Martinelli’s Mistakes?

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Panama’s ex-President Ricardo Martinelli might be extradicted from the US back to Panama. There, the most serious charges include illegal espionage, or wiretapping, on many people. The old Nixon-style eavesdropping on conversations.

Mistake #1: Not making the illegal legal. In Panama it’s still illegal for the government to spy on citizens without a warrant. In the US, the Patriot Act, NDAA and simple standard operating procedures have done away with all that.

Mistake #2: Going to the US when there are many other countries that would not so readily extradite a former head of ¬†government. They don’t take all these accusations so seriously. In many developing countries, some would say “Banana Republic” countries, it is normal for incoming administrations to produce long laundry lists of all the crimes of the former ones.

Based on that logic, Martinelli should have headed for Brazil, where revolving-door administrations accuse the previous ones of ever-larger corruption schemes.

Besides, in Brazil the sun is hot and the women are fast. Or he could go to Venezuela, which would probably not extradite someone to a US ally. And Martinelli, when president, had a good relationship with Venezuela actually.

I was in Panama the last time the Martinelli rumor mill was swirling. Long time readers know that I was born in the US Canal Zone and qualified for Panamanian citizenship in 2000, retroactively, because Panama never recognized US sovereignty over the Zone.

I aim to return to Panama in December of February, to renew my citizenship ID card and look in on my motorcycle. So if I hear the rumor mill turning on the ground I will mention that here.

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