Birthday: March 11, 1952
Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Pisces
Born in: Panama City
Famous as: Former President of Panama
political ideology: President of Panama - July 1, 2009 – July 1, 2014, Political party - Democratic Change
Spouse/Ex-: Marta Linares de Martinelli
children: Carolina Martinelli Linares, Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, Ricardo Martinelli Linares
City: Panama City, Panama
education: University of Arkansas, INCAE Business School, Staunton Military Academy
Who is Ricardo Martinelli?
Ricardo Martinelli is a Panamanian politician who served as the 49th President of the country. His conservative style is said to have been derived from his business background. He is the president and director of the board of Super99, a supermarket chain. As president of Panama, he cemented relations with the United States, which were already strong due to the country's strategic location (surrounding the Panama Canal physically). The Canal was under US control until its handover to Panama, which began in the last quarter of the twentieth century and concluded just before the twenty-first, with the Panama Canal Authority management completely in Panamanian hands. He leads the party currently, which is a powerful position as it is one of Panama's two largest parties. Martinelli came under fire during his presidency for allegedly using authoritarian tactics and corruption, yet his influence on reform measures provided tax laws which greatly simplified filing and collection and alleviation of poverty by subsidizing student expenses as well as raising the minimum wage
Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal was born on March 11, 1952 in Panama City to Ricardo Martinelli Pardini and Gloria Berrocal Fabrega. His parents were of Italian and Spanish descent.
He finished his secondary education at Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia.
He graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Arkansas. To further his education, he studied at Nicaragua's campus of the INCAE Business School.
He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the INCAE Business School in 1977. INCAE Business School is ranked as a top global MBA program and sometimes referred to as "Harvard South."
He became an account executive at Citibank, and in 1981 was offered the position of managing stores which later became Super99. He upgraded its inventory to include groceries, promoting it as the leading supermarket chain in Panama.
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He served as Director of Social Security in Panama 1994-96, and as chairman of the board of directors of the Panama Canal and as Minister for Canal Affairs 1999-2003.
In 1998, the Democratic Change Party was founded and he was its presidential candidate for 2004, in which he received 5.3 per cent of the vote.
In 2009, he again contested for the post of president, promising to cut political corruption, reduce violent crime, and reform taxation. He was supported by the business community of the country.
His prime opponent in 2009 was the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party candidate, Balbina Herrera. She received severe setback in her campaign due to her links to former military ruler Manual Noriega, which helped Martinelli and he won with over 60 per cent of the votes.
In the year 2009, the US Ambassador to Panama complained to the U. S. government that Martinelli had asked her for wiretaps on his political opponents. She also complained of his "bullying style" and "autocratic tendencies".
He also was accused of tampering with Panama's Supreme Court.
In 2010, he initiated measures to alleviate poverty. These included a $100 per month pension for the elderly, an increase in minimum wages, and programs to help students' education costs.
In 2010, Panama's sovereign debt rating was upgraded, revising its status to 'investment grade.' This move was described as a victory for Martinelli's conservative government.
The year 2011 saw the extradition of former military ruler Manuel Noriega from France to Panama. Many felt that by doing so Martinelli desired to turn public attention from his administration's scandals. His popularity plunged with claims that he had taken bribes from the Italian Prime Minister's aide Valter Lavitola.
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In 2012, he finalized the Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement which had awaited implementation for years. This agreement favored elimination of trade barriers and promoted private investment between both nations.
From 2010 to 2014, he oversaw the Panama Canal's expansion program to make it accommodate supertankers and the largest container ships. The country receives slightly under one-third of its tax revenues from the canal.
After Martinelli's tenure came to an end in 2014, Panama's Supreme Court ordered to investigate him over corruption. He is believed to have inflated multi-million dollar contracts, taken kickbacks, and upped food prices; he denies these allegations while accusing his successor, Juan Carlos Varela, of a political vendetta.
From his management of Super 99 stores in 1981, he brought new departments -vehicles, machinery, and groceries. His company sponsors charities and has contributed to the social and economic development of Panama.
The Panama Canal needed upgrading to twenty-first century standards, after its opening on August 15, 1914 and Martinelli pressed for the Canal's modernization, which remains a monument to American achievement.
Awards & Achievements
In 2010, the University of Arkansas established a scholarship in his name to provide financial aid to prospective University of Arkansas students from Panama. He was presented with the Citation of Distinguished Alumnus award, becoming official ambassador of the State of Arkansas.
In 2013, he received an acknowledgement by the 38th session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome for helping to reduce the child malnutrition in Panama. Thirty-seven other countries received this award at that time.
Personal Life & Legacy
Martinelli married Marta Linares in 1978, and they have three children, Ricardo, Luis, and Carolina.
Martinelli became wealthy by building Super 99 into Panama’s biggest chain of supermarkets.
His chief political rival, Juan Carlos Varela, is a member of a wealthy family that distills liquor often sold from the shelves of Super 99 stores