderer will be spending 25 years in prison for having murdered an American in Panama.

And yeah, it's satisfying. It's nice to know this scumbag will spent 25 years in prison for what he did. Remember, he actually tried to blow Denise's apartment up in an attempt to destroy evidence. After he killed her, he dragged her body out into the kitchen area. He lit a bunch of candles in the apartment, opened up the gas on the stove in the kitchen, and fled. Unfortunately for him, the dry season winds were blowing strongly and the gas in the apartment was never able to build up to the point where it reached an explosive mixture. Investigators also found traces of Denise's blood in his car, on the floor mats, accelerator, and brake pedals. Yeah, he did it. Adios, asshole...

My sincere condolences go out to Denise's friends and family members. Over the years I've spoken to many of them, and exchanged email. Denise came to Panama to work on a contract related to the expansion of the Panama Canal, and shortly after arriving she ran into this monster. At least now maybe there will be a little closure, for what it's worth.

Related Articles:

Flash - American Expat Denise Hiller - Found Dead in Paitilla 19 Feb 2010

Update on the Murder of Denise Mullen Hiller 19 Feb 2010

Denise Mullen Hiller Investigation Continues 20 Feb 2010

Denise Mullen Hiller Found Dead in Panama Apartment 20 Feb 2010

Investigating the Death of Denise Mullen Hiller in Panama 20 Feb 2010

Suspect Arrested in Brutal Murder of American Denise Mullen Hiller in Panama 23 Feb 2010

Daniel Moreno Melendez Charged With Murder of Denise Mullen Hiller in Panama 26 Feb 2010

Blood Found in Denise Mullen Hiller Murder Suspect's Car 5 Mar 2010

An Update On The Denise Hiller Murder Trial - No Date Set 11 Aug 2011

Middletown native helps ID suspected killers in Panama 4 Feb 2012

Daniel Moreno - On Trial Yesterday For The Murder Of American Citizen Denise Hiller 2 Oct 2012

Manuel Moreno Promoted From Chief of DIJ to Vice Minister of Security 12 Oct 2012

No Decision Yet In Murder Trial of Daniel Moreno Melendez in Death of US Expat Denise Hiller 16 Jan 2013

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

SUNTRACS Strike - A New Threat To The Expansion Of The Panama Canal?

Canal ExpansionWork on the project to expand the Panama Canal could be interrupted again, if the SUNTRACS construction workers go on strike. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Why Boca Chica Could Be Panama’s Smartest Real Estate Investment

Real EstateFor those who are ingrained with a North American concept of real estate valuation, understanding property values in Panama can be a crap shoot at best. Sure, some of the same familiar factors still come into play (e.g. location, location, location). But there's a lot more to it than meets the eye.

You have to consider things like how much the land is worth to the locals based on how they're using it, what the property's potential pool of buyers looks like, and whether or not there's even a decent road that offers access to the area.

After over 17 years of combined experience deciphering the Latin American real estate market, we've learned how to dig around and uncover areas or specific properties that offer the best potential return for investors. And we want to tell you a little more about our latest find.

It's none other than Boca Chica, Panama.

Here's why we think it could be one of the best real estate buys in Panama.

Boca Chica is at a pivotal point in the Panama market stage progression.

Even if you have a pretty good understanding of real estate terms, you probably aren't familiar with the concept of market stages. That's because it's basically a classification system we developed to help potential investors understand the natural progression that emerging markets go through as they transition from local villages to established communities.

Boca Chica is teetering between stages 2 and 3 of the model, with 1 being a completely undeveloped area and 5 being...well, Panama City. Without going into too much detail here, that basically means that most of the land in the area consists of large tracts owned by pioneers like us who've jumped through all the hoops necessary to buy the land from locals for rock-bottom prices.

They're beginning to break the land up into smaller lots that are accessible and affordable to a variety of end users: would-be expats who want to build a private residence, small business owners looking to launch a tourism company, or investors hoping to build a small housing community.

At this stage properties are still affordable, but much of the difficult legwork has already been done for you. Land is easy to buy. You can build to suit. And there's still plenty of room for appreciation.

