President Nito Cortizo Addresses the United Nations General Assembly

Panama - President Addresses General Debate, 74th Session

Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, President of the Republic of Panama, addressed the general debate of the 74th Session of the General Assembly of the UN (New York, 24 – 30 September 2019).

To watch his speech please visit:


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The new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama is Doctor Alejandro Ferrer. He was sworn in last night by President Laurentino Cortizo and will serve his tenure from 2019-2024. The Minister’s biography is available in Spanish here, and in English below.


Dr. Alejandro Ferrer was born in Panama on February 1, 1967, he is the son of Enna López de Ferrer and Alejandro Ferrer Stanziola. He is married to Irene Arias Galindo with whom he has two daughters.

He graduated high school from Colegio La Salle and continued his university studies at the Catholic University Santa Maria la Antigua in Panama (USMA), where, in 1990 he graduated with a Bachelor of Law and Political Science, sum cum laude.

In 1992 he obtained a Masters in Law and in 2000, a Doctorate in Law Science at the University of Michigan, as a Fulbright Scholar. He also participated in a course on Global Leadership and Public Policies for the 21st Century at Harvard University.

In 1993 he acted as Legal Advisor to the Adhesion Commission of Panama before the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and in 1994, he became its Deputy Permanent Representative. Between 1998 and 1999 he was a member of the Presidential Commission against Money Laundering, and in the periods 1996-1999 and 2008-2009, he was a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Between 1994 and 1995 he served as Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland and Alternate Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations. Between 1995 and 1996, he was a Foreign Trade Advisor at the Embassy of Panama in Washington.

Between 1996 and 1997 he was Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

During the period between 2004 and 2008, he occupied the office of Minister of Commerce and Industries. He is a Partner  at the Law Firm Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee, of which he is on leave to occupy this public post.

During his tenure as Minister of Commerce, through appropriate promotion policies, Panama exceeded a billion dollars in exports for the first time. This continued for several years. He also promoted the Multinational Offices Act (Law 41 of 2007) which has attracted more than 150 world-renowned companies to the country, generating thousands of jobs.

In 2008 Dr. Ferrer received the Global Young Leader of the World Economic Forum title and the Integrity Award of the Government Ethics category of the Panamanian Chapter of Transparency International. During his tenure, he was recognized along with the Electoral Tribunal as the most transparent entity by the Pro-Justice Citizen Alliance.

He was president of the Amador Foundation (Museum of Biodiversity) from 2006 to 2013. He is a Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) fellow.


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Today, the new President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, was sworn into power by the National Assembly of Panama. He is the 35th President of the Republic and will serve from 2019-2024. His biography is available in Spanish here, and in English below.


Laurentino Cortizo Cohen was born in Panama City on January 30, 1953. He attended secondary school at the La Salle School in Nicaragua. He graduated from the University of Norwich in Vermont, United States, where he obtained his degree in Business Administration. He holds a Ph.D. in International Commerce and Marketing from the University of Texas.

After he graduated, he held several positions in the Organization of American States. He returned to Panama to manage family businesses and was elected as a deputy of the Republic in two consecutive periods: 1994-1999 and 1999-2004, where he was President of the Legislative Assembly. Between 2004 and 2006, he held the position of Minister of Agricultural Development.

Since 1986, he has exercised his profession as manager of Cortizo Group companies: Panablock, a company that produces construction materials and Hacienda Hermacor, a high genetic livestock company. He is a member of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, who nominated him to the presidential candidacy, after winning the primary elections of the party in September 2018. He has the support of the Molirena party. On May 5, 2019, he was elected as President of the Republic of Panama for the period 2019-2024.

The government plan of Laurentino Cortizo Cohen will be based on 4 Pillars and one Star: Education.

The Pillars of the plan are:

  1.  Good governance

  2. Rule of Law

  3. A Competitive economy that creates jobs

  4. The fight against poverty and inequality

Official Statement-Lima Group

The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia, member countries of the Lima Group:

1) Express their concern over the arrival of two Russian military aircraft to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and in this regard reiterate their condemnation of any provocation or military deployment that threatens peace and security in the region.

