OP ED: James “JB” Bryson– Now I have spent the better part of the past 6 months explaining to various sorts that I am NOT a journalist. Just a guy that likes to write and has an interest in some very distinct topics. POLITICS being one of them. And with PANAMA being rife with “interesting” political stories over the past few years, topics have not been hard to find.
One of my favorite has always been the hypocrisy of the former President Varela. Go back to ANY of my PNO archive history. Please do so. It is rare I give myself a pat on the back. But there have been times I have certainly been ahead of the curve and made claims and statements that have later been seen to bear fruit.
This VARELALEAKS is absolute genius. And “NO” it is not me. I have barely been able to spend time dealing with land squabbles in Bocas del Toro. But when I have opined on the former leader, I have not minced words.
PNO may have annoyed him, but this site literally pulls his pants down and spanks him. There is a feeling of vindication wafting through the halls of PNO today. (by halls I mean a condo). But I find this site compelling and downright addicting. By all means go visit.
WhatsApp chats between the then president Juan Carlos Varela and national life characters came to light on the site called varelaleaks.com, whose authorship is unknown.
These are supposed conversations that would have occurred at specific periods and times. Everything happens between 2017 and 2018. In the exchange of messages between Varela and the prosecutor Kenia Porcell , the supposed interiors of high-profile judicial cases are exposed.
‘Varelaleaks’: rule a country to the rhythm of chats
In 429 pages, and with dates that seem to have been carefully selected, supposed conversations about the interiors of high-profile judicial cases such as Odebrecht, Blue Apple, and the extradition of Ricardo Martineli are collected .
National politics also appears in the chats that the two figures shared. The dialogues reflect a relationship in which flattery, friendship and mutual admiration were professed. They shared reflections, joys, frustrations, and on several occasions Porcell asked Varela for favors. “I am hurt by civil society attacks on you,” Varela told the attorney on a time when she was questioned by the agreement agreed with the Meco company, for the Blue Apple case. On another occasion, the attorney recommends Varela to whom he could veto in the postulations for magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice. In this case, he warns not to take into account the lawyer Samuel Quintero, because he was his defense lawyer, and “takes the Odebrecht case .”
When the bill presenting the PSA port was presented at the Assembly, Varela reacted with annoyance and shared his frustration with the prosecutor warning that Panama Port was behind that movement, which financed the deputies. Following this, the ruler would have considered “arming” a case against the deputies. In 2018, the National Assembly repealed the law contract agreed in 2015 between the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) and the company PSA Panama International Terminal. While this was happening in the Assembly, Varela told the Attorney: “I am thinking that someone will file a criminal complaint and open a case.”
“I am sorry to give them a scare,” said the then president, while Porcell stressed: “I agree.”
The May 2019 elections were also on the radar. In one of the chats of April 2018, Varela confesses to Porcell that he had begun his campaign to re-elect his government, and incidentally dismisses the candidates of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), and Democratic Change (CD), which by then barely They started their way to the primary. Of Laurentino Cortizo, today President of the Republic, he said that he did not beat much, and of Rómulo Roux, of CD, and Juan Carlos Navarro, of the PRD, said that “we will lower it in one day”.
Given his assertions, Porcel would answer “may God be with us.”
The collaboration agreement signed between the Public Ministry and the Odebrecht bribe payment confession was also part of extensive discussions between the two powers of the State. “They gave me more time to investigate Odebrecht,” Porcell informed Varela, leaving in writing that agreements, relationships with banks and structure investigations “all of these are issues that I always consult and validate with you.”
Varela wouldn’t skimp on letting Porcell know his claims and complaints regarding the coverage that the media did for those years. That was a subject in which they shared the same vision.
On one occasion, Porcell would have told Varela: “Divide the media, you are the only one who can.”
This media requested the version of Varela through personnel that manages the social network account Gestión Varela, but said that for the moment there would be no response. His brother José Luis Popi Varela said that the former president would send a statement, but at the end of this edition he had not arrived.
They also requested the reaction of the prosecutor Porcell, but in the Public Ministry they informed that it would not be pronounced.
‘Varelaleaks’ also includes Varela’s conversations with Comptroller Federico Humbert, and businessmen such as Pedro Heilbron, Stanley Motta, Taher Yaffar and Guillermo Liberman, among others. Politicians from other countries such as the Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, are also in the plot. There are also dialogues by the former president with figures from the media such as María Mercedes de Corro, executive vice president of La Prensa ; Fernando Berguido, former president of this medium; and Miguel Heras, former executive of TVN .