Thurs, September 8, 2016
Today, the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, came to Puerto Armuelles.
He was here to inaugurate a new hospital (Hospital Dionisio Arrocha).
He also had other news for Puerto Armuelles:
- Extension of Puerto’s new highway out to Limones.
- Del Monte’s imminent arrival
A crowd of Portenos had assembled to hear him speak.
About the New Hospital
Puerto Armuelles will have an all new hospital. The new facility will include:
- 130 beds
- Internal medicine
- Outpatient Dental
- X-ray and laboratory
- Administrative offices
- Parking lots
It will happen in 3 phases.
But while the new hospital project is a positive backdrop for President Varela’s visit, the crowd gathered were more interested in knowing:
“What are you going to do to boost our local economy here in Puerto Armuelles?”
Residents of Puerto Armuelles are somewhat skeptical of the promises of President Varela, as they were of previous presidents. After Chiquita Banana left Puerto Armuelles, now about 15 years ago, presidential administrations have all promised projects to bring economic vitality to Puerto Armuelles.
Current Economic Vitality Projects
Today, President Varela explained that he is fulfilling his promises to Puerto Armuelles residents.
Del Monte’s Coming – Early 2017
First of all, the current negotiations with Del Monte to take over the Chiquita Banana plantations are almost complete. (These negotiations have been in process for over a year.) The President has signed the final executive approval for Del Monte to begin work. All that remains is the final approval by the legislature. (Find out more about the Del Monte banana deal here).
President Varela anticipates that the deal will be passed by the legislature in the near future. He predicts that Del Monte will start operations in early 2017.
The Panama government has negotiated with a few other banana companies (including Chiquita) since Chiquita left Puerto. But none, have gotten as far into the process as Del Monte.
Del Monte will employ up to 3,000 workers in Puerto Armuelles.
I’m sure Del Monte taking over the banana plantations will contribute to the current upswing in prosperity in Puerto Armuelles. The renaissance of the “Green Gold” can only be good for Puerto. (Green Gold was the a name used for bananas during Chiquita’s reign of Puerto Armuelles.)
New 4-Lane Highway – Expanded
In addition to President Varela’s announcement about the imminent arrival of Del Monte, the president also touched on the continued investment in the new, 4 lane highway into Puerto Armuelles.
Road out to Limones
Varela stated that he had approved the funds to continue this new highway all the way out to the fishing community of Limones. Limones is 12 kilometers past Puerto Armuelles, on the Punta Burica Peninsula.
Over the last decade, the road to Limones has been upgraded several times. But the work has always fallen short of a long lasting and paved road. All past work on the road, has been partial at best and it has always fallen into disrepair very quickly.
This time, President Varela said, the work is going to be done right.
Puerto’s Future Looks Bright
The President stated that, with these and other positive investments, the Puerto Armuelles community will continue to reap the benefits of the higher quality of life so much of Panama is enjoying.