Parlacen - symbol of regional impunity

Ricardo Martinelli ubder investigation was sworn in, but later renounced as a legal ploy

520Views 0Comments Posted 26/07/2020

From no point of view is the opportunistic claim of the two sons of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli to be sworn in as alternate deputies of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen)  credible to try to achieve impunity after being detained by Guatemalan security forces in the La Aurora airport, due to an extradition request from the United States for alleged money laundering, which could be part of the bribe received by their father from the ill-fated Brazilian firm Odebrecht,

The Parlacen has long been considered a bland, costly and dysfunctional body, but without a doubt the biggest aggravating factor lies in the convenient immunity that its deputies enjoy, a prerogative that has caused numerous controversies. This organism has not managed to promote a single transcendental initiative but it has become a symbol of regional impunity.

Suffice it to cite the case of former President Martinelli, who, as a candidate, said in May 2009 to La Prensa de Panamá: "The Parlacen, I have always said, has not represented any added value for Panama ... on the contrary, every time we have a scandal, it  involves someone from the Parlacen” As part of his campaign offers, he said that he would withdraw his country from it, something that he obviously did not do and, worse still, he sought refuge when he assumed as a deputy in 2014, just when he was beginning to be investigated for multiple cases of corruption.

Many are the legal pretexts that have been brought to prevent the closure of this repository of sterile seats but that represent a monthly salary of around $3,500 for each deputy, in a region plagued by development needs and precariousness in public services . Until now, there has not been a Guatemalan president - nor of any country - with sufficient moral integrity and political capacity to undertake the withdrawal of such an unproductive hubris

In 2008, an unofficial reform of the Parlacen Treaty established that ex-rulers of member countries automatically become deputies upon leaving office, which provides them with free immunity. A court in El Salvador considered such jurisdiction illegal, since they did not come to office by popular vote, and Honduran justice raised a similar question. And it is that in addition to the salary for doing nothing, such legal protection constitutes one of the main hooks for those who are running as candidates or for all the ex-presidents who without uneasiness have sought to enter it, as happened with the swearing-in of former President Jimmy Morales, carried out in the last minutes of January 14, with the assistance of former vice-president Alfonso Fuentes Soria,

Martinelli's sons now provide the best evidence that the Central American ideal of union is only a pretext. Already detained, they officially asked to be sworn in, even by videoconference, from the detention center where they are located. For this nonsense, they need the complicity of the Panamanian caucus and of every representative who is silent in the face of this new insult to the intelligence and the right sense of justice of the Central American citizens tired of this useless waste of funds - PRENSA LIBRE,  Guatemala. July 26

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