Panama Paying Washington Lobbyist $30,000 Per Month

Panama Paying Washington Lobbyist $30,000 Per Month

Thursday, October 28 2010 @ 09:23 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 36
Although Panama’s president Ricardo Martinelli appeared in two unflattering articles published in the past five days by major media outlets in the United States – Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal – the government of Panama continues to pay $30,000 dollars per month to American public relations specialist Terry Holt of the company HDMK, for his advice on relations with the US news media in order to obtain a good international image for the country. Last March, the Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu, told this newspaper (La Prensa) that through this contract the government would be spending $15,000 per month. However, documents released by Holt to the US government indicate the contract between his company and the government of Panama is double that – for $30,000 per month.
Yesterday, after Time magazine hinted Martinelli is played the role of a “strong man” – a term applied to the former military dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, and The Wall Street Journal called Martinelli an “autocrat” – Martinelli said sarcastically he is “happy and content to have been mentioned internationally.” Martinelli president played down the publications, saying news writers “have never spoken well of me.” (La Prensa)

Editor’s Comment: The contract with HDMK is more about lobbying congress to improve Panama’s image to secure the passage of the bilateral free trade agreement between the United States and Panama. It’s unfair to link the articles appearing in the Time and The Wall Street Journal to this lobbying contract – because the two really don’t have anything to do with one another. Now, if there was some guy who was supposed to be holding Martinelli’s hand with regards to talking to the press, personal image, and that kind of thing then it would be relevant. In reality the Time and Wall Street Journal articles have much more to do with the upcoming US elections – because Martinelli appeared on Fox News and his management of Panama and the economic success of the country was held up as a positive example which could and should be followed in the United States. In response, the left wing mainstream media attacked him – which is what they always do.

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