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Panama’s Presidential Election May Portend What Will Happen With Trump In The USA

A backfire of unprecedented proportions?

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ASTORIA, NYC- When the people of Panama voted in the henchman of a former president and convicted felon it probably should have sent a message to the people of the United States loud and clear, as what happened there may portend what is to come for us in November.

Last month, the people of Panama would have voted Ricardo Martinelli back into power … if they were permitted to by the courts. In July of last year, the supermarket magnate was convicted of embezzling and laundering $43 million of public funds … and there’s a laundry list of other alleged crimes that he could potentially be charged with in the future.

This move broke with Panama’s long-standing precedent of not prosecuting presidents for their less than scrupulous acts while in power — effectively, the gloves came off between the country’s various political parties and a former president was sentenced to ten years in prison.

But this mattered little to the voters of Panama. On election night, as Martinelli was hiding out in the Nicaraguan Embassy to avoid serving his sentence, the country voted for his hand-picked choice in a decisive victory — the thinking, obviously, was that the former president would be running things behind the scenes.

Ricardo Martinelli first gained prominence as a businessman and created several successful companies before jumping into politics. However, he was always seen as a political outsider who had a penchant for doing things his own way.

Something about this sounds very familiar…

But how could this happen? Why would a democratic society want to choose a convicted criminal to lead their country from the shadows?

From what I could tell, some people felt that, though corrupt, Martinelli at least did some positive things for the country when he was in president. Others felt that all of their politicians are corrupt so what difference did it make that he happened to have been convicted? While a sizable amount of others were legitimate supporters and felt that he was persecuted by the system and that his conviction was politically motivated … something that Martinelli himself played into:

“I feel concerned about justice in Panama. When I was president I made many mistakes thinking that prosecutors and judges responded by law … There is no justice, justice is useless. They receive orders from the Executive and other people …”

It was a lesson in human psychology, group think, and the sheer political power of victimization.


On May 30th, Donald Trump walked out of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse wearing a shiny blue tie and a vengeful smirk assured that he will become the next president of the United States of America. Those 12 jurors ostensibly served as delegates casting their constituents’ vote for president, and they unanimously chose “four more years.”

After all the nonsense — the fast tracking of the snake oil, not disposing of the mass-murdering Fauci, the approval of moronic lockdowns, “Stop the Steal,” J6 … it is my impression that most of America was ready to let that guy stroll off into the sunset. It was ride — a sometimes funny, sometimes ugly kind of ride — but like all rides there comes a time when you want to get off.

But they kept making the blowhard front page news. It was clear that they wanted revenge and legitimization for the years that they spent going after the guy on false pretenses, and they got it in a way that involved a contrived admixture of obscure, twisted, and overtly novel legal theories … that most lawyers and lay folk alike would probably describe best with the word “bullshit.”

From Taibbi:

Maureen Dowd in the New York Times in this morning’s op-ed about Donald Trump’s trial:

Even though the case was a stretch and not the strongest one against Trump, there was something refreshing about the jury doing what no one else around Trump has been able to do — not the inexplicably sycophantish Republican lawmakers, not the corrupt Supreme Court, not the slowpoke Merrick Garland.

New York’s Jonathan Chait, who lives on the outer edge of the spectrum of Trump-detesting pundits but has expressed unease with some recent moves to unseat him, wrote “the case was always marginal” and “the sort of charge you’d concoct if the target is a bad guy and you want to nail him for something.”

While Martinelli was prosecuted for a major crime and severe abuses of power, Trump was prosecuted for mis-categorizing an otherwise completely legal payment to a lawyer to buy off a prostitute. He was found guilty, so we’ll go with that — there’s no need to go into the credibility of a primary witness who previously committed perjury. He’s guilty. He’s a felon.

They got him.

Yes, they did.

And in the process he became more popular than ever.

I’m the production manager of a national cable talk show that films in Midtown Manhattan that has on a wide range of guests from across the political and social spectrums — from Joe Lieberman to Rudy Giuliani, rock stars to movie stars — and a few weeks ago we had on a guest who’s working on the Trump campaign.

“This trial is the best thing for him,” she said in the green room before the show began. “He’s just letting this trial do his campaigning for him. You have no idea how much money this is saving him. And if he loses it will be even better for him.”

She appears to have been correct.

In just seven hours after the conviction, the Trump campaign raised $34 million dollars in donations — a record. Over the next 17 hours this total would jump to $53 million.

From the Free Press:

Meanwhile, as media analysts were busy celebrating the verdict, with ABC’s chief White House correspondent calling it a “political gift to Democrats,” searches for “donate to Trump” spiked on Google. So many people were rushing to Trump’s fundraising page that the site temporarily crashed. By the next morning, his campaign announced that nearly $35 million had poured in overnight—almost 30 percent of which appeared to come from first-time Trump donors. By late Friday, the campaign stated that the total had climbed to nearly $53 million.

You can now see MAGA hats around NYC. They are mostly being worn by young black and Latino males. In a strange way, the criminal justice system’s ravenous pursuit of Trump has given him a degree of street cred:

Trump’s repeated run-ins with the law, and what seems like an unfair obsession with catching him and punishing him disproportionately for his so-called “crimes,” reminds a lot of us of what was done to us.

From where I’m sitting, the events of this week will only increase Trump’s “street cred”—especially among formerly incarcerated voters…

Many critics of Trump interpret his arrests as proof that he is unsuitable to return to the White House. But to my eyes, as I still struggle to repair my life from the damage of serving an unjust sentence, this is evidence that he may be just the right person for the job.

He’s literally been in my shoes. No other president can brag on that. And believe me, he will brag about it. Such boasting will not fall on deaf ears…

Trump’s credibility doesn’t just improve among the formerly incarcerated. Let’s face it: Americans love an underdog. What better way to make a billionaire relatable and counted among the disenfranchised than to have him targeted for criminal and civil prosecution?

More:

People are also noticing the justice system’s seemingly unjust treatment of President Trump—a fate many black people have experienced.

“They’re saying to themselves: ‘Now wait a minute; this looks very familiar,’” Mr. Fisher said. “Subconsciously, that’s a powerful thing.”

Black people also lament that authorities are letting violent crime and illegal immigrants run amok, while they’re targeting President Trump and others for alleged nonviolent offenses.

Imagine that.

They made Trump look like a victim, they made him a martyr, and the fuck you vote is one of America’s fondest pastimes.

As it apparently is in Panama.

Postscript

Every time I publish a post like this my political views are called into question — perhaps with good reason. So I’ll put it like this: I vote for the candidate that’s least likely to go around the world bombing people and fanning the flames of war. It’s usually a draw, so I generally don’t waste my time voting. But this year things are a little different, as there is a candidate that I actually want to be president. It’s not Trump and it’s definitely not that desiccated, warmongering bag of dementia hobbling off to nowhere looking like he has no idea what planet he’s on …

I’ll leave it at that.

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Filed under: Panama, Politics, USA

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

2 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Trevor Warman June 25, 2024, 1:35 pm

    Love him or loathe him, the election will be the most interesting and possibly crucial ever..

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    • VBJ July 1, 2024, 9:09 pm

      Haha it’s a total joke. But something good may come out of it. With each day that passes Bobby Kennedy is looking better and better.

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