Ricardo Martinelli is a politician from Panama who served as the country’s 49th President. His business background is said to have influenced his conservative outlook. He is the president and board director of the Super99 retail chain. He strengthened connections with the United States as President of Panama, which were already strong due to the country’s strategic location (surrounding the Panama Canal physically). The Canal was under US control until it was handed over to Panama in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, with the Panama Canal Authority’s management wholly in Panamanian hands. He presently leads the party, which is a powerful position given that it is one of Panama’s two main political parties. During his presidency, Martinelli was criticized for allegedly using authoritarian tactics and corruption, but his influence on reform measures resulted in tax laws that greatly simplified filing and collection, as well as poverty alleviation by subsidizing student expenses and raising the minimum wage.
An Early Years of Ricardo Martinelli
Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal was born to Ricardo Martinelli Pardini and Gloria Berrocal Fabrega in Panama City on March 11, 1952. His parents hailed from Italy and Spain, respectively.
Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia, was where he completed his secondary education.
He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Arkansas in 1973. He attended the INCAE Business School in Nicaragua to improve his education.
In 1977, he received a Master of Business Administration from the INCAE Business School. INCAE Business School is a top-ranked global MBA program that is also known as “Harvard South.”
He worked as an accounting professional at Citibank before being given the post of shop manager for Super99 in 1981. He expanded the store’s inventory to include groceries, establishing it as Panama’s top supermarket chain.
Ricardo Martinelli’s Career
He was Director of Social Security in Panama from 1994 to 1996, as well as Chairman of the Panama Canal Board of Directors and Minister of Canal Affairs from 1999 to 2003.
The Democratic Change Party was created in 1998, and he was the party’s presidential candidate in 2004, receiving 5.3 percent of the vote.
He ran for president again in 2009, vowing to eradicate political corruption, reduce violent crime, and restructure taxation. He had the support of the country’s corporate community.
Balbina Herrera, the candidate of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party, was his main opponent in 2009. Her candidacy was severely hampered by her ties to previous military dictator Manuel Noriega, which aided Martinelli, who won with nearly 60% of the vote.
Martinelli had asked for wiretaps on his political opponents, the US Ambassador to Panama reported to the US government in 2009. She also expressed her displeasure with his “bullying attitude” and “autocratic tendencies.”
He was also accused of interfering with the Supreme Court of Panama.
He began taking steps to eliminate poverty in 2010. A $100-per-month pension for the elderly, a hike in minimum wages, and programs to assist students with their educational costs were among them.
Panama’s sovereign debt rating was improved in 2010, elevating the country’s position to ‘investment grade.’ Martinelli’s conservative government was praised for this decision.
Former military ruler Manuel Noriega was extradited from France to Panama in 2011. Many believed Martinelli was attempting to divert public attention away from his administration’s troubles. With allegations that he had taken bribes from Italian Prime Minister’s advisor Valter Lavitola, his popularity plummeted.
He completed the Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement in 2012, which had been in the works for years. This agreement emphasized the removal of trade obstacles and encouraged bilateral private investment.
He directed the expansion of the Panama Canal from 2010 to 2014 in order to handle supertankers and the largest container ships. The canal provides little less than one-third of the country’s tax revenue.
Martinelli’s term ended in 2014, and the Panamanian Supreme Court ordered that he be investigated for corruption. He is accused of inflating multi-million dollar contracts, taking kickbacks, and rising food prices; he denies these charges and accuses his successor, Juan Carlos Varela, of political vengeance.
Major Projects of Ricardo Martinelli
He launched new departments in Super 99 stores in 1981, including autos, machines, and groceries. His company supports charities and has aided Panama’s social and economic development.
After its opening on August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal needed to be upgraded to 21st-century standards, and Martinelli pushed for its refurbishment, which is still a symbol of American triumph.
Achievements and Awards of Ricardo Martinelli
In 2010, the University of Arkansas established a scholarship in his honor to help incoming University of Arkansas students from Panama. He received the Citation of Distinguished Alumnus award, making him an official ambassador for Arkansas.
In 2013, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s 38th session in Rome recognized him for his contributions to reducing child malnutrition in Panama. At the time, this medal was given to 37 other countries.
Personal History and Legacy of Ricardo Martinelli
In 1978, Martinelli married Marta Linares, and the couple had three children: Ricardo, Luis, and Carolina.
Martinelli made his fortune by turning Super 99 into Panama’s largest retail chain.
Juan Carlos Varela, his main political opponent, is a member of a wealthy family that produces booze that is frequently sold off the shelves of Super 99 stores.
Estimated Net worth
Martinelli began his work in Panama as a loan officer for Citibank. After several years in banking, he bought a client’s business and went on to become an entrepreneur, purchasing or starting new enterprises. According to press reports, his net worth is estimated to be $2 billion or more.