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POLITICS

Sectors react to Varela speech

The president vowed to resume dialogues on a number of issues.

Spanish version

Temas:

The announcement by President Juan Carlos Varela last week that he would begin a number of major projects and resume dialogues on a number of issues elicited a wade range of responses.

Here are some of the reactions from leaders of various sectors of society.

Enrique De Obarrio, former president of the Association of Panamanian Business Executives:

Enrique De Obarrio Expandir Imagen
Enrique De Obarrio

"I think it was a good exercise in democratic accountability, and at the same time was valuable to determine where adjustments should be made and what must continue to be done well. He drew a vision of the country that we want, and did it in an inclusive way, as it should be, because in the end the vision should be a shared, and all Panamanians should participate in its development and implementation. The call for dialogues on various topics is positive, and he should take action soon. Particularly I am eager for him to activate the national consultation for development."

Rafael Chavarría, representative of the National Council of Organized Workers:

Rafael Chavarría Expandir Imagen
Rafael Chavarría

"The first thing I can say is that he warned officials that those who are corrupt must go, which for us has a lot of meaning. The other part about what he has done and what he plans to do is normal. I think he made a mistake is promoting dialogue on the issues of education and health. For us these are issues of state, and should not only be done with doctors and educators, but with all sectors. He also said nothing about the reforms to the Constitution, which I thought was a mistake to leave out."

Domingo Moreno, leader of the National Medical Negotiating Commission (Comenenal):

Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario Expandir Imagen
Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario

"We are happy that the president has made health and education a priority for this year. There are many things that need to be done and problems that need to be addressed. We hope that with the cooperation of the health authorities that the government will give efficient answers to these problems. The policy of the government seems to be turning toward these social issues which so far have not been addressed."

Teresita Yániz de Arias, former president of the Partido Popular:

Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario Expandir Imagen
Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario

"In terms of form, the speech lacked the structure to result in accountability. He missed the opportunity to send a truly inspiring message. The speech reveals one of the major flaws of the management of Varela: confusion between what is urgent and what is important. In addition, there were a number of important omissions regarding culture, the subject of Barro Blanco, the issue of Cuban migrants and the policy of Panama regarding the Venezuelan crisis. People failed to establish a connection with the speech."

Camilo Alleyne, first vice president of the Partido Revolucionario Democrático:

Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario Expandir Imagen
Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario

"While I agree with the projects that he outlined, at the same time we have to work to have a more effective government that addresses the fundamental problems facing the citizens: transport, health, social and public security, management of the economy of the country and other improvements that citizens need to live in peace. The Varela presidency must take action on points outlined in his speech. In the past 18 months there has been a lack of effectiveness of the government and we cannot continue with only assumptions upon assumptions."

Julio De La Lastra, president of the National Council of Private Businesses:

Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario Expandir Imagen
Lo que piensan algunos sectores del discurso del mandatario

"The president's speech focused not only on future projects and the execution date, but also on the importance of dialogue. It was a conciliatory and respectful message that emphasized that we must not lose faith or trust. From our perspective, there is no development without trust and it is precisely this credibility and confidence in institutions which must be rescued. We must all work together for the peace and welfare of our country. The president emphasized the importance of accountability and the elimination of corruption. We argue that no country can prosper if the political class is complicit with third parties who are dedicated only to seek opportunities for illicit enrichment. Every dollar that is stolen from the public purse is one dollar less that can be spent on social investments, infrastructure, hospital services, education and security."

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