Another Blow to Panama’s Image

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In today’s headlines here in Panama we received yet another blow to the image of our beloved Panama in our foreign relations.  The case revolves around the Embassy of Panama in Brazil.  We leave you, our respected readers, to formulate your own opinions about this grave matter.  We’ve translated the La Prensa article but, you may read the original in Spanish here.

Panama Condemned in Brazil.”  Panama’s Embassy in Brazil, headed by Gabriela García Carranza, was sentenced to pay 50 thousand reales, (28 thousand U.S. dollars) to an ex-employee of this diplomatic office in Brasilia, for moral damages as a result of unjustified dismissal.

This decision was handed down by Brasilia’s labor judge, Cyllene Santos Ferreira, and posted on the web site of the national trade union of workers in embassies, consulates and international organizations working for a foreign State in Brazil (

The subject is the case of a Brazilian citizen by the name of Deusdete Barbosa dos Santos, who worked as a gardener for the Embassy and in the past, according to El Siglo, accused García Carranza of discrimination, arguing that he was denied the right to use the bathroom at the Embassy, and he was called black in a derogatory manner. García Carranza then accused him and another group of workers of embezzling funds from the Embassy; this last case was taken to court.

Krisney Alvares de Sousa, Secretary-General of the Trade Union, told this newspaper yesterday, through a phone call, that the ruling was issued in mid-February and that Deusdete Barbosa remains fired from his job.

The 15 page judgment exonerates the Brazilian citizen of all blame and forces Panama to pay the employee the social benefits which he is entitled to, for damages for indirect breach of his work contract, under article 483 of  Brazil’s Labor Code. “Moral damage today is one of the most relevant topics in labor legislation, as well as the most exciting of all the legal branches after having gained traction with the inclusion in our Constitution,” says the ruling.

This newspaper called the Panamanian Embassy in Brasilia to obtain the views of the diplomat on the case, but they did not respond.  In The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Panama), they said that the director of Legal Affairs, Vladimir Franco, who can address this issue, is not in the country.

La Prensa 29 marzo 2012

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