Boca Chica has a multi-faceted appeal.

We mentioned that it's important, when determining the value of property in Panama, to consider who the land will ultimately appeal to. Boca Chica's audience is wide open.

There are so many different flavors to choose from in Boca Chica. There's an established local community on the mainland. Plus there are over 50 islands off the coast, and they cover every inch of the spectrum.

There are light sand beaches, dark sand beaches, mangrove forests, islands covered almost completely in rain-forest...you name it. Buyers can opt for a house on the mainland or own their own island just a short boat ride away.

Because of its varied topography, Boca Chica also offers a whole host of activities sure to please even the most adventurous expat. There are great spots for diving and surfing, islands to explore, and some of the world's best sport fishing.

Another huge part of Boca Chica's appeal is its exclusivity. While only a short distance away from one of Panama's largest cities, the area feels completely remote. It's the best of both worlds.

Boca Chica and its surrounding islands are less than an hour from the city of David.

There are a lot of remote destinations in Panama, but there aren't any that feel as isolated as Boca Chica yet are such a short distance away from shopping, culture, and an international airport.

The city of David is one of the country's largest, and it's growing fast. It offers all the goods and services you could possibly need (e.g. banks, dry cleaners, auto mechanics, etc.), and even in a slow boat you can get there from Boca Chica Island in about 40 minutes.

Not only is the proximity to David a great benefit to Boca Chica, the feeling is actually mutual. Boca Chica's beaches are frequented by many residents of David, as there just aren't a lot of other options nearby. Las Lajas is great, but it's over 2 hours away. There's also La Barqueta, but its dangerous rip current deters many would-be swimmers.

As a result, Boca Chica is most city dwellers' beach of choice, a trend that is likely to grow along with the city's population.

David's airport expansion will mean big things for Boca Chica.

One of the surest ways to bump an area from one market stage to the next is by adding infrastructure. And David's Enrique Malek International Airport is currently undergoing a massive expansion to the tune of a new 48,000 square foot terminal, 1,640 feet of additional runway, almost 158,000 square yards of repaving, and a whopping $27 million in total infrastructure investment.

These improvements will allow for heavier 737 traffic, and even frequent 757's. The airport will be safer at night and during inclement weather. The new terminal will accommodate much more activity, including customs operations, making way for international flights from the U.S. as well as other countries.

We anticipate that this increased accessibility will have the same effect as similar airport projects, like those in Costa Rica. When Liberia's international airport was built in the 1970's, it turned Guanacaste into a world-class destination at an exponential rate. It went from virtually nothing to a coveted destination packed with resorts like the Four Seasons and a Hilton.

The same thing happened when mere rumors surfaced about a Southern Zone airport in Costa Rica. Even though construction still hasn't begun, there are already tourism operations opening up shop, and property values are on the rise.

Boca Chica delivers big on its promises.

Essentially, for real estate values to increase, there has to be a demand for your property. In order for people to even see your property, you've got to make it easy for them to get there. And, when they do, it had better knock their socks off.

We can already see that the airport expansion is going to drive up traffic to Boca Chica. And, whether it's an investor who hopes to buy a $50,000 private island, an expat who wants to retire to a little cabana on the mainland, or a millionaire who's looking for a dream place to dock his yacht, we're confident that what awaits them in Boca Chica will not disappoint.

You can learn more about the real estate concepts outlined in this article (plus a lot more) in our free 56-page guide to Central American markets. Based on our years of experience, it's a blueprint for investing abroad that explains how we've repeatedly earned incredible returns, even during some tough years for the international real estate market.

