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Panama: Asylum for Former Colombian Security Director Creates Controversy

The current topic of conversation in Panama and Colombia is the recent asylum given by the Panama Government to Maria Pilar Hurtado, former director of the Colombian Administrative Department of Security [in Spanish DAS], who has been accused of illegal phone wiretapping.

The indignation has been picked up by social networks and the media in Panama, partly because less than six months before the attorney general of Panama was replaced for the same activity.

Ana Maria Cerda (@anamariacerda) comments on Twitter about the meaning of judging a crime and then giving asylum for the same reason:

El CD (Partido Gobernante)saca a la Procuradora del país por pinchazos y le da Asilo a la Verdadera Pinchona de Colombia! Bárbaro este CrazyTeam

The CD (the governing party) removes the DA for wiretapping and gives asylum to the Real Wiretapper from Colombia—this crazy team has no shame

Wiews Ubags (@wiesubags) from Colombia takes the news in stride and makes a brief metaphor of the colloquial terms used to refer to the phone taps:

Lol, en #Panama #chuzadas se llaman pinchazos. Me gusta la palabra, como un pellizco. Pero chuzar es más fuerte, como una puñalada.

Lol, in #Panama #chuzadas [ “stabbing,” meaning wiretapping] is called “pinchazos” [pinching]. I like the word, it sounds like a pinch. But “chuzar” [to stab] is a stronger word, sounds like a stab.

There are also ironic comments which criticize how easily Panama concedes asylum. Norman (@joruman), for example, jokes in his Twitter account:

Si amas a alguien dile que pida asilo en Panamá.

If you love someone, tell them to request asylum from Panama.

Julian F Martinez (@JulianFMartinez) sees it as an insult to the victims that Panama gives asylum to the woman that persecuted them:

Panamá concede el asilo a una ex directora del servicio de inteligencia: “un insulto a las víctimas del DAS”: RSF

Panama concedes asylum to a former director of an intelligence service: “[it is] an insult to the victims of DAS”: RSF

Another tweet from Colombia regrets the role reversal, where the former director went from persecuting to persecuted, as Alejandro Cadavid (@acadavid123) tells us:

INCREIBLE AHORA HURTADO PASO DE SER PERSEGUIDORA A PERSEGUIDA…ESO SOLO OCURRE EN COLOMBIA…AHHHHH Y PANAMA

HARD TO BELIEVE, NOW HURTADO WENT FROM PERSECUTING TO PERSECUTED, THIS ONLY HAPPENS IN COLOMBIA, OH AND PANAMA.

A tweet from Honduras en Lucha (@hondurasenlucha) shows the indignation of several Central American countries, since Panama has become a frequent place of asylum for all kinds of people:

#Panama se ha convertido en una guarida de delincuentes, dictadores, alimañas, mafias, etc. Martinelli das ASCO!

#Panama has become refuge for criminals, dictators, mafias, ex-cons, etc., [President] Martinelli you are DISGUSTING!

Also, the Spanish journalist in Panama, Paco Gómez Nadal, comments in his blog El malcontento [es] how Panama has become a retirement paradise for so many people with pending charges in their countries of origin.

Somos el basurero del mundo del que puede salir reciclado Posada Carriles o dónde lavadores de plata, narcotraficantes o fantoches disfrazados de constructores pueden asistir a cocteles de la alta sociedad, comer en restaurantes de lujo y no preocuparse por su estatus migratorio o su situación fiscal. De eso solo se tiene que preocupar inmigrantes pobres, periodistas o críticos del Gobierno (que a eso sí no le tenemos afición).

We are the garbage dump of the world from which Posada Carriles can emerge recycled or from where money launderers, narco-traffickers, or fake contractors can attend high society gatherings, eat at expensive restaurants and not worry about their immigration status nor their fiscal situation. Only poor people, journalists or government critics have to worry about these things, (since we are not fans of these things).

The site El Espectador [es] tells us that President Martinelli believes it is an obligation to give asylum to any politican that asks for it.

El presidente de Panamá, Ricardo Martinelli, dijo que era la obigación de su país conceder el asilo político a la ex directora del DAS María del Pilar Hurtado, tal como lo ha hecho en otras ocasiones con políticos de la región como el presidente Hugo Chávez o el ex presidente ecuatoriano Abdalá Bucarám.

The president of Panamá, Ricardo Martinelli, said it was his country’s obligation to provide political asylum to the former director of DAS María del Pilar Hurtado, much as has been done in the past with politicians of the region as with President Hugo Chavez or the former Ecuadorian president Abdalá Bucarám.

It seems Panamanians are beginning to get tired of being the favorite hiding place for politicians sought by justice, as reflected in Noel David Ortega's tweet (@noelpty):

NO MAS asilo politico en Panama, hasta cuando con eso

NO MORE political asylum in Panama, how much longer will this last?

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