Above: New Panama President Juan Carlos Varela
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Juan Carlos Varela was officially sworn in as Panama’s new President on Tuesday.
Varela succeeds outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli, who had served in the post since 2009.
Varela quickly got to work, promising a series of new initiatives, from English-language education to the renovation of the city of Colon.
He pledged to be “the president of all Panamanians and to serve with love, passion and delivery for the next five years.”
He said the foreign policy of his administration would be one of “dialogue, convergence, tolerance and mediation, seeking the welfare of all people.”
Martinelli, his predecessor, had sought deeper ties within the Caribbean region; it’s not yet clear whether Varela will do the same, although he pledged to make Colon “the jewel of the Caribbean as it was in the past.”
Varela, of Panama’s Partido Panameñista, won Panama’s general elections in May, defeating major challengers Jose Domingo Arias and Juan Carlos Navarro.
He had previously served as Martinelli’s vice president.