2) Renew their call to the nations that still maintain cooperative ties with the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro, to help facilitate the search for solutions that open the way to the restoration of democracy and constitutional order in Venezuela.

Official Statement- European Union ratifies that Panama complies with global transparency and fiscal equity standards

Panama welcomes the decision of the Council of Ministers of Economy and Finance of the European Union (ECOFIN), to remove the Republic of Panama from Annex II of the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in fiscal matters.

The European Union included Panama in December 2017 in this discriminatory list, due to the lack of understanding of the country's tax regimes. In January 2018, after technical and diplomatic efforts, this regional block removed Panama from this classification, moving it to an observation or monitoring list, which recognized that the country was dedicated to completing the legislative reforms needed to adapt the preferential regimes considered pernicious.

The Republic of Panama, through the Ministries of Economy and Finance, Trade and Industry, and Foreign Affairs and the Presidency, worked hand in hand with national institutions such as the Panama-Pacifico Agency, the private sector, and actors involved in the modernization process and adaptation of the legislative framework that governs the Call Centers, the Multinational Companies Headquarters regime, the intellectual property of the City of Knowledge, and the Panama-Pacific special economic area. In addition to pernicious tax regimes, the European Union assessed Panama's progress in terms of transparency and tax cooperation, assessing aspects such as the adoption of the automatic exchange mechanism consistent with Common Reporting Standard objectives, promoted by the OECD Global Forum; adherence to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, and the Inclusive Framework of the Project on the Erosion of Taxable Bases and the Transfer of Benefits (BEPS).

The Government of the Republic of Panama has undertaken a rigorous process of strengthening its financial platform and international services, within the framework of the High Level Commission for International and Financial Services (CANSIF), in which the public and private sector participate. Thus, the country has managed to adapt to global standards of fiscal equity, ensuring the country's competitiveness.

Panama will continue working hand in hand with the global community to ensure effective mechanisms of fiscal equity and international cooperation, as well as in the fight against money laundering and financing of illicit activities.

Official Statement- Panama and the Lima Group condemn the actions of the Nicolas Maduro regime.

The Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, members of the Lima Group, in their commitment to contribute to the process of democratic transition and the institutional, economic and social management of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, state the following:

  1. They condemn the deliberate actions of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro that, without considering the suffering of the population or the insistent calls of the international community, have prevented, on February 23, the entry of basic necessities and international assistance, through acts of violent repression that resulted in multiple injuries and deaths on the border with Colombia and Brazil, all of which have aggravated the risk faced by the lives, dignity and integrity of Venezuelans.

  2. They express their solidarity with the Venezuelan people and recognize their courage in their struggle to recover democracy, and reiterate the commitment of the Lima Group to continue supporting it actively in this effort.

  3. They denounce to the international community the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro for intentionally subjecting Venezuelans, and in particular the most vulnerable population, to a systematic deprivation of food and medicines, and access to basic services, to ensure their permanence in the power.

  4. They express their gratitude for the humanitarian assistance made available to Venezuela, and condemn the indiscriminate violence used by the security forces and armed groups at the service of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro to obstruct their distribution and to prevent the full exercise of the rights of the Venezuelans. As a result, they will collaborate to bring those responsible for these acts to justice.

  5. They decide to request the International Criminal Court to take into consideration the serious humanitarian situation in Venezuela, the criminal violence of the Nicolás Maduro regime against the civilian population, and the denial of access to international assistance, which constitute a crime against humanity , in the course of the procedures that it advances under the request submitted by Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru on September 27, 2018, and subsequently endorsed by Costa Rica and France, and welcomed by Germany.

