Ernesto Pérez Balladares
|Ernesto Pérez Balladares González-Revilla|
|President of Panama|
September 1, 1994 – September 1, 1999
|Vice President||Tomas Altamirano Duque|
|Preceded by||Guillermo Endara|
|Succeeded by||Mireya Moscoso|
June 29, 1946 (aged 70)|
Panama City, Panama
|Political party||Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)|
|Alma mater||University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
Son of the renown doctor Ernesto Pérez Balladares and of María Enriqueta González Revilla Delgado. His education began in the province of Chiriquí in David where he attended school at San Vicente de Paúl. Upon his graduation, Pérez Balladares would then attend the prestigious institute of the University of Notre Dame the United States where he would receive a bachelor's degree in Finance. Soon after, Pérez Balladares continued his studies and received a master's degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Upon his arrival back to Panamá, his experience and expertise would soon allow him to become the Director of City Bank for Panama and Central America from 1971 to 1975.
Pérez Balladares received master's degrees in Economics the US at the University of Notre Dame and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. From 1971 to 1975, he was the director of City Bank for Panama and Central America. He is married to Dora Boyd de Pérez Balladares.
In 1976 Perez Balladares was appointed by General Omar Torrijos to be Panama's Minister of Estate and Treasury. Soon after in March, 1979 Perez Balladares would become a co-founder of the Revolutionary Democratic Party also known as the PRD. He would then become the General Secretary in 1982.
After distancing himself due to disputes with General Manuel Noriega, Perez Balladares returned to the PRD party in 1991 where he once again regained the position of General Secretary in order to form part of the PRD National Executive Committee.
In the Presidential election of May 8, 1994 representing the PRD party, Perez Balladares won the presidencial race with the 33.3% of the votes, ousting opponents: Mireya Moscoso of the Partido Panameñista 29.4%, Ruben Blades of the Partido Papa Egoró 17.1%, Ruben Dario Carles of the MOLIRENA party 16.1%, Eduardo Vallarino of the Partido Demócrata Cristiano 2.4%, Samuel Lewis Galindo of the Partido Solidaridad 1.7% and Jose Salvador Muñoz of the Partido Panameñista Doctrinario with 0.3%.
Perez Balladares would succeed the late Guillermo Endara Galimani.
Pérez Balladares's government was characterized by pro-free market policies which helped modernize the country and in 1997 Panama entered the World Trade Organization. During his time in office, Pérez Balladares modernized the country by corporatizing INTEL and turned both the elcetric and telephone companies into mixed enterprises by selling 49% to England's Cable & Wirless for 659 million dollars leaving 49% for the government and 2% for the employees. He also modernized the communications sector by bringing in the cell phone, internet and martime services which turned Panama into one of the most important multimodal centers in America.
In the same way, Pérez Balladares also corporatized the Institute of Hydraulic Resources and Electrification (IRHE) which provided a greater amount of income than when it was privatized under the hands of previous governments which operated under the notion of privatization, a guideline set forth by the World Bank in order to give loans to developing countries which in Panama was adopted by the government of Guillermo Endara under the Ford Plan. This plan set out to sell the entire entity of the companies: Cemento Bayano to Cemex, Cítricos de Chiriquí, El Matadero de Azuero, Proyecto de Palma Aceitera de Barú, the Hotel Washington of Colón and Hotel Taboga.
In addition, Pérez Balladares established the entry of new operators in the market to help end state monopoly in the electric sectors and others as well. He also created the Commission of Free Competition and Consumer Affairs also known as (CLICAC) in Panama which would later become known as the Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition Issues (ACODECO).
Pérez Balladares is also known for creating the Development Trust Fund also known as Fondo Fiduciario del Desarrollo (FFD), where the funds obtained from the sale of the 49% of state businesses and interoceanic region of the previous canal zone are deposited.
Moreover, Pérez Balladares created the Reverted Areas Authority of the Interoceanic Region, also known as (ARI) to administer the funds collected from the sales and tenders of the lands that were once part of the Canal Zone. In addition, this authority managed to consistently collect capital for the Panamanian Development Trust Fund, which would serve the future governments as a national trust fund to carry out their projects.
One of Pérez Balladares' most notable achievements was his ability to carry out and complete the North and South corridors, a highway system that would provide the citizens of Panama a quicker and easier way to travel throughout the country. He also expanded the Interamerican highway to four lanes, reducing a problematic traffic flow, created the highway to Colón and made the railway system operational.
By the same token, Pérez Balladares had the vision to take the Airport of Paitilla and move it to Albrook, with this e modernized it and allowed it to receive the status of an international airport, where it still stands today.
Pérez Balladares forged closer ties with the US, agreeing with President Bill Clinton to take in 10,000 Cuban boat people at US military bases that Endara had refused to accept, as well as providing exile to Haitian former military ruler Raoul Cédras as part of a negotiated settlement. Pérez Balladares also pledged to join the US anti-drug effort and pass new laws to prevent money laundering.
As of today, Pérez Balladares works on personal business matters while at the same staying in contact with the matters related to the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD).
Since 2015, Pérez Balladares has been actively becoming more involved in the political agenda and discussions of Panama as he seeks to become president of the Republic for a second time. Coupled with his path for president, Pérez Balladares continues with his strong support as his public appearances are followed with great enthusiasm by the public and elected officials from all over the country.
Apart from his aspiration to run for president, Pérez Balladares is also seeking to become the General Secretary of the PRD once again with the intention of solidifying the Revolutionary Democratic Party to bring forth a stronger and more unified party.
It has also been taken into account that Pérez Balladares, over the last 20 years has always kept his personal office open with the intention of staying in touch with public concerns and national topics. In fact, his office has become a meeting point for topics concerning the nation.
- Howard W. French (February 21, 1994). "Panama Journal; Democracy at Work, Under Shadow of Dictators". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- Eric Schmitt (July 21, 1994). "Washington Talk; A Panama Enemy Becomes an Ally". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- Douglas Farah (May 9, 1994). "Panamanians Vote in Peace, Picking Ex-Aide of Noriega; Millionaire Perez Balladares Bests Widow of Four-Time President". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- "Dora Boyd de Pérez Balladares acudirá este lunes nuevamente a la Fiscalía" (in Spanish). Estudio 1. December 24, 2010. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- Harding 2006, p. 127.
- Larry Rohter (February 9, 1995). "Some Familiar Faces Return to Power in Panama". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- Biography by CIDOB (in Spanish)
|President of Panama