Juan Carlos Varela

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Juan Carlos Varela
Juan Carlos Varela (2014).jpg
37th President of Panama
Assumed office
1 July 2014
Vice President Isabel Saint Malo
Preceded by Ricardo Martinelli
Vice-President of Panama
In office
1 July 2009 – 1 July 2014
President Ricardo Martinelli
Preceded by Samuel Lewis Navarro
Succeeded by Isabel Saint Malo
Minister of Foreign Relations
In office
1 July 2009 – 30 August 2012
President Ricardo Martinelli
Preceded by Samuel Lewis Navarro
Succeeded by Roberto Henriquez
Personal details
Born Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez
(1963-12-12) 12 December 1963 (age 54)
Panama City, Panama
Political party Panameñista Party
Spouse(s) Lorena Castillo García (m. 1992–Present),
now styled Honorable Señora Lorena Castillo de Varela
Children Gian
Alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology

Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez (Spanish pronunciation: [xwan ˈkaɾlos baˈɾela roˈðɾiɣes]; born 13 December 1963) is a Panamanian politician and the President of Panama since 2014. Varela was Vice-President of Panama from 2009 to 2014, and Minister of Foreign Relations from July 2009 to August 2011. He was President of the Panameñistas, the third-largest political party in Panama, from 2006 to 2016.

Varela won the 2014 presidential election with over 39% of the votes, against the Cambio Democrático Party, led by his former political partner Ricardo Martinelli, whose candidate was José Domingo Arias.[1] He was sworn in as President on 1 July 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Panama City, Juan Carlos Varela is a businessman and entrepreneur, whose family hails from Herrera Province. His paternal grandfather José Varela Blanco emigrated from Bergondo, Galicia in Spain and settled in the district of Pesé, Herrera in Panama.[2] After graduating from Colegio Javier, he attended the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering in 1985.[3]


In the private sector, Varela has been on the board of his family company since 1985, serving as Executive Vice-President of Varela Hermanos S.A. until 2008.[4]

Varela entered politics in the early 1990s, becoming chief of the Panameñista Party campaign in 1994 and was the Panameñista Party's presidential candidate during the 2009 election; Varela joined forces with his rival, Ricardo Martinelli, as vice-presidential candidate, being sworn in on July 1, 2009 as Vice-President of Panama under President Martinelli.[5] Varela won the 2014 presidential election, winning against the ruling-party candidate José Domingo Arias, who was supported by Cambio Democrático, a party led by outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli. Varela won about 39% of the vote against 32% for Arias.[6] The subject announced he would seek to change the legislative body through constitutional changes. [7]

Personal life[edit]

Styles of
Juan Carlos Varela
Presidente de la República de Panamá
Coat of arms of Panama.svg
Reference style Excelentísimo Señor Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez
Spoken style Mr President
Alternative style Señor Varela or Sir
Cross pro merito Melitensi

He is the son of José Varela and Beixie née Rodríguez. Varela married Panamanian journalist Lorena Castillo in 1992.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Panama's New President: A Boost for Business". Time. May 5, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ President of Panama visits Galicia 2016
  3. ^ "Launching of the Center". Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation and Research Center. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  4. ^ www.varelahermanos.com
  5. ^ "Transmision de Mando Presidencial (Spanish)". 
  6. ^ Randal C. Archibold, "Incumbent’s Party Loses Presidency in Panama", New York Times, 4 May 2014
  7. ^ Reuters Staff. (5 May 2018). "Panama to hold presidential election in May 2019". Reuters website Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  8. ^ "First Lady of Panama Lorena Castillo de Varela". Embassy of Panama in Manila, Philippines. Retrieved 2016-06-14. 

External sources[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Marco Ameglio
President of the Panameñista Party
Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Lewis Navarro
Minister of Foreign Relations
Succeeded by
Roberto Henríquez
Vice-President of Panama
Succeeded by
Isabel Saint Malo
Preceded by
Ricardo Martinelli
President of Panama