31/12/2012 - In 2012, Panama saw its economy continue to grow and political battles continue to rage.
In sports, Panama continued its march toward the World Cup but was unable to repeat Olympic glory.
To remember these and other important events, a summary of the past year is presented below.
2: THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH
In his first public appearance of 2012, President Ricardo Martinelli lashed out at "powerful entrepreneurs" and the newspaper La Prensa. He accused both of leading a smear campaign against his government "because I have my hand in their pocket getting them to pay their taxes."
3: MONCADA LUNA PRESIDES OVER THE COURT
Judge Alejandro Moncada Luna was chosen as president of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama by a vote of four in favor and four abstentions. There was no other candidate.
5: GOLF COURSE OWES $3 MILLION
After a tax audit, the General Directorate of Revenue reported that the Coronado golf course development company, owned by the Eisenmann family, owed $3 million. Businessman I. Roberto Eisenmann said it was evident that the audit was political, caused by his criticism of Martinelli.
7: LAST FAREWELL TO ARNULFO ARIAS MADRID
The remains of three-time President Arnulfo Arias Madrid were deposited in a mausoleum located in the city of Penonomé, Coclé, after a state funeral in his honor 23 years after his death. Funeral events were organised by the widow, the former President Mireya Moscoso.
12: BOSCO VALLARINO RESIGNS
Panama City Mayor Ricardo Bosco Vallarino presented his resignation through a letter sent to Panama Governor Mayin Correa. In the note, Vallarino indicates that "this decision is choosing between my health and my family's well-being or exposing myself to an undesired outcome at the most inopportune moment of my life, since there are valuable projects that would speak well of my tenure as mayor and my dream of leaving my fellow citizens the city we all deserve."
17: THE PREMIERE OF ROXANA MÉNDEZ
New Mayor Roxana Méndez held her first meeting with the Municipal Council.
21: ENDING UNEMPLOYMENT; JAZZ INVADES THE COUNTRY
Workers on the expansion of the Panama Canal held a strike to demand better working conditions. It was also the closing of the ninth Panama Jazz Festival. The Danilo Pérez Foundation announced the delivery of 10 scholarships to study music.
24: BACK TO PARLACEN
The plenum of the Supreme Court declared the law removing Panama from the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) to be unconstitutional. At the same meeting, the plenary declared unconstitutional the retroactive effect of resolution No. 2 of the National Assembly that returned citizenship to Ricardo Bosco Vallarino.
1: THE PROTEST
Indigenous people of the comarca Ngäbe Buglé began protesting against mining and water exploitation.
2: INDIGENOUS AND GOVERNMENT NOT TRANSFERRED
President Ricardo Martinelli said there will be no negotiations as long as the Pan-American Highway remained blocked. Indigenous people called for dialogue in the area.
3: EXTRADITION OF MARIA DEL PILAR HURTADO
The Government rejected the request of Colombia to extradite the exdirector of the Department of Security Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who had been in Panama since 2010.
4: ANTI-RIOT ACTIVITIES
Anti-riot police began mobilizing to re-open the Pan-American Highway. This same day, musician Elton John opened his concert on time at the Figali Convention Center.
5: CONTINUED CONFLICT IN THE STREETS
A 27-year-old Indian died and 40 others were wounded as police opened the Pan-American Highway.
In San Lorenzo, Chiriquí, the dialogue between the government and indigenous leaders began over mining and hydroelectric exploitation on their land.
12: DOCHERTY WINS THE IRONMAN
With a time of 3 hours, 50 minutes and 13 seconds, New Zealander Bevan Docherty won the Ironman 70.3 Panama, beating American cycling legend Lance Armstrong by 42 seconds.
15: NO MORE COINS
The implementation of the use of the Metro Bus cards began.
19: FIRE IN THE CHORRILLO
On the Sunday of Carnival, a fire left hundreds of people homeless in El Chorrillo.
22: ULLOA MAKES A CALL TO HEAL THE WOUNDS
"I am convinced that we need to reconcile, because there was a clash between Panamanians." So said Panama Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa, who made a call to heal wounds and prevent further clashes.
27: RENEWAL OF THE DIALOGUE
Dialogue resumed to establish a special law prohibiting mining and protect water resources in the comarca Ngäbe Buglé.
1: PANAMA, CAPITAL OF GOLF
The second stop on the Nationwide Tour was held at the Golf Club of Panama, where 132 players from 15 countries, competed for the title of the event that distributes more than half a million dollars in prizes.
3: MARTINELLI SHOULD BE PRESENT
The dialogue between members of the comarca Ngäbe Buglé and the government was resumed, now at the headquarters of the United Nations in the City of Knowledge.
5: DIALOGUE ACHIEVED SEVERAL AGREEMENTS
The hydroelectric project Barro Blanco was suspended.
9: MINISTER OF SECURITY RESIGNS
Minister José Raúl Mulino resigned after Police Chief Gustavo Pérez rejected a law to create an office of internal affairs. Jorge Luis Quijano was appointed new manager of the Panama Canal Authority replacing Alberto Alemán Zubieta, whose term expired this year.
After the controversy, Gustavo Pérez was replaced by Julio Moltó.
14: REMAINS ON THE JOB
Mulino announced that he will continue as minister of Public Security.
22: SEALED AGREEMENT WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The National Assembly adopted Bill 415 on mining and water resources in the comarca Ngäbe Buglé on third debate. The document was the result of dialogue between indigenous peoples and the government.
2: STRIKE AT PORTS
The strike by workers of Panama Ports Company ended with heavy losses to the country's maritime activity. Almost 30,000 containers in terminals in Balboa and Cristobal were stranded by the strike.
8: ULLOA REQUESTS BETTER POLITICKING
Panam Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa called for the return of the art of politics, because he said that will help resolve disputes.
11: MEDICAL STRIKE
The National Association of Interns, Assistants and Technicians of Nursing announced a 48-hour stoppage. They claimed the Ministry of Health owed them $3.5 million in salaries, but the ministry claimed the funds were not budgeted.
16: VACANCIES POSTED ONLINE
The Ministry of Education unveiled the Provel system, which allows teachers to apply for vacancies on-line.
19: RECORDING LINKED TO FINMECCANICA
The transcript of a telephone conversation of August 21, 2011 between Valter Lavítola and the former Commercial Director of the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, Paolo Pozzessere, is a new element that joined the investigation by international prosecutors in Naples which is linked to President Ricardo Martinelli.
20: GAMES END
The Central American and Caribbean Special Olympics ended in Panama City. It featured 566 athletes from 14 countries.
23: THE BEGINNING OF TRAFFIC MEASURES
A plan for the efficient management of traffic in Panama City went into effect.
24: CRY FOR RESPECT FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Members of student organizations and political parties joined a march in defence of freedom of expression convened by journalistic unions after a personal attack by President Ricardo Martinelli on journalist Hugo Famanía during a press conference.
26: STATE OF ALERT
The National Commission on Electoral Reforms, in an extraordinary session, rejected the changes introduced by the National Assembly to draft electoral reforms.
2: FILM FESTIVAL CONCLUDES
Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia and other film personalities closed the Panama International Film Festival at the National Theatre. In the six days that the festival lasted, it attracted audiences totaling 14,000 people.
7: BOCAS DEL TORO CROWNED CHAMPIONS
The Bocas del Toro team defeated Panama Metro to win the national baseball championship, its second title.
9: MARTINELLI REQUESTS RESIGNATION OF VARELA
President Ricardo Martinelli requested that Vice President Juan Carlos Varela resign. At two public events, Martinelli complained that Varela playd a large role in discussions with businessman Valter Lavítola.
11: CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS REMOVED FROM CONEP
The Panama Chamber of Commerce withdrew from the National Council of Private Enterprise.
12: MARTINELLI-VARELA FEUD CONTINUES
President Ricardo Martinelli filed a civil lawsuit for $30 million against Vice President Juan Carlos Varela for saying he took bribes.
23: DONATED BOATS REACH PANAMA
Four of the six patrol boats donated by Italy, as part of contracts signed by Panama with the conglomerate Finmeccanica, arrived in the country.
24: HEALTH STRIKE SUSPENDED
Through a preliminary agreement signed among the authorities of Social Security, the Ministry of Health and medical unions, the strike that started on May 14 was ended.
5: BUDGET LAW SANCTIONED
Martinelli signed the law which increases the budget deficit despite the call of several sectors to veto it to prevent the creation of the Panama Savings Fund.
7: WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Panama must "immediately stop the construction of the viaduct" and reverse works that it has developed around Casco Antiguo if it wants to retain its status as a World Heritage Site, Unesco told the government.
8: PANAMA BRINGS THREE POINTS
Panama defeated Honduras in its first game of the second round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
15: ACTIVATE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT
The three opposition parties made a call to all sectors of the country to form a Front for Democracy to oppose the creation of the Fifth Chamber of the Supreme Court and other government policies.
Copa Airlines formalized their incorporation into the Star Alliance, which is comprised of 27 airlines that served 600 million people in 2011.
28: PORTOBELO AND SAN LORENZO, ON THE LIST OF SITES IN DANGER
Unesco included Portobelo and San Lorenzo on the list of sites in danger.
1: THE DISCOURSE OF MARTINELLI
President Ricardo Martinelli gave a speech during the installation of the fourth ordinary session of the National Assembly. There he said that the opposition maintains "petty interests".
6: SCANDAL SPLASHED THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE
A recording links President Ricardo Martinelli and Minister of the Presidency Demetrio Papadimitriu to the titling of land in Juan Hombrón. The supposed protagonist of the conversation is Raúl Mata, a lawyer in charge of procedures that allowed the titling of land to the parents of Papadimitriu.
7: AVOID FELLING OF FLORA
Residents of Ancon and activists prevented to undertake the construction of new parking garage next to the Supreme Court of Justice which would include the felling of 40 trees.
8: PRD CAME OUT TO VOTE
40 percent of the membership of the Democratic Revolutionary Party went to the polls to choose the 4,200 delegates to the party convention.
16: PAPADIMITRIU OUT
Roberto Henríquez, who served as Foreign Minister, is the new Minister of the Presidency, replacing Papadimitriu. President Ricardo Martinelli accepted "the public resignation from office" of Papadimitriu.
19: AFTERNOON OF MARCHES
Members of the National Association of Nurses and of the Committee of Families and Victims of the Right to Health and Life marched, at different times, to the Presidency of the Republic to deliver two separate lists of demands.
27: TO LONDON!
Panama, with a delegation of eight athletes, marched at the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. They were led by defending gold medalist Irving Saladino, who was unable to defend his title.
1: PROGRESS OF PANAMA METRO
Tunneling machine "Marta" completed the first part of the underground tunnel between Albrook and Plaza 5 de Mayo. During the ceremony for the arrival of the machine to the station, President Ricardo Martinelli said that the project will be completed in three years.
2: TCT BLOCKADES LA PRENSA
Nearly 20 trucks owned by Transcaribe Trading Company (TCT) - which had bee the subject of a series of stories in La Prensa - were used to block the company to prevent newspapers from being distributed. Employees were also prevented from leaving.
3: LA PRENSA BESIEGED FOR THE SECOND DAY
"Down with La Prensa" screamed nearly 200 workers of the construction company Transcaribe Trading (TCT), owned by brothers David and Daniel Ochy, who besieged the facilities of La Prensa, on Avenida 12 de Octubre, for a second consecutive day. Saladino failed to advance to the finals of the long jump in the London Games.
7: CABINET GIVES LOT TO CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
The Cabinet Council agreed to donate the site of the former U.S. embassy on Avenida Balboa to the Children's Hospital for a new facility.
8: CD EXTENDS ELECTORAL REFORM
Despite the warnings of the Electoral Tribunal and organized civil society organizations, members of the ruling Democratic Change presented a new package of reforms to the Electoral Code.
13: MEDUCA AND TEACHERS AGREE TO END STRIKE
Teachers lifted a work stoppage that began on Aug. 8. A five-point agreement put an end to the strike.
14: MARTINELLI MAKES CHANGES
President Ricardo Martinelli made a readjustment to his government team. He appointed two new ministers, rotated one and appointed a deputy minister.
16: COMPLAINT AGAINST EMPLOYEES OF TCT
The parent compaies of La Prensa and Mi Diario submitted a complaint before the Public Prosecutor against the employees and the company Transcaribe Trading for blocking the company's facilities.
17: ELECTION NULLIFIED
The judge of the Electoral Tribunal, Gerardo Solís, said that an inspection made in the community of El Bebedero in Tonosi, Los Santos, found the use of state resources for political purposes. Therefore, he ordered a new election in the area.
22: THE BOOK FAIR
The eighth International Book Fair of Panama was held in the Atlapa Convention Center.
26: NAVARRO GETS CONTROL OF THE PRD
Juan Carlos Navarro was named general secretary of the PRD, defeating incumbent Mitchell Doens.
29: REJECTION OF ELECTORAL REFORM
Members of the Front for the Defence of Democracy marched toward the National Assembly against the electoral reforms that were proposed by members of the ruling Democratic Change.
2: CRITICISM FROM THE PRESIDENT
President Ricardo Martinelli launched an attack against the political opposition, the media and the Electoral Tribunal. Martinelli said that the opposition, which has not been able to join his party, "have joined in the Guacho front," in reference to the Front for Democracy.
4: QUIJANO TAKES THE HELM
Jorge Luis Quijano was sworn in as administrator of the Panama Canal for a seven-year term.
6: REFORMS REJECTED
The National Assembly resumed the discussion of the draft of reforms to the Electoral Code, driven by the CD. Verbal and physical confrontations between supporters and opponents of the project were recorded in the National Assembly.
7: GOVERNMENT BEGINS MARINE VIADUCT WITHOUT THE ENDORSEMENT OF UNESCO
The Ministry of Public Works reported that it began the construction of a marine viaduct around Casco Antiguo.
11: PANAMA LEADS ITS GROUP
Panama defeated Canada and regained the leadership of Group C in qualifying from the World Cup.
14: APPROVE REFORMS
With 40 votes in favor and 22 against, the plenary of the National Assembly adopted the draft electoral reforms after 10 days of debate, tension and confrontations.
24: OCHY DEMAND
The brothers David and Daniel Ochy ten and civilly sued Corprensa and claimed compensation of $7 million for moral and material damages allegedly caused after the publication of news about the titling of lands in Baru, Chiriqui.
26: BARRÍA MAKES HISTORY
Panamanian Caesar Barría crossed the Strait of Santa Barbara, California, United States. The athlete, who is disabled, completed the 20 kilometres in 7 hours and 45 minutes.
28: THE DEFENSE OF MARTINELLI
President Ricardo Martinelli announced the formation of a group called the "Gladiators" to defend him in the media.
2: PRINCES VISIT
The Princes of Asturias, Felipe and Letizia, arrived in Panama on an official visit. The first activity was the opening of the meeting of Spanish companies in Panama, and then a visit to the Palace of the Herons.
4: TAMBURRELLI FACES ALLEGATIONS
Allegations surfaced that a year before leaving the direction of the National Aid Program to head the National Mortgage Bank, Giacomo Tamburrelli used funds from the program to pave a road to his father-in-law's property in Los Santos.
A wall fell in the Japan School in La Loceria, Bethania, killing one student and injuring two others.
6: FASHION WEEK
The eleventh Panama Fashion Week came to an end. The event lasted three days and involved 43 designers and 2 schools of design.
12: 24 HOURS TO CONTROL FIRE
A fire occurred in the Bicsa Financial Center building, located on Avenida Balboa. It took 24 hours to control the fire as it was located in an area being used for storage.
13: THE RESIGNATION OF GIACOMO TAMBURRELLI
The government confirmed the resignation of Giacomo Tamburrelli for personal reasons.
16: GERARDO SOLIS REPLACED
Professor and doctor in law Heriberto Araúz Sánchez, 50, became the sixth Electoral Court judge since the fall of the dictatorship in 1990. Araúz Sánchez replaced Gerardo Solís. He was appointed by the Supreme Court.
The law to allow the sale of lands in the Colón Free Zone was approved by the Trade Committee of the National Assembly.
Panama managed to draw 1-1 against Cuba to earn a place in the final round of World Cup qualifying.
18: REJECTION IN COLON
Riots in Colón followed the adoption on second reading in the National Assembly of the draft law allowing the sale of land in the Free Zone.
A nine-year-old was killed, 15 people were wounded and dozens arrested following a second day of rioting in Colón.
22: STAY IN COLUMBUS
Rioting continued in Colón as the government called for "sanity."
23: REPEAL OF LAW 72
President Ricardo Martinelli said via Twitter that Law 72 would be repealed.
Medical workers announced they would strike due to a lack of progress on salary issued.
24: CRISIS CONTINUES
The eighth day of protests against Law 72 spread to Panama City as construction workers and students rioted, looting businesses and causing millions in damage.
26: GOVERNMENT RECOILS AFTER DEAD AND LOOTING
The National Assembly rushed to start the process of repealing Law 72. The Chamber of Commerce estimated that the protests of the past nine days have caused losses of between $30 million to $40 million. In addition, three fatalities were reported.
28: MARTINELLI ANNOUNCES A DIALOGUE FOR COLÓN
In a message to the nation, President Ricardo Martinelli announced there would be a dialogue with Colón leaders.
31: TRADE AGREEMENT GOES INTO EFFECT
The free trade agreement between the U.S. and Panama went into effect.
President of the National Assembly Sergio Gálvez said the end of the first phase of his term was a "troubled period."
Independence Day parades were held in front of the Presidential Palace and on Calle 50, but construction workers protested during the events, demanding justice for the people killed in the recent riots.
4: SHOW OF FORCE
Security forces violated tradition and marched in the middle of the independence day parade, going in front of school groups.
5: MARTINELLI REPLACED BY FÁBREGA IN COLÓN
Government Minister Jorge Ricardo Fábrega was appointed by President Ricardo Martinelli to represent him at events in Colón. Civic leaders demanded an apology from the president for the damage caused by riots last month.
7: DIALOGUE OPENS
The dialogue on the future of Colón opened. The methodology was established and three commissions were appointed.
8: MOLINAR: MULINO IS IRRESPONSIBLE
Education Minister Lucy Molinar called Minister of Security José Raúl Mulino "irresponsible" for ordering police to march int he middle of the independence day parade on Nov. 4, instead of at the end, which was tradition.
13: MILLIONS IN FRIENDLY BUSINESS
La Prensa revealed that the international friendly between Panama and Spain, which was supposed to be privately funded, received large amounts of government support, including $500,000 from the Tourism Authority of Panama.
14: LA PRENSA BANNED
After the publication of the above story in La Prensa, the newspaper was denied press credentials to cover the game, which Panama lost 5-1.
18: WINNER OF ORATORY CONTEST
Suelen Ayala, of David, won the 2012 national oratory contest with the theme, "Panama, the conquest of the future; commemorating the discovery of the Pacific Ocean."
19: BRAZIL QUALIFIES FOR THE WORLD CLASSIC
Brazil beat Panama 1-0 to qualify for the finals of the World Baseball Classic.
20: DANILO PEREZ, SYMBOL OF PEACE
For his career, artistic achievements and philanthropic efforts, Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez was honored as an artist for peace by Unesco.
23: DISASTER IN COLUMBUS
Flooding destroyed a number of houses in Colón, including about a dozen in a state-owned project.
25: BAD WEATHER
More bad weather left three people dead and more than 3,000 homeless in Colón and La Chorrera. President Ricardo Martinelli declared a state of emergency for those areas.
29: BODIES RECOVERED
The bodies of Jorge Alemán and Fernando Johnson were found three days after they were washed away by a landslide in Colón.
Panama votes against Palestine to join the UN, saying it must first reach peace with the Israelis.
3: USE OF THE FAP
The plenary of the National Assembly approved on third debate the use of the Panama Savings Fund (FAP) to help people affected by flooding in Colón, Arraiján and La Chorrera.
9: WARNING OF RISKS
A report by the Colón Municipal Engineering Department warned, 14 days before it happened, about the potential collapse of the Boyd-Roosevelt highway in Quebrada. The document pointed out that the shoulder of the road had been compromised.
10: CONFLICT IN THE FIRE BRIGADE
With the mediation of the Catholic Church, members of the Panama Fire Department ended a week of protests and agreed to begin a dialogue about salary issues..
13: DELIVERY OF HAMS
President of the Assembly Sergio Gálvez defended the spending of state resources to pay for 30,000 hams he handed out to voters in his district.
18: QUESTION DESIGNATIONS
The Cabinet Council appointed Ana Belfon, current secretariat for Legal Affairs of the Ministry of the Presidency and a former prosecutor during the military dictatorship, as the new attorney general to replace José Ayú Prado, who was appointed to the Supreme Court to replace of Anibal Salas.
26: METRO STRIKE
A group of Metro Bus drivers called a strike to demand higher wages, paralyzing service and stranding hundreds of people.
A former employee of brokerage firm Financial Pacific alleged that President Ricardo Martinelli had a secret account at the firm that he used to buy and sell shares of Petaqilla Minerals using insider information. The firm is at the center of a legal battle between the Securities Commission and the Supreme Court.
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