It's a free download, so grab your copy today.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Navarro Was The "Most Corrupt in Panama" According To US Report

CorruptionIn relation to a banking transaction between the Municipality of Panama and Banistmo Inc. for $25 million for the purchase of the Hatillo building and other ghost investments, the US Embassy in Panama already had several reports about Juan Carlos Navarro, who at the time was the Mayor of Panama City Juan Carlos Navarro, who today is the PRD's presidential candidate. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Electoral Tribunal Responds To Communication Secretary

PoliticsIn response to the government's Communication Secretary Luis Eduardo Camacho, the Electoral Tribunal listed the laws that support the creation of the Identity Verification Service, which has been plagiarized on a website supporting the presidential campaign of José Domingo Arias, of the Democratic Change political party. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

ANAM Confiscates Illegal Wood

Environmental IssuesMore than 80 pieces of tree trunks (logs) of Cocobolo and Kira were found on private land in the districts of La Pintada and Penonomé, and although so far there have been no arrests for this environmental crime, the authorities have a suspect and the investigation has started. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Expocomer Opens Today

Money MattersExpocomer opens today, known as the most important commercial showcase for Latin America - in it's thirty-second version (XXXII ) - featuring the distinguished legal and business personality from Colombia Noemí Sanín Posada, and president Ricardo Martinelli at the inauguration. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

CD's Arias Leads All Polls in Panama's Presidential Campaign

PoliticsPromising to continue on the path started by the administration of president Ricardo Martinelli (who enjoys a 60% approval rating) has allowed the candidate of the ruing Democratic Change political party José Domingo Arias to lead all polls of likely voters, now with five weeks to go before the upcoming general national elections on 4 May 2014. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Colon Free Trade Zone Exports to Venezuela Collapse

Money MattersThe diplomatic and trade crisis between Panama and Venezuela has affected the companies in the Colon Free Zone most directly. (more)

Editor's Comment: (Today's comments, worth the price of admission all by themselves...)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Teens Suspected of Killing Cop Planned to Sail to Panama Before Suicides

Boats and SailingBy Alyssa Newcomb (ABC News) Before a teenage couple allegedly killed a Florida cop and then took their own lives, they planned to steal a boat and sail to Panama to begin a new life together, according to what police said today were their suicide notes.

Brandon Goode, 18, and Alexandria Hollinghurst, 17, were found dead Saturday morning of gunshot wounds from apparent suicides, police said, noting the couple’s bodies were found shortly after Officer Robert German, 31, was fatally wounded.

The couple’s apparent suicide notes were released today by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, which also said the teens had ran away from home on Friday.

In the note that police said was written by Goode, he told his parents ”sorry for all the pain and misery I have brought you both, not just now but from these past few years as well.” “I love you both so much, I love you with all my heart,” the letter continues. “Please don’t be sad, this is what I want now, I get to die peacefully with the woman I love, the woman of my dreams, my fiance (Yes we were engaged!).”

The note police said was written by Hollinghurst to her mother was devoid of affection. “If I had stayed another minute I would have painted the walls and stained the carpets with my blood, so you could clean it up,” the letter says.

To her father, Hollinghurst wrote that she loved him but “every day became harder and harder.”

Couple Stopped by Police Early Saturday Morning

German, 31, apparently made a “subject stop” of a man and a woman walking through a neighborhood around 4 a.m. Saturday and called for backup.

When the first Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived, officials said, German was lying in the roadway. Authorities reported hearing shots in the area at that time, but stopped short of saying whether they believed the sounds they heard could have been the teens taking their own lives.

A tactical rescue was conducted to save German, police said, meaning a patrol car was used to shield him as he was placed in another vehicle and taken to the hospital.

A short time later, authorities said they located the bodies of Goode and Hollinghurst under some brush on the side of the road.

The medical examiner’s report is still pending on their official causes of death.

A funeral for German, a 5-year veteran of the department, is scheduled for Thursday.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

No Change In Polling Data - Arias Still Firmly In The Lead

PoliticsAlthough recent history has shown that the winner of the presidential election would come from the ranks of the opposition political parties, this time it appears this trend will be broken in favor of the government's candidate, as reflected in the results of the weekly Dichter & Neira survey conducted for TVN. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Lucy Molinar Calls Upon Teachers To Stay At Their Jobs on Friday

Schools & EducationA teachers union has made a call for a march on Friday, but the Minister of Education Lucy Molinar asked the teachers to remain on the job, but this has been rejected by the educators. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Martinelli Tells The OAS To Put Their Big Boy Pants On

