Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Friday, June 10, 2016


Panama City, 2017 ?
The one-two punch of the Waked Money Laundering Organization scandal, and the Panama Papers, have resulted in major outbreaks of violence and vandalism, against foreign-owned (meaning predominantly American) businesses. Canadian and American expats, who have businesses in the Republic of Panama, are reporting gangs roaming the streets of cities and towns, throwing rocks at business facades, and defacing store and business exteriors.

While the level of violence has not yet approached crisis levels, nor the Anti-American posture that Panama exhibited at the end of the Noriega regime, before the US invasion, it is a reflection of the anger the Panamanian street feels towards American nationals. They are being blamed for the OFAC sanctions, imposed upon local businesses, in the Waked matter, as well as the embarrassment felt nationwide, due to the Panama Papers scandal. Though the ICIJ, which released the Panama Papers, is an international organization, it was founded in the US, and its global headquarters is in Washington.

Clearly, the Panamanian economy is suffering, and not just as the result of the above scandals; The country's former president, Ricardo Martinelli, whose extradition from Miami is said to be imminent ( but may never happen), and his corrupt ministers, looted national funds, increased government debt, due to the increased prices that resulted from bribes & kickbacks, and failed to timely collect massive amounts of tax revenue .

In truth and in fact, the country runs on its offshore financial center, and the influx of foreign capital, much of which is of suspect origin. Should it dry up, the consequences for Panama could be severe; hence the anger, focused on the gringo population.  Let us hope that it does not increase, for such a development would effectively place Panama off limits for foreign investors, and expats, whether the be legitimate, or criminal. In that case, Country Risk would fly off the charts, and Panama's attractiveness for flight capital, or as a tropical residence, become a thing of the past.


  1. Ken, do you think that this will expand similar to the riots in 2012 in Panama when the government tried to sell land and assets? I was in Casco Viejo last night when 3 young men threw a bottle into the front door of a convenience store and I find this very disturbing. 2 police stood by and too scared to intervene.

  2. I guess all the Panamanians that were shot and killed during the riots and looting in 2013 never happened.

    Probably a plot against Panama by Venezuela!

    1. I am a citizen and resident of Panama and there were NO Riots, Killings, or Looting in Panama in 2013. SHOW YOU PROOF !!!

    2. Wake up citizen of Panama and smell the riots in Panama.

      In 2012 and 2013 there were several riots in Panama but of course lies are easier to tell than the truth Mr. Panama

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