  6. They decide to promote the designation by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations of an independent expert or of a commission of inquiry on the situation in Venezuela, following the deep concern over "the serious violations of human rights in the context of a political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis "in that country, expressed in Resolution A / HRC / RES / 39/1" Promotion and protection of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela "of September 26, 2018; and reiterate their call to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to respond promptly to the situation in that country, prior to the presentation of her comprehensive report at the forty-first session of the Human Rights Council.

  7. They state the irreversible nature of their commitment to democratic transition and the institutional, economic and social reconstruction in Venezuela, highlighting that the permanence of Nicolás Maduro and his illegitimate regime in power represents an unprecedented threat to security, peace, freedom and prosperity throughout the region, which is why they are promoting the discussion of the current situation in that country in the Security Council of the United Nations, and will continue to address it in the Organization of American States. Likewise, they will advance direct negotiations with the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization so that, in accordance with their competences, they can promote the activation of the United Nations System in relation to what is happening in Venezuela.

  8. They express their satisfaction at the growing number of States that have recognized the constitutional authority of the National Assembly and the President-in-Charge, Juan Guaidó, and invite those States and the international community as a whole to join the Lima Group's commitment to the transition democratic and with the immediate provision of humanitarian assistance, adhering to the Declaration of Ottawa by Venezuela. In this sense, they decide to intensify the efforts of the Lima Group at the international level, establishing all the necessary contacts and coordination, including special missions, to publicize the efforts and actions that the Group has undertaken to help restore democracy and democracy. the constitutional order in Venezuela.

  9. They resolve to maintain permanent coordination with the representatives of the government of the President-in-Charge, Juan Guaidó, both in their bilateral relations and in the international organizations to which they belong and in the multilateral forums in which they participate, with a view to the return of democracy, the reconstruction economic, and the immediate attention of the humanitarian crisis. As such, they will promote their recognition in international organizations and in multilateral coordination mechanisms, as legitimate representatives of Venezuela.

  10. They decide to advance in the recognition of the representatives of the President in Charge, Juan Guaidó, in accordance with their internal procedures.

  11. They reiterate their call to all members of the National Armed Forces to recognize the President in Charge, Juan Guaidó, as their Commander in Chief, and exhort them, faithful to their constitutional mandate to be at the exclusive service of the Nation and not to that of a person, cease to serve as instruments of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro for the oppression of the Venezuelan people and the systematic violation of their human rights.

  12. Urge members of the Judiciary and the Venezuelan Justice System, including those who have been irregularly designated as such, to recognize the legitimate authority of the National Assembly and the President in Charge, Juan Guaidó, and to respect the full exercise of their constitutional powers , in order to facilitate the democratic transition and the restoration of the Rule of Law in Venezuela.

  13. They appeal to the nations that still maintain cooperative ties with the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro to help facilitate the search for solutions that open the way for democratic transition and the convocation of free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

  14. They offer their strong support to the Agreement for the promotion of the Country Rescue Plan, adopted by the National Assembly on January 29. In this regard, they express their willingness to convene an international conference, and request the Inter-American Development Bank to lead the accompaniment of the legitimate authorities of Venezuela in the implementation of the institutional and economic reforms they deem necessary to reactivate the economy and offer opportunities of social progress for all Venezuelans

  15. They reaffirm the right of all Venezuelans to live in democracy and freedom, and therefore, reiterate their support for the holding of free and fair elections, open to the participation of all political forces, with international accompaniment and observation, organized by an authority neutral and legitimately constituted electoral. For these new democratic elections to be held, they demand the immediate departure of Nicolás Maduro and the cessation of the usurpation, respecting the constitutional authority of the National Assembly and the President in Charge, Juan Guaidó.

  16. They reiterate their conviction that the transition to democracy must be conducted by the Venezuelans themselves peacefully and within the framework of the Constitution and international law, supported by political and diplomatic means, without the use of force.

  17. They agree to reaffirm and follow up on the measures adopted by the Lima Group previously; offer all its support to the design and execution of the electoral calendar established by the National Assembly and the President in Charge, Juan Guaidó; and to urge the international community on the urgent need to allow the entry of humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan people

  18. They salute the offer of the Government of the Republic of Chile to host the next meeting of the Lima Group on a date to be determined.

Original statement in Spanish:

Panama rejects the European Commission proposal that includes the country in a high risk list

The Government of the Republic of Panama strongly rejects the proposal of the European Commission to include the country in a list of jurisdictions of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.

Considering that the publication issued today by the European Commission must be submitted to the European Parliament for approval within a period of one month, the Government of Panama will continue its efforts to establish a communication channel to clarify the concerns of the European Commission.

Thus, the country reiterates the call to establish a frank and continuous dialogue, which values the commitment and dedication of Panama in the adaptation of its legislation and financial platform, to avoid money laundering and the financing of illegal acts.

While this communication channel is established, the Panamanian Government will call the Representative of Panama before the European Union, Ambassador Miguel Verzbolovskis, for consultations and will establish a period of 30 days to announce additional steps.

For Panama, the process carried out by this European body in preparation of the list has been opaque, since no interaction was done with Panama as the third party subject to analysis.

Despite enormous efforts from its Embassy and Representation before the European Union in Brussels and official visits from high authorities, Panama was not given the opportunity to inform or respond on the actions taken in legislation and practice, to address any deficiency perceived by the Commission.

In addition, the inclusion is not consistent with the close bilateral and commercial relationship that Panama maintains with this regional bloc, nor with the great advances our nation has made in terms of strengthening and modernizing its financial platform and international services, governed today by robust legislation. and adequate to the highest standards, recognized by institutions such as the Financial Action Group of Latin America (GAFILAT) and the Global Forum of Transparency and Exchange of Information of the OECD.

Panama urges the European Commission to reconsider the unjust action taken against a country with a clear commitment to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Panama Promotes Scientific Work for Inclusive Development

The Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, visited the headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), with the purpose of creating an alliance that allows collaboration to be maintained among the scientific community and national institutions.

Accompanied by Carmenza, Spadafora from INDICASAT, Claudia Guerrero from Senacyt, and José Fábrega from the UTP, the Vice President shared the role of the State in identifying relationships that relate to economic growth, human rights and more inclusive development. And in this line, she added, science plays a crucial role.

The Executive Director of AAAS, Rush Holt, offered the experience of the organization for this purpose, including training of foreign policy personnel. He offered tools to serve as a platform to promote scientific work in Panama.

In addition, the Panamanian diplomatic leadership expressed its interest in having the science, technology and innovation achievements of Panama be reflected in international publications. Finally, she recognized that the private sector could play a more active role by investing in scientific research that benefits the country. She proposed to learn more about the experience of the United States and other countries in which these type of partnerships have worked.

This Thursday culminated the work agenda of the Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Washington, DC, which served to strengthen the historic relationship between Panama and the United States, and has been an important impetus to the strategy of Scientific Diplomacy, Technology and Innovation.

Panama recognizes Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela

The government of the Republic of Panama expresses its recognition of the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó as President Interim of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Likewise, it is expected that a peaceful process of democratic transition will be fulfilled, with the equitable participation of all political actors.

Panama is a country that promotes dialogue and peace, it rejects any type of violence and repression that attack the rights of Venezuelans and the security of this South American country and the region. Therefore, we reiterate the urgency of finding a peaceful solution to the social, political and economic crisis.

Panama and Lima Group Declaration

The Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru express the following:

  1. They recognize and express their full support to the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, who has assumed the position as President Interim of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in compliance with the constitutional norms and the illegitimacy of the Nicolás Maduro regime.

  2. They support the beginning of the process of democratic transition in Venezuela within the framework of its Constitution, in order to hold new elections, in the shortest time, with the participation of all political actors and with the international guarantees and standards necessary for a democratic process .

  3. They condemn the acts of violence that occurred in Venezuela and urge that the rule of law, the fundamental rights of the people and social peace be guaranteed, while the government's transition takes place.

  4. They confirm their decision to continue firmly supporting the recovery of democracy in Venezuela.