· RICARDO MARTINELLI BERROCAL BIOGRAPHY
Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal (Panama, Panama – March 11, 1952) known as Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, is a politician, businessman and president of Panama from 2009 to 2014. Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal was a presidential candidate for his political party Cambio Democrático in the elections of 2004, reaching 5.03% of the votes. He ran again as presidential candidate in the general elections of May 2009, in which he successfully won with 60.3% of the votes, then initiating the government of Ricardo Martinelli.
Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal Biography
Son of Ricardo Martinelli, of Italian descent and Gloria Berrocal of Spanish descent. He finished his primary studies in La Salle School where he got the degree of Commercial Expert. He obtained his bachelor’s degree at Stauton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia in the United States and then earned a master’s degree in Administration at INCAE Business School. His family consists of his wife Marta Linares de Martinelli and his three children Ricardo Martinelli Linares, Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares and Carolina Martinelli Linares.
He started his business and progressively consolidated his company Super 99, one of the largest supermarket chains in the country. He is also president of Importadora Ricamar SA, and partner, investor, member of the board of directors or shareholder of several companies in Panama, such as Diario por la Democracia SA, Azucarera La Victoria, the ERA company and Plastigol S.A. Director of companies such as Gold Mills of Panama, Global Bank, Panasal S.A., Panama National Television, Direct TV, Desarrollo Norte S.A., Molino de Oro, AVIPAC and Calox Panama, among others.
He officially served to the State as Director of the Social Security Fund of Panama during the Administration of President Ernesto Pérez Balladares, where he managed to implement a modernization plan for the institution, extending the hours of external consultation and urgencies, in order to meet the uprising demand for medical care in the different Polyclinics.
He established the Intensive Surgery program, which allowed bringing up to date a large number of pending surgical procedures. During his administration, he updated the multiple applications for economic benefits. On January 17, 1996, both CSS medical guilds led by the Association of Physicians, Odontologists and Allies of the CSS (AMOACSS), declared a strike requesting labor and salary demands from medical associations. It was also supported by the medical specialists of the Hospital del Niño and the Ministry of Health inmates. During this incident, 2500 physicians paralyzed the health services nationwide provided by CSS under the Martinelli administration. Through the direct intervention of the President of the Republic, Perez Balladares, the guilds ended the strike after 8 days when 18 of the 26 points in their list of demands were given as “good”. Later in July of the same year, Martinelli resigns CSS, under alleged pressure from Pérez Balladares. [Questionable source]
In 1998, Martinelli founds the Democratic Change Party and would take part in the alliance Unión por Panamá along with Panameñista and Molirena parties. The alliance won the 1999 general elections with Mireya Moscoso. During the Moscoso administration, he was Minister of the Panama Canal and President of the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority, where he encouraged the expansion of the Canal, a project currently under way and gained public recognition by the International Maritime Organization for its respectable work representing this entity of Panama state.