by James “JB” Bryson
Who could become the next President of Panama???
So here at PNO.com we get all sorts of questions and inquiries and they range from anything and everything you can imagine relating to Panama. But I have to say hands down the most frequently asked question I get here especially over the past couple of months is “JB, who’s going to win the upcoming election? ”
Well for EVERYONE that has asked me and for those who haven’t asked yet but will soon. I’m sitting in my little office overlooking the traffic on Balboa and wearing my Carnac the Magnificent hat so here we go….. First, we can learn a lot from history and apply what we have learned from the past to see what the future holds.
The past here in Panama tells us quite a lot!
1). No political party no matter how popular the party (i.e. Martinelli and his CD Party nor any other) has ever in the history of the Republic post Noriega been re-elected.
2). This last half a decade we have experienced the lackluster administration of Juan Carlos Varela. I’ll not take shots at him or his team other than to say the follow…. Panama has become a very different place since they have taken over. You need only open your front door, read any paper or jump in any cab or Uber (which is how I get around) at least 90% of the time to get the pulse of the people. I’ll reserve judgement for now but will state that it’s a shame that it’s clear that the number one agenda item of Varela’s administration has been one of REVENGE, PAYBACK AND PERSECUTION of Martinelli, his family, friends and business associates. Whether deserved or undeserved it’s been so over the top and relentless at this point I think the masses see it for what it is which can best be described as a vendetta which is really a poor legacy to leave behind. I for one was hopefully that Varela would do much more on the positive side and further advance the Republic but I’m sorry to say that’s not been the case.
3). Prior to Varela and the Panamenista’s we all know we had Ricardo Martinelli and his CD party which was elected in part by the CD and Varela’s Panamanistas coming together as a “JV” to guarantee that the PRD would NOT repeat.
4). That would be the PRD party which was led by Martin Torrijos as President. Those were IMO pretty prosperous times as well here with much more positive politics and more importantly real progress and advancement for the people and the country. For those of you who don’t know Martin was the US educated son of the once General and Chief in Command of the Republic Omar Torrijos the de facto dictator of Panama who many feel was likely murdered when his small plane mysteriously blew up in mid flight.
5). Prior to Martin and his PRD party his predecessor was Panama’s first and only female President Mrs. Mireya Moscoso who was and Arnufista what might now be considered part and parcel to Varela’s Panamenista Party.
ANYONE STARTING TO SEE A PATERN HERE???
6). Prior to Mireya Panama’s President came in the form of the PRD and the infamous “El Toro” Ernesto Balladares.
7). Prior to Balladares and his PRD regime the control of the isthmus rested in the hands of Guillermo Endara who was of Panamenista ilk…..
I could keep going but I think you can see where I’m going with this… there is constantly and forever a change in power so history tells us that we will NOT see a repeat by the Panamenista’s or ANY candidate they choose to march out which appears to be Mr. Blandon . However, the good news for Mr. Blandon is history also tells us in Panama you have to lose first to win eventually.
SO WITH THAT SAID AND BY PROCESS OF ELIMINATION I AFFIRM AND GUARANTEE NO PANAMENISTA CANDIDATE HAS A SNOWBALLS CHANCE IN HELL OF BEING ELECTED NEXT YEAR!! So where does that leave us….
Simple two choices the CD Party of Ricardo Martinelli will return to power with what appears to be most likely led by the very BLAND not so inspiring candidate Mr. Roux lawyer and partner of the most well know law firm in Panama Morgan & Morgan. It’s not clear however if the CD party will eventually rally around Roux and unite to support him or if that party will be fractured as a result of its founder not being here in Panama as well as the persecution of all of the CD’s power players. Many people on the street feel that Varela is secretly supporting Roux and his campaign in order to guarantee he can spend his post presidential term in freedom and not having to “pay the fiddler” going himself into exile (many of the people on the street feel he may be looking to move to China in an effort to be close to all of his “loot”) I guess time will tell. Many think based on all of his attacks and political persecution against Martinelli and his cohorts he and his inner circle are bound for a 5 year vacation either on the run or holed up in the same cells in El Renacer that they have filled with their CD contemporaries. For those reasons as well as Martinelli the clear leader of the party’s future being in question we at Panamanow say NO CD candidate wins the Presidency next year NO WAY NO HOW.
So after eliminating those two parties we are left with only one final alternative and that is the PRD will regain the Presidency in the next election. History tells us it’s their time. But the interesting topic is who will be the candidate??? None of the other parties have a real race internally. It’s a foregone conclusion as to who the candidate will be but not so cut and dry with the PRD party.
It’s really a 3 horse race with the current most likely winner being Zulay Rodriguez. She’s followed by Nito Cortizo and then a distant third Juan Carlos Navarro who seems to be well educated and qualified but for some reason loses over and over and over again.
We’ve obtained the follow polls which show how things seem to be shaking out. See the chart below depicting where things sit today. It’s quite interesting to note that the current administration has banned the use or publication of polls in Panama. Most people feel this has been done to keep the people in the dark so they won’t know who to support and where to donate to try and level the playing field. I’m not so sure that would be legal in any free and democratic country in the world but it certainly is smart if you can get away with it and the Panamenista’s seem to be getting away with a lot lately. It just goes to show what I’ve been saying for many years….. PANAMA IS A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED DICTATORSHIP for terms of 5 years at a time. Now I say that tongue in cheek but believe it to be an absolute statement of fact. I still love this country and it’s culture and people but would love to see some evolution in the actual separation of power and respecting the laws of the land and human rights in general.
This could shake out to be different it’s still early but I’ve studied and calculated what’s happened and what will happen. Here at the Panamanow we are not endorsing not taking any side. We don’t get to vote as gringos here in Panama but based on statics, history and the pulse of every man and women on the street and every taxi driver I’ve ever spoken to and continue to speak to on the subject it’s clear in their opinion Zulay Rodriguez will be the next President of Panama. Note: The media which is controlled by the wealthy of Panama TVN by the Motta’s and Telemetro by the Gonzales Revilla both give more importance to candidates of there particular business interest and socio economic spheres liking but the word on the Street Is Zulay, Zulay and more Zulay. So there you have it will Zulay Rodriguez become the 2nd ever female and next President of the Republic of Panama. It’s gonna be interesting to see if that happens and if so what that means to Panama!!
Hasta la proxima!