Panama faces a new scandal with revelations of the workings of power during the switch of diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing in 2017, based on the content of an allegedly lost cell phone.
根據西班牙媒體，巴拿馬前總統胡安·卡洛斯·瓦雷拉（Juan Carlos Varela ）和前巴拿馬海事局局長豪爾赫·巴拉卡特（Jorge Barakat）秘密通話內容曝光，其中談及中國在台巴斷交後給予巴拿馬的金援。
According to Spanish-language media, the content implicates former president Juan Carlos Varela and Jorge Barakat, a former minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority during talks regarding an alleged payment or donation from China to Panama when diplomatic relations with Taiwan were broken.
從巴拿馬前總統胡安·卡洛斯·瓦雷拉與巴拿馬海事局局長豪爾赫·巴拉卡特 (Jorge Barakat) WhatsApp對話的擷取，揭露了中國提供數百萬美元付款的可能性。
An alleged conversation via WhatsApp, between the then-president Juan Carlos Varela and the administrator of the Maritime Authority of Panama (AM), Jorge Barakat, leaves open the possibility of a multi-million payment offered by the Asian giant.
The alleged sum was considered a donation to Panama as part of the beginning of diplomatic relations between the two countries, based on the chats between the two officials.
Jorge Barakat allegedly refers to money that China supposedly donated to Panama. At the same time, he warns the president to deal with the matter with care so that no negative comments arise from the matter given that Taiwan was a diplomatic ally for 20 years.
He suggested not to mention the US$143 million donation that could give the impression that this was the reward for breaking ties with Taiwan.
“You have handled everything very well and it is better to wait for the education project to start formally,” Jorge Barakat wrote to Varela in a conversation dating from Nov. 19, 2017. Barakat had no response from Varela.
巴拿馬決定於2017年6月13日終止與台灣的外交關係。當時巴拿馬致函台灣告知斷交一事，並由巴拿馬外交官伊莎貝爾·聖馬洛·德·阿爾瓦拉多 (Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado) 簽訂斷交協議。
Panama decided to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan on June 13, 2017. It did so through a letter and in the middle of a view of the Panamanian Foreign Minister to China, Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado.