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Panama

Yearbook 2016

Panama. According to countryaah, Panama's already disgraceful reputation as a tax haven deteriorated significantly when millions of documents were leaked to a German daily through a joint effort by burgeoning journalists around the world on April 3. The "Panama Papers" constituted the world's largest leak of secret documents to date, revealing how powerhouses and criminals in more than 200 countries hid several billion dollars through mailbox companies organized by the law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama City.

2016 Panama

The documents also contained compromising information on a number of leading Latin American politicians, including Argentina's President Maurício Macri. To Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela, the deal was, to say the least, embarrassing as he promised increased transparency in the country's financial sector. Internationally, however, Varela's promises have been viewed with skepticism, including from the OECD and the EU, on whose black list of Panama's tax havens existed since June 2015. In August, the renowned economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz resigned as a member of the commission appointed by Varela to review how the country's legal and financial services are managed.

The controversial Barro Blanco project, a hydropower plant in an area of ​​self-government for indigenous peoples, continued during the year. After major protests as early as 2012, the project was frozen, but in May a government authority declared that the dam would begin to be filled with water, which will lead to the land of the Bugle people, with several holy sites, being flooded. Authorities claimed that local village communities were informed, but it was denied by grassroots organizations that immediately organized protest actions.

Another major infrastructure project that came to an end during the year was the expansion of the Panama Canal. On June 26, the first vessel under a large ceremony passed the new stretch of canals. The redevelopment, which began in 2007, has cost a total of $ 5.3 billion.

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