The Center for Strategic and International Studies held a conference, Panama: Beyond the Canal, with the following speakers: Juan Carlos Varela, Vice President of the Republic of Panama, Gerardo Solis, the magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal, Guillermo Adames, the president of the National Council of Journalism, Guillermo Chapman, the chairman of INDESA, and Frank de Lima, the Minister of the Economy.
In a brief introduction, the Vice President described the country’s status. He made emphasis on the poverty and the corruption within the government. The country faces 30% of poverty, and 12% lives in extreme poverty. Gerardo Solis, the magistrate of the Electoral Tribunal, indicated how the country’s leaders needed to refocus their priorities, and Guillermo Adames, the president of the National Council of Journalism, emphasized the people’s freedom of expression, and how the Panamanians defend their democratic system of government. “The will of the Panamanians will prevail,” said Mr. Adames. He also mentioned that the press is used to reveal the lies of politicians in power.
The Minister of the Economy described the country’s strategic position, and explained how that helps Panama’s economic growth. Panama’s tourism has been increasing the last years. Frank de Lima was able to show statistics of the percentages, and how they were expecting them to increase in the future. Some of the projects the country is working on is the expansion of their international airport, and the construction of a metro system.
At the end, the objective of the conference was to demonstrate that Panama, like any other Latin American country, faces poverty and corruption. Nevertheless, the country’s economy has been increasing, and this is proof that it is stable and foreign investment is safe.