Former General paints bleak picture of Political landscape……..this we all know.

Human Interest

I was always curious to know the reason why a kepi, one of those worn by members of the then Defense Forces, remained placed at the main entrance of the residence of ex-general Rubén Darío Paredes.It turns out that when Paredes decided to take his “good leap”, already outside the military institution, he became a critic of the actions of his successor, General Manuel Antonio Noriega, and his General Staff. By law, even retired, he should have assigned a guard on duty to watch over his house, and a driver. Suddenly, one morning those services were removed from him, in retaliation for his criticism of him.The ex-general recounts that, since there was a cap and a baton from one of the boys, he placed them at the entrance of the house so that they could be seen from the road. The idea was for people to believe that a guard was always hanging around there. That kepi, placed there, gave him some security.We talked with the ex-general, a man who at 90 (he will be 90 in five months) still drives his car and presents his ideas very coherently. He regrets having ordered the closure of the media when he launched the famous phrase “from now on”.But why did he do it? The former general explains that at that time they were facing the great political vacuum left by the death of Omar Torrijos, in addition to the fact that they had already been in power for 16 years and there was wear and tear.So, “those guys from the opposition,” especially Guillermo Endara, Ricardo Arias Calderón and Guillermo Ford, took advantage of the situation and “were cornering us.”According to Paredes, they realized what was happening to them and intensified the attack through the media, and he felt that they were falling, “we were about to collapse and I began to think about what to do to divert that effect overwhelming”, and it was then that he came up with the “from now on” of which, “I repeat, I regret it”.Here there has been talk of the infiltration of organized crime into political parties… could this be true?I don’t think so, what does happen is that there are politicians involved with organized crime and that they are party members. But in the same organization of the parties, no; and that it is a tolerance or consent in the functioning of the parties, I rule it out.Would you agree with a domain forfeiture law in Panama?Of course yes, however, I am sure that the existing bill deserves to be improved and armored with the necessary legal vaccines so that when it becomes law, unscrupulous politicians do not use it as a stick to persecute and subdue their adversaries or who think differently from them. In addition, it is very important to establish the security that the confiscated assets are destined for the social welfare of those most in need, in a manner planned by the State. That is to say, to prevent politicians or influential people from seizing yachts, residences, plans, vehicles, etc.How do you assess the security in the country?It could be better, especially citizen security. I am sure that as long as the current prison system is not converted into arts and trades correctional schools, the high rates of citizen insecurity and violence will predominate and the myopic and incompetent State will continue to plant very expensive maintenance prisons. Some ministers, like the current ones, have taken good steps in the right direction, but not firmly, rather they are timid and disorganized steps. It is a matter of State and not merely institutional.In the future, our correctional school system should be given the hierarchy as an important arm of the Ministry of Education for the training of our human resources, mainly those children of homes destroyed by drug addiction, alcoholism and promiscuity, and who fell by the wayside . because the State failed to educate them at an early age. These are precisely the youths that rot in our prisons today.Did you ever refer to the existence of an espionage center in Ancón? do you exist? Who are they spying on?This system has always existed and still exists. It is neither more nor less an espionage system made up of 95% with a political profile of Panamanians in power, versus those who think differently and criticize the former. Today, in what we know as the Security Council, located on the slopes of Cerro Ancón, some 250 people work. That Council was created after the United States invasion of Panama, during the presidency of Guillermo Endara, at the suggestion of the North Americans. Now, all advanced and competitive democracy requires a Security Council, but not as a center of political espionage, but to carry out studies and projections on custody and security models so that the national strategy for the economic and social development of the country flows no hiccups .Our Security Council should be, at the time, an important support for the ministry of strategies for the development of the Republic, which does not exist, but which is necessary.On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, this Council must be reduced, since its bureaucracy is excessive. There are bottles entrenched in a winter quarters hunting witches and conspiracy fantasies.Do you consider that the Panamanian people should be consulted before proceeding to build the tunnel under the seabed of the Canal, due to the construction of the Metro towards the western area?Of course, it must be like this to carry out any work, transformation or modification that is going to be done to our Channel. In this regard, former President Martín Torrijos behaved like a responsible statesman, calling the people for a referendum to approve or not the construction of the third set of locks.If passing a tunnel under the seabed of the Canal could lead to surprises or serious geological failures in the middle of construction, forcing the suspension of the operation of a vital business for the national economy, such as the transfer of ships, even more, it requires an understanding of the work, the risks and the authorization of the people to carry it out. He made it clear that I am not against the tunnel.I recognize the ability and expertise of the engineers Agustín Arias and Héctor Ortega, however, out of principle and respect for the origin and development of our Republic, I consider that 40 officials should not decide what corresponds to 5 million Panamanians.You have insisted that the country needs a new Constitution, why?Because the one that exists allows and encourages the citizen elected as president, to become a king or monarch, who immediately appoints the attorney, comptroller, magistrates of the Court and even the president of the Legislative Branch, while being the supreme head of the Public force.What method do you recommend for a new Constitution to be produced?To approve a new Constitution or reform it, only the procedures that the first law of the Republic itself establishes in its articles 313 and 314 are viable. The first is a mocking joker, since it is about apparent or deceptive changes so that nothing really changes and the status quo in favor of the caste is extended. The sovereign only participates in the referendum.Meanwhile, article 314 establishes that 60 constituents in provinces and counties must be chosen through the ballot box. This article prohibits at all times that the Assembly or any other body of the State is involved or has an opinion. Only through this article can a new Constitution be produced. This is precisely the article that politicians fear, because it does produce profound or far-reaching changes. Perhaps at the current juncture to transform the State towards truly innovative areas, it could be considered lowering the presidential term to four years and the right to immediate re-election for another similar period, once for life. The same for all positions of popular election.Another norm that would guarantee weight and counterbalance, and would avoid kings, monarchs and pseudo-dictators in the Presidency, would be the election of both the attorney, comptroller and magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice by popular vote, prior regulation for the required suitability of the applicants. .Being the general, on one occasion you made the decision to shut down the media when you launched the phrase: “From now on”… what was the reason? Do you regret that act?Of course, I regret the procedure I used. I believe that I could have applied another method that would have obtained the same results. People remember the “from now on”, which was unpleasant, but they do not remember that after that came the most important thing: the democratization of the country began… the living forces of the country met and we managed to carry out the 1983 reforms, to the 1972 Constitution that greatly democratized the country. That is important to point out.

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