Wednesday, January 14, 2015


It may now be impossible for Panama's new Attorney General*, Kenia Isolde Porcell Diaz, to avoid naming former President Ricardo Martinelli with the same Invasion of Privacy, and Violation of Confidentiality charges levied upon his associates in the National Security council who wiretapped, recorded and eavesdropped on his orders. Several prominent Panamanian families, and their attorneys, reportedly paid a visit to her offices to demand that criminal charges be filed. They are reportedly incensed that they private lives have been illegally recorded.

This new development occurred after a search of one of the residences of one of the arrested Secretaries of the National Security Council yielded a treasure trove of video tapes heretofore not known to exist. It appears that Martinelli' domestic surveillance program taped encounters within the guest rooms of several of Panama City's best hotels. A number of the tapes are said to expose the private loves of prominent Panamanian businessmen, government officials, and their paramours. These illicit video tapes were among the tools used by Martinelli to extort money, obtain advantages in Panama's commercial sphere, and even coerce conduct that good taste does not permit us to divulge in print.

Will the former president now face justice for his crimes and transgressions ? The Supreme Court of Justice has reportedly initiated proceedings that will culminate in a vote to terminate any grant of immunity that he may possess, by virtue of his hurried appointment to the Central American Parliament, after he left office. Whether the government of Panama's new reformist President, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, obtains Martinelli's arrest, conviction, and imprisonment, is one of the challenges facing the new administration; let us hope that they are up to the task.
* En Español, Procuradora General de la Nación.

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