Martinelli Tours Changuinola – Site of Violent Protests

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Martinelli Tours Changuinola – Site of Violent Protests

Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 04:37 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 36
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli began his tour of Changuinola in the province of Bocas del Toro with “Finca 66” – where he met with some leaders of the Cambio Democratico political party. During the meeting they talked about what happened last week in clashes between police and strikers. He reiterated his apologies, as he listened to their requests to repeal Law 30. During the tour, Martinelli took the opportunity to provide scholarships to the children of the union leaders who were killed in the clashes. It is expected that during the afternoon, the President will make a major announcement regarding the future of the employment status of banana plantation workers. The atmosphere in Changuinola has been quiet, even though some had said there would be protests, before the preparations for the funeral which will be held tomorrow. (TVN Noticias)
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Immigration “Melting Pot” Event Extended Until Wednesday

Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 04:26 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 37
Due to the large turnout of illegal aliens who have attended the first two days of the extraordinary fair to help people normalize their immigration status, the National Immigration Service has decided to extend the event through Wednesday, July 21. This event, dubbed the “Melting Pot of Races”, being held at the ATLAPA Convention Center, began on Friday and was originally scheduled to end on Sunday afternoon. Immigration officials are attending cases from 7:00 am until 12:00 midnight. During this event, only those foreigners living in the metropolitan area of Panama City and San Miguelito, who have more than two years of continuous residence in Panama, can apply. Those who meet the above requirements must pay;
People from countries with a mutual visa exemption with Panama: Fines up to $500 maximum, Affiliation fee $5.00, Card fee $10.00.
People from countries that do not have a mutual visa exemption agreement with Panama: Fines up to $1,000 maximum, Affiliation fee $5.00, Card fee $15.00.
Restricted Nationalities: Fines up to $2,500 maximum, Affiliation fee $5.00, Card fee $50.00.
(Telemetro)
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20,000 foreigners to legalize their stay in Panama

Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 04:20 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 67
About 20,000 undocumented foreigners living in Panama will be granted legal right to stay, an official of National Service of Migration (SNM) said on Thursday. Launched by Panamanian President Ricardo Martinellithe, the migratory policy “Panama Race Melting-pot” is aimed to benefit foreigners who have been living here for two years. SNM Director Maria Cristina Gonzalez said a publicity campaign has been launched to help foreigners learn about the necessary procedures and sufficient staff assigned to meet the demand. Citizens have to pay a fee of $765 for those from countries that allow mutual visa exemption for Panama and $1,275 for those from other countries, she added. (China Daily)
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Protesters in Bocas del Toro Refuse To Meet With Martinelli

Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 04:05 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 45
“It’s not the right time.” That is the general perception among banana union workers and indigenous leaders about the visit Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli is making today to Changuinola, in the province of Bocas del Toro. The “Bocatorenos” are still feeing the pain and anger over those who were killed and injured during two weeks of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. “We have to respect those who were killed. We mourn. We are not available to meet with the government now, it’s not the right time,” said Samuel Quintero, a union leader. Meanwhile, the unions and indigenous leaders confirmed that today there will be a vigil for the deceased and a funeral on Sunday. Yesterday, ministers of state had paved the way for the President to tour medical and social care facilities in that community. (La Estrella)
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Fines And Fees – An Obstacle To Overcome For Foreigners At The ATLAPA “Melting Pot” Immigration Fair

Saturday, July 17 2010 @ 12:47 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 73
Hundreds of illegal immigrants in Panama who went to the ATLAPA Convention Center yesterday to participate in the “Melting Pot” program in an attempt to normalize their immigration status in the country expressed their concerns over not being able to pay the fees and fines established by the National Immigration Service. These people, of various nationalities, came hoping to get the card that identifies them as being legal in Panama, but for many their dreams were cut short, because Immigration has not established any way for them to make payment arrangements to be able to pay the accumulated fines and fees over time. Testimonials. Mariela Pardo, a Colombian national, came early to stand in line in order to be one of the first people legalized. Despite fulfilling the requirements, she did bring all of the money with her, so she had to wait to see if her husband could find a way to get a loan. Mariela and several other foreigners found themselves with this same dilemma. The lack of money would be an obstacle on the road.
For her part, María Cristina González, the Director of the National Immigration Service, said the amount they are charging is much less than what the applicants would have had to pay on the normal fee schedule. She said the amount being charged already contains a discount, and therefore they cannot establish a payment arrangement. She said members of her staff are performing socioeconomic assessments to determine which of the low-income foreigners they can help.

The thousands of immigrants who came to ATLAPA did not seem to mind putting up with the discomfort of sleeping on the floor, the cold night, or the lack of bathrooms, but they wanted to be at the front of the line and the first ones to obtain the identity card. This program to normalize the immigration status is for all foreigners who have been in Panama for more than two years, who have no pending cases with either the Panamanian justice system or that of their home country. In addition, Immigration is working in conjunction with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Department of Security of Colombia, to ensure that those people who are being legalized in Panama do not represent a danger to the country. (Panama America)

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