Panamanian President Lorenzo Cortizo. Photo: Beers&Politics


After Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) accused Panamanian Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes of acting line the “Spanish Inquisition” for denying approval of disgraced historian Pedro Salmerón as his ambassador to that country on Tuesday, Feb. 2, and saying that the Central American nation’s president was no doubt not even aware of her ruling, Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo called on AMLO to be more respectful of his country and his officials.

“The foreign minister of Panama is a true professional and she has my full support and respect,” Cortizo said, regarding her rejection of Salmerón, who has been accused of sexual abuse by numerous women, not only by women at the two universities where he taught, but also by members of his own political party.

Cortizo went on to say that “the decisions of the president of Mexico are the decisions of the president of Mexico, but the decisions of Panama are our decisions.”

“We decide whether or not to accept an ambassador, just as Mexico decided whether to accept ours, who happens to be a very good ambassador,” he said.

Cortizo also said for his part that Panama is “respectful, not only of Mexico, of all countries, and we demand respect for Panama.”

“Respect is earned, and that is what we demand, both from the president of Mexico and from any other country,” he said.

“We are respectful, and we expect the same from any other country.”

On Friday, after receiving a letter from Salmerón withdrawing from the appointment, AMLO instead proposed Jesusa Rodríguez, a senator from his ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, known for her feminist, indigenous and pro-marijuana positions. Rodríguez has no formal diplomatic experience or training.

In Panama, videos have already begun to circulate showing Rodríguez in aggressive confrontations with her peers, which has led to conflicting opinions about her appointment as Salmerón’s replacement.

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