IN BETWEEN meetings with candidates to replace fired National Security chief Michael Flynn, US President Donald Trump made time to squeeze in a call to Panama President Juan Carlos Varela at 3 pm on Sunday, February 19.
It had been a hard week for both leaders, with Trump under attack over an administration said to be in disarray as he struggles to fill gaps in his cabinet, and Varela under pressure with increasing calls for a thorough audit of all Odebrecht deals over three administrations including his own, with some $2.5 billion in contracts handed out by the state since he took office in spite of loudly voiced concerns by civil groups over the escalating Lava Jato scandal, and the sentencing of Marcelo Odebrecht, the company’s president to over 20 years imprisonment, and many of his former executives also heading for long terms behind bars, including one alleged to have arranged funding for Panama presidential election campaigns. All the corruption flags were waving in full sight.
Trump and Varela spoke on various topics including “excellent bilateral relationships” and regional security before Varela turned to Twitter to announce the call and to pass on “fraternal greetings” from Trump to the people of Panama.
There was no reported reference by Trump to his “biggest ever” electoral majority or the lying media, or any reference to the fugitive Martinellis by Varela.
Besides Varela, Trump had a talk with Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Anthony Carmona on his to-do list.
Varela will face another hard week as Odebrecht revelations continue to surface and his former key adviser Mora Fonseca points fingers at his former buddy, all gleefully reported by Martinelli-owned Panama America.