Panama NewsAmid shouts and applause, the president of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, called out the Organization of American States (OAS). (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

EU Donates $38 Million to Strengthen Security in Panama

Safety & SecurityThe European Union (EU) made a contribution of $38 million to the Government of Panama for a cooperation program aimed at strengthening public security in the country, an official said today. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Martinelli Says Venezuela's Maduro is a "Bad Copy" of Hugo Chavez

Panama NewsThe President of the Republic Ricardo Martinelli, in an interview with the Colombian television station NTN -24, talked about the political situation in Venezuela and asked the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro release the opposition leader Leopoldo López, and to not remove immunity from the lawmaker Maria Corina Machado. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Will the Panama Canal Expansion Be Complete Before 2016?

Canal ExpansionA Panama Canal expansion, scheduled for completion by December, 2015, may not meet its deadline, says a new American Farm Bureau Focus on Agriculture feature.

Writer Stewart Truelsen for AFBF says almost all work on the canal was suspended at the beginning of the year, with the exception of some excavation. Cranes, costing $40 million each, he reports, were not moving.

Only four of the new gates are in Panama, while a total of 16 are needed. They come from Italy and won't all arrive until the end of the year, he says.

"To make matters worse, this is the dry season in Panama. In a month or so the rainy season will take hold and make work more difficult. What happened? Simply put, contractors ran out of money," he writes.

International hold-ups?

Critics contend that the $5.25 billion project to build a third set of locks was seriously underbid, Truelsen reports.

The contractors – a consortium from Spain, Italy, Belgium and Panama – were likely held up by the debt crisis in Europe, Truelsen says. An agreement to resume work, however, was reached in late February.

U.S. agriculture has a big stake in the eventual outcome, too, as tonnage through the expanded canal is expected to double by 2025. According to the USDA, 17% of world grain shipments pass through the Panama Canal and 90% of them are from the U.S.

An analysis by Rabobank forecasts a 12% drop in the cost of transporting grain from the Corn Belt to Asia when the new locks are in use.

This will make U.S. grain more competitive with Brazil, Argentina and grain-exporting countries in Eastern Europe, Truelsen explains.

The canal expansion could cause other changes in shipping agricultural products. For example, in recent years, more grain, oilseeds and grain products have been loaded on container ships, and the trend is expected to continue. At the same time, the expansion could boost Gulf and East Coast ports that have been losing business to the Pacific Northwest, Truelsen says.

"The Panama Canal route is so important to world trade that China claims to have reached a $40 billion deal with Nicaragua to build a longer canal through that nation to accommodate even larger ships," Truelsen notes.

"In any event, American agriculture should be an important beneficiary of the Panama Canal expansion, if American highways, waterways and ports are properly maintained and upgraded to take advantage of it," he says, "and that's a big 'if.'" (Farm Futures)

Editor's Comment: There are a lot of people in the United States and around the world who are looking hard at the project to expand the Panama Canal. The GUPC has acted with incredible irresponsibility - primarily in the way they underbid to snatch up the contract, then by trying to hold the Panama Canal Authority hostage, and to use methods of extortion and blackmail in an attempt to extract $1.6 billion from the Panamanian people. No matter what, the Panama Canal expansion project will be completed - eventually. However every month of delay will cost Panama money, and will negatively impact those customers who are looking forward to using the newly expanded waterway.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Health Ministry Malaria Outbreak in Panama - 46 New Cases

HealthcareA malaria outbreak has been confirmed a is confirmed in the area of Madugandí, however health authorities have clarified no one has died, and they have the medicines and supplies needed to control the virus. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Martinelli Will Announce Free Trade Agreement with Mexico

Money MattersThe Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama Ricardo Quijano expressed confidence yesterday that President Ricardo Martinelli would announce the completion of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with Mexico during his visit to the country tomorrow for talks with his counterpart, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

PM Thanks Panama for Role in Capturing Iranian Smuggling Ship

Panama NewsPM Netanyahu sent a personal thank you to Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli for Panama’s role in the interception of the Iranian weapons smuggling ship, the Klos C, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post.

