Martinellis bed of thorns

777Views 4Comments Posted 26/07/2017

IN THE SHORT term Panama’s former  president,  Ricardo Martinelli, currently behind bars in a Miami detention, center could have a better life if he were to return to his home country to  face trial for illegal surveillance of at least 150 of his fellow citizens, in whose shoes he claimed to walk.

The shoes got muddied when under his guidance the National Security Council, using over $13 million of sophisticated  snooping equipment, acquired  from Israel.  tuned in to communications of political opponents, journalists and businessmen.  Even  lawyers and judges were seen as targets and, according to published reports   recordings of bedroom activities were salaciously shared with  members of his inner circle.

[caption id="attachment_72689" align="alignleft" width="300"] Prison garb and cuffs for hearings[/caption]

Believers in Karma or comeuppance will be gratified to know that Panama’s  authoritarian supermarket billionaire whose life has been blessed with  luxury endowments, is now forced to abide by the rules of others, and the bed of roses has been replaced by the thorns of justice.

Martinelli is subject to a strict disciplinary regime in a federal prison,  where he awaits an extradition hearing after a judge- whom he did not appoint,  turned down a $20 million bid to return to the comforts of his newly acquired $8.2 million home in Coral Gables.

The prison marshalls monitor his phone calls,  his beloved Twitter and the letters he receives, lawyer Francisco Carreira, told El Siglo.

Carreira  said that monitoring calls and letters is part of the regulations of a federal prison and  pointed out that, inside its walla  Martinelli is treated as a common criminal.

The ex-martinet  can have access to the common area of the floor where he is incarcerated  and have contact with other detainees with time limitations.

"He has no communication with the outside, with the exception of a daily call and the visit of its lawyers," said Carreira  and he  has to follow a strict regime of sleeping, bathing and eating at specific times.

“He's in a building and it's not like Panamanian prisons out in the open. Access is limited. These are totally adverse conditions, " said. The lawyer

In prison, Martinelli wears the standard  prison jump suit  whenever he is outside his cell or attending hearings.

He  has already spent 45 days in what he might consider harsh  conditions. His option to return to Panama to face justice could have short term benefits in El Renacer prison but, if found guilty he faces up to 21 years in jail, and there are multiple corruption charges pending.


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Comments 4


" ... this particular comment is directed to the US Ambassador who speaks Spanish very well." Yes, and well he should!

2 years ago
Barro Blanco

OK… no problem. Many times I’ve posted comments in English here, usually remarks addressed to other participants that I feel don’t understand Spanish, but this particular comment is directed to the US Ambassador who speaks Spanish very well.

2 years ago

Translated text of Barro Blanco -- "The U.S. ambassador should warn his government that former President Rm is the most important and beloved political leader in this country ... and that the government of JCV ... who has asked for their extradition ... is overwhelmingly rejected and repudiated by most of our citizens. In addition the Panamanian people have reason to suspect that the CSJ has become an organism kneeling before the political power of President Jcv and that the charges attributed to former president Rm are eminently political ... forming part of a ruthless persecution unleashed by his adversaries. Throughout history the United States has cruelly offended our national dignity several times and today a federal judge adds one more link to that chain of grievances by denying the former president his freedom while the extradition trial is being processed ... with the very dubious pretext of risk of escape ... even though it has been rooted in that country for years and has asked them for political asylum." Sr. Blanco, your passionate plea for Sr. Martinelli, your questionable charge against the USA, and your issues with the US penal system is understandable. I wish you had published your diatribe in English since Newsroom Panama is an English-based blog. Google 'translate' has rendered a remarkably accurate version of your letter. In future please submit comments in ENGLISH so the target audience can share your interesting musings. Your responses are always in Spanish as viewed in the Disqus history. Over the years you have not taken time to use the services of an on line language translator. Why? I am curious to know why you, who posts comments to La Prensa, Panamá América, TVN Noticias, La Estrella,, hesitates to share your thoughts with readers of the largest English blog in Panama?

2 years ago
Barro Blanco

El Embajador de los Estados Unidos debería advertirle a su gobierno que el ex presidente RM es el líder político más importante y querido de este país… y que el gobierno de JCV… que les ha solicitado su extradición… es abrumadoramente rechazado y repudiado por la mayoría de nuestros ciudadanos. Además el pueblo panameño tiene razones para sospechar que la CSJ se ha convertido en un organismo arrodillado ante el poder político del presidente JCV y que los cargos que le atribuyen al ex presidente RM son eminentemente políticos…formando parte de una implacable persecución desatada por sus adversarios. A lo largo de la historia los Estados Unidos han ofendido cruelmente nuestra dignidad nacional varias veces y hoy un juez federal agrega un eslabón más a esa cadena de agravios negándole al expresidente su libertad mientras se tramita el juicio de extradición… con el muy discutible pretexto de riesgo de fuga… a pesar de que lleva años de arraigo en ese país y les ha solicitado asilo político.

2 years ago
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