Panamanians, who appear to be rapidly returning to the Anti-American posture that the country has taken in the twentieth century, are now alleging that the naming of President Varela, and others in his administration, as recipients of Odebrecht bribes, was done with malice, and with the intent to harm the country, harm the image of the president, cause the loss of thousands of jobs, and turn back economic progress. Additionally, they intimate that bribes occur regularly in the United States, and Panama should not be placed in the spotlight, for what is a widespread (albeit illegal) practice.
Those individuals with the loudest voices might want to remember that there was NO official naming & shaming of the Panamanian officials taking bribes from Odebrecht; an unofficial list, purported to have come from the "Fiscal" (attorney general) in New York. First of all, the Attorney General in NY is a state official, not the Federal US Attorney, who prosecutes FCPA violations, and US law enforcement does not name criminal defendants when they are not yet in custody, lest they engage in flight to avoid prosecution.
There was no malicious naming of President Varela, just a listing of bribe recipients concocted by a zealous anti-corruption civilian, I will wager, and if you want to know the truth about the extent of corruption in the US, look it up on Transparency International. It is nowhere near the levels seen in the Republic of Panama. In my humble opinion, there was no targeting of Panama's president by American authorities.
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock
Journals of Monte Friesner