Panama Elects New President Who Vows To Shut Migrant Trail, Restore Economy – ZeroHedge 5/6/24


Voters in the Republic of Panama on Sunday elected a new president who has vowed to sever a key segment of the Latina American migrant trail that leads to the United States while restoring the country’s reputation as an investment destination.

Former security minister Jose Raul Mulino won via an approximate 34% plurality of the vote. He was a late entrant to the race — subbing in for former President Ricardo Martinelli, who was banned from running after being convicted for money laundering and sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison.

The conviction arose from the use of public money to buy a media firm, which then gave Martinelli a majority ownership position. Martinelli is currently living in the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama City, where he’s been granted asylum. That didn’t stop him from being an active voice in the campaign, urging voters to choose Mulino via messages from his makeshift home in an embassy storeroom. On Sunday, Mulino acknowledged the boost, visiting Martinelli at the Nicaraguan compound after he’d cast his own vote:

Gracias JR Mulino por tu visita hoy

— Ricardo Martinelli (@rmartinelli) May 5, 2024

Mulino, whose five-year term will begin on July 1, has vowed to stem the massive flow of illegal migration that transits Panama en route from South America to the United States. In 2023, more than 500,000 migrants traveled through Panama; most of them were Venezuelan, reports Bloomberg.

“I will not permit thousands of illegals to pass through our territory like nothing, without control,” said 64-year-old Mulino as he campaigned for office. Making good on that promise will require major attention to Panama’s notorious Darien Gap, a roadless, 60-mile stretch of of swamps, mountains and rain forest that is the only terrestrial connection between South and Central America….

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