THE 17 CD PARTY deputies who have refused to toe the line set down by their leader, ex-president and fugitive Ricardo Martinelli, have been labeled “traitors” by former First Lady Marta Linares de Martinelli.
Her husband, who once ruled the party with the same inflexible tungsten hand that he used when running his own 99 Supermarket business, is currently in a spartan cell in a Miami detention center awaiting an extradition hearing and is unable to Tweet instructions to the shrinking party faithful.
If he is returned to Panama to face charges of illegal surveillance and is found guilty, he could be jailed for up to 21 years while still facing over a dozen corruption and embezzlement investigations.
His wife, who was nominated by Martinelli to run for vice-president in the last election, lashed out at political “bullfighting” and castigated the 17 party deputies who are openly “allies of President Juan Carlos Varela” while thanking the 8 deputies who followed the line laid down by her husband.
"The 17 traitors who sold themselves for three coins … the people will repay them you know them” she fumed.
The former (unelected) First Lady has forgotten how her husband, like King Canute, cynically used his knowledge of the tides of Panama politics to buy enough deputies to prop up his government after he reneged on a deal with Varela, to determine who would run for president in 2014.
Stories were rife of bags of cash circulating in the Assembly to persuade recently elected Panamenista and PRD “loyalists” to jump ship and gain closer access to the cookie jar.
As predicted in this column, the ship is now tilting the other way, and those struggling in the water are seeking ways to get back aboard.
The hardcore, still swimming were lauded by the lady in white: “In the name of RM, my family and the bases of the CD we thank the. heroes!".
She remains one of the few predicting a return of her husband to a major role in local politics unless it’s in a prisoner’s rights group claiming political persecution from inside El Renacer prison.