The cargo ship, carrying massive amounts of weapons being smuggled from Iran to Gaza, was sailing under the Panamanian flag, and Israel received authorization from Panama to board the vessel.

“Martinelli is a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said, according to the Jerusalem Post report. (jewishpress.com)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama economic growth slows to 8.4 pct in 2013

Money MattersBy Lomi Kriel (Reuters) - Panama's economy slowed in 2013 after two straight years of double-digit growth, but remained one of Latin America's fastest expanding economies thanks to heavy government infrastructure spending, official data showed on Thursday.

Panama's economic activity rose 8.4 percent last year compared to a downwardly revised 10.2 percent in 2012, the government statistics agency said, figures in line with what the finance ministry had projected for the year.

The easing in growth comes as investments in large-scale infrastructure projects, including the $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, draw to a close.

The Central American country escaped the worst of the global recession, expanding at an average rate of 8 percent over the past six years and notching double-digit growth in 2011 and 2012.

Much of Panama's growth is credited to the public infrastructure spending, including the construction of the trademark canal's third lane and Central America's first metro.

President Ricardo Martinelli, whose term ends in May, has also poured money into new roads and hospitals and cleaning of Panama Bay, boosting the construction industry's growth by 30 percent in 2013.

The spending has created a budget deficit of 2.7 percent of GDP, Finance Minister Frank De Lima said, which some analysts find worrying given the strong growth the country has had.

Growth has also been lifted by construction and development of a $6.2 billion copper mine on Panama's Atlantic coast, which helped expand the mining industry by nearly a third last year.

The mine is expected to become one of the world's biggest open-pit copper developments and Panama's biggest source of exports, and its first shipments are due in 2016, according to Minera Panama, a subsidiary of Canada's First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

Still, Panama's overall growth was cooled by the worldwide economic slowdown, which dulled trade through the canal and ports.

A delay in the waterway's expansion, which is now projected to finish by December 2015, also persuaded some shippers such as Danish oil and shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk to use alternative routes from Asia like the Suez Canal, which fits bigger ships carrying more goods cheaply.

Panama's $33.6 billion economy has also been affected by a dispute with two of its biggest trading partners, Colombia and Venezuela, which disrupted Panama's Colon Free Trade Zone, the world's largest duty-free area after Hong Kong.

Venezuelan traders owe the free trade zone about $1.2 billion because of difficulties exchanging the Venezuelan bolivar for dollars. Meanwhile, Colombia has imposed additional surcharges on importing items such as clothes and shoes.

Panama's Finance Ministry has switched to using 2007 base rates instead of 1996, modifying economic back data.

Editor's Comment: Focus on one thing - "...remained one of Latin America's fastest expanding economies..." The amazing expansion of the Panamanian economy remains firmly on track. Only Panama can complain that 8.4% growth is a bit off, after two years of double digit growth. The rest of the economies of Latin America would give their left coffee bean to be growing at 8.4%...

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Eisenmann vs. Martinelli (a.k.a. La Prensa vs. TCT) - Forcing A Judge To Resign

Law & LawyersThe judge of the Fourth Criminal Circuit Court of Panama, Alexis Ballesteros, said he was asked to resign for not "following directions" and for having overridden a decision made by a lower court to throw out the criminal case against five employees of the company Transcaribe Trading SA (TCT), for having blocked access to the office of the La Prensa newspaper on 2 and 3 August, 2012. (more)

Editor's Comment: (This is why you should subscribe - the comments on this article alone are worth the price of admission.)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

DA Rice Announces Sentencing of International Fugitive Who Spent a Dozen Years on the Run

Expat TalesMineola, NY - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the sentencing today of a man who was captured after an almost 12-year international and multi-agency manhunt. He was the driver in a 2001 hit-and-run incident that killed an 80-year-old woman in Westbury.

Sebastian Barba, 36, formerly of Hicksville, was sentenced by Nassau County Court Judge Angelo Delligatti to 12 years in prison. Barba pleaded guilty today to Assault in the 1st Degree (a B violent felony) and Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting (an E felony).

