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Panama

Yearbook 2012

Panama. Former dictator Manuel Noriega's return to Panama at the end of 2011, after 23 years in prison in the United States and France, created some real political concern in some circles. Within both his old party Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) and the current President Ricardo Martinelli's administration, several of Noriega's old colleagues remain, among them the National Police Chief Gustavo Pérez de la Ossa, and about which Noriega could provide compromising information during the upcoming judicial process in Panama. Noriega ruled Panama by iron in 1983-89 and was deposited by a US invasion in December 1989.

2012 Panama

According to countryaah, the government's investments in mining and hydropower projects created furious protests from Panama's Indians during the year. It was mainly the exploitation of Cerro Colorado, believed to be the country's largest copper deposit and located in the Ngabe Bugié area with large groups of indigenous people, which created dissatisfaction. Forty people were killed and injured in demonstrations in January. In the same area, the construction of a hydropower plant is planned.

President Martinelli also presented a proposal for reform of the electoral system which was quickly approved by Congress, which is completely dominated by his coalition. The reform included the elimination of proportional representation through the parties' electoral lists. Not unexpectedly, the opposition complained that the reform was tailor-made for Martinelli personally and they also complained that the reforms did not intend to increase transparency in the funding of election campaigns.

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