Photo: Pedro Noel
While President Varela spoke at the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Panama yesterday, a few bold protestors silently delivered the message: We’re not here to simply pay lip service to transparency and a free press—we want to see real action on that. The two protestors who worked inside the conference hall were Panamanian author Lili Mendoza and Andre Dumoulin, a translator at the Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations. Eric Jackson from The Panama News braved the blazing sun outside the convention hall.
This week (December 1–4), Panama is hosting the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC). We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to make a stink about the discrepancy between image and reality: human rights and free press issues are on the conference agenda.
At yesterday’s IACC opening, the global head of Transparency International highlighted Ornstein’s case and called for his release. A surprised President Varela had this to say. This IACC summary reflects actions taken by protestors at the opening session.
Except for Panamá América, the local media seem to be running a blackout on yesterday’s very public criticism of the prosecution of Ornstein. Which is interesting, considering what Varela said: That while he respects the separation of powers, he would ask the Supreme Court to consider Ornstein’s case.
Ornstein was perhaps ahead of the IACC curve with his 2014 TEDx talk in Panama, in which he spoke about the connection between corruption and libel tourism.