Panama: Catholic Charity Defies President’s Order to Shut Down Shelters for Cubans

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Apr 7, 2017, 2:35 pm
Panama's president has recently taken a tough line on Cuban refugees passing through the country (
Panama’s president has recently taken a tough line on Cuban refugees passing through the country (Cubanos por el Mundo).


Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela gave an ultimatum to end the humanitarian accommodation of hundreds of Cuban refugees who remain in that country. Varela gave the Caritas Social Pastoral Ministry a one-month deadline to cease the care for Cubans at that time. However, the executive secretary of the shelter for Cubans stated that he would defend the Cubans who are under his care.

The Panamanian president said that the Caritas shelter in Panama City “has been given 30 days to operate.” He claims that the government cannot continue to “encourage such irregular migration by opening such shelters.”

Varela said that the island’s migrants “have to define their future” because “they do not have a way of applying for [migratory] status in Panama.”

“My recommendation has been for them to return to the country where they came from or to be deported to Cuba,” he said.

On its behalf, the Caritas Social Pastoral Ministry of Panama assured that it will continue to serve Cuban migrants in the capital based on humanitarian principles, despite Varela, has set a one month deadline.


Caritas’s executive secretary, Victor Berrio, said that Varela’s position is “totally opposite” to those he expressed in previous months, when he called for “humane treatment for migrants, to show solidarity”, as he said in the Tuxtla Mesoamerican Summit in Costa Rica.

The priest also said that “as in other countries,” the law allows people to be accommodated on the basis of international agreements for humanitarian reasons, and they could even be given asylum.

He assured that he will defend the Cubans “who for me are the poorest of the poor because they have no rights of any kind, they are humiliated and mistreated.”

Cuban refugees often seek to reach mainland South or Central American, with the intention of following a northward route towards the United States, where they formerly benefited from favorable migration status.

Barack Obama ended American “wet foot, dry foot policy” at the end of his presidential term; a move which was heavily criticized by the US’s large Cuban community.

Source: Cubanet

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Venezuelan Assemblymen Accuse Public Defender of Complicity in Coup

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Apr 7, 2017, 1:48 pm
Venezuela Public Defender

Español This morning the Venezuelan Public Defender's office was shut down symbolically by the opposition assemblymen who protested at Tarek William Saab's office this morning. This Friday, April 7th, a group of members of the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) arrived at the Ombudsman's Office and covered the office's front with red tape all over. Read More: Uruguayan Minister Rejects Venezuelan Regime's Accusations, Calls it "Profoundly Authoritarian" Read More: Venezuelan Foreign Minister Lost Her Temper at the OAS Permanent Council The protest took place after William Saab announced on Thursday night that the Republican Moral Council will not declare serious misdemeanors committed by Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) who perpetrated a coup in Venezuela by usurping the functions of the National Assembly. "This place defends no one. They have become accomplices of a coup, so today we came as united parliamentarians first thing in the morning," said assemblyman Miguel Pizarro. "This Ombudsman's Office is of no use to Venezuela. We are telling Tarek William Saab that he must take action and proceed with the magistrate's removal," said assemblyman Jorge Millan. Other legislators on the site included Marialbert Barrios, Jose Manuel Olivares, Juan Andres Mejia, Stalin Gonzalez, Tamara Adrian and Rafael Guzman. Despite the opposition majority in the National Assembly, the TSJ has still failed to acknowledge the body, and has taken over functions of the legislative powers. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   On Thursday, thousands of Venezuelans marched to demand that the Ombudsman's Office and the Republican Moral Council demand the magistrates' dismissal. However, public defender Tarek William Saab rejected the request. Over the phone with state-run channel VTV, Public Defender William Saab ignored the request made by the thousands of protesters who faced a state security barrage of rubber pellets, tear gas, and armored trucks. The Republican Moral Council met and decided to not deem the judges' offenses to be serious. "At the meeting, it was agreed to declare the opposition's request inadmissible because it is considered out of order to pronounce on the recent TSJ judgments ... The Republican Moral Council rejects the request to find the magistrates at fault." In the wake of this decision, the opposition and the National Assembly lost their opportunity to dismiss the Supreme Court of Justice judges. The only option left is criminal law, whereby the Public Ministry would have to respond to the lawsuit filed by the assemblymen, and decide to indict the magistrates. Source: El Nacional

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