“This defendant showed callous disregard for life and law when he committed this horrific crime and then evaded prosecution for over a decade,” DA Rice said. “But justice caught up in the end with his being sentenced to as much time in prison as he spent evading responsibility for his elderly victim’s death.”

Barba was arrested in November 2012 after an almost 12-year international manhunt involving DA Rice’s office, the Nassau County Police Department, the Port Authority Police Department, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the government of Panama, and INTERPOL.

DA Rice said that at approximately 10:05 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2001, 80-year-old Jean Renison was crossing Post Avenue at the Maple Avenue intersection in Westbury when she was struck by a 1995 Cadillac being driven by Barba. The impact of the collision forced the victim onto the hood of the vehicle. Barba then applied the brakes, causing the victim, who was still alive and moving at the time, to fall to the ground in front of the vehicle.

Barba then slowly drove over the victim’s chest with the front tires and her head with the back tires while a witness screamed at him to stop. He then fled the scene without identifying himself or aiding the victim and then fled to Ecuador, where he has dual citizenship. A grand jury indicted him shortly thereafter and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

While Barba holds dual U.S. and Ecuadorian citizenship, extradition was impossible because the Ecuadorean constitution states that no Ecuadorean national can be extradited to another country.

During the years he eluded capture, police followed multiple leads to locate Barba and to bring him to justice. In May 2005, Barba was featured in an episode of America’s Most Wanted.

Barba was detained by local authorities in Panama when his connecting flight from the Dominican Republic to Ecuador was flagged due to an international arrest warrant issued by INTERPOL. He was escorted back to the U.S. on Nov. 9, 2012 by Panamanian officers and U.S. Marshalls.

DA Rice added special thanks to NCPD Det. Gary Ferrucci, who has worked the case from the beginning, as well as the following for their involvement in this investigation: U.S. Marshals – Senior Inspector, Office of South American Affairs, Mark Espinoza, Anthony B. Walker, Jose F. Espinal. Agents with the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. U.S. Embassy in Panama City – Juan Arturo Rawlins. Panama City Police – Officer Pablo Icaza. Servicio Nacional de Migracion in Panama – Eyda Man’a Garcia. NY/NJ Port Authority PD – Sgt. James Ryan

Assistant District Attorneys Brendan Ahern and Michael Bushwack of DA Rice’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline R‎osenblum of DA Rice’s Appeals Bureau prosecuted the case. Barba is represented by John Kase, Esq. and Jonathan Marks, Esq.

Editor's Comment: Yet another case. Anyone who is an international fugitive should know by now. Taking a flight that connects through Panama means your passport will be checked, you will be arrested, and returned to face justice. There have been like dozens of these sorts of cases - guys who get popped in Panama and flown back in chains. Glad to see this particular scumbag is in prison.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Martinelli Yanks Security Detail From Former President Torrijos

PoliticsFormer President Martin Torrijos claimed the bodyguards from the Institutional Protection Service assigned to guard his house have been ordered to leave and not return. (more)

You've just hit a "pay wall." Panama-Guide subscribers who have logged in to their user accounts can see the full text of this article. However non-members can only see this short introduction. If you would like to subscribe, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

A Note To New Subscribers

FeedbackBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - This is just a quick note for all of the new subscribers.

If you recently subscribed to this website and paid for your subscription via PayPal, you still have to create a User Account on this website.

If you have subscribed and you need to create a new User Account - please click on this link.

I will approve your account, and you will receive a password via email.

When creating your User Account, please be sure to use the same email address that you used when paying for your subscription via PayPal.

Doing so makes it a whole lot easier for me to keep track of who is paid and who is not.

Also, don't forget to send me a quick email saying "I just signed up" so I can approve your request for a user account quickly.

This website is still getting bombarded by spam user account submissions generated by bots. I just deleted a bunch of them, so your submission might have gotten thrown out with the bathwater if you didn't send me a heads-up...

Thanks for subscribing!

Copyright 2014 Panama-Guide.com.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks