15/09/2012 - Center President Stephen Johnson said that the talk focused on Panama due to its historic political connection to the US, the importance of the Panama Canal to trade and the fact that it is a haven for retirees.
Johnson said that he wanted to focus on Panama because many people have limited information about it, and "it would be a good idea have a panel to fill those blanks."
The panel discussed security policies, freedom of the press, the business and economy climate and an issue that was not on agenda, the conflict between Vice President Juan Carlos Varela and President Ricardo Martinelli arising from the breakdown of the ruling alliance.
Serving on the panel were Varela, Tribunal Electoral Judge Gerardo Solis; Minister of Economy and Finance Frank De Lima; economist Guillermo Chapman and former President of the National Council of Journalists Guillermo Adames.
"Not everyone in this conference will agree with each other, but that is precisely the purpose," Johnson said. "This discussion is not intended as a criticism of a single reality, or not intended to be a comprehensive report, but to give insight into a complex society, with common problems, and challenges as great as the opportunities that lie ahead."
Varela and De Lima squared off on the issue of electoral reforms.
"In recent months, President Martinelli has tried to adopt an electoral reform tailored to manipulate the results of the elections of 2014," said Varela. "We do not believe in confrontation, but we will do everything necessary to protect and defend our democracy."
De Lima responded that the opposition was "playing a political game" in trying to block the reforms.
MAS NOTICIAS EN Locales