Ricardo Martinelli bigraphy, stories - President of Panama

Ricardo Martinelli : biography

11 March 1952 -

Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal (born March 11, 1952) is a Panamanian businessman serving as 49th President of Panama since 2009.


On February 20, 2010, the University of Arkansas established the Ricardo A. Martinelli Berrocal Scholarship to provide financial aid to prospective University of Arkansas students from Panama. He was also presented with the Citation of Distinguished Alumnus award, and made an official ambassador of the State of Arkansas by Governor Mike Beebe.

Early life

Born in Panama City, Ricardo Martinelli is the son of Ricardo Martinelli Pardini and Gloria Berrocal Fabrega. () He completed his secondary education at Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia in the United States. In 1973, he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Arkansas. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the INCAE Business School in 1977, graduating from its campus in Nicaragua.

Business career

Martinelli is the President and Director of the board of Panama supermarket chain Super 99. and of two other companies; he sits on the boards of at least eight other companies.

Private life

In 1978, Martinelli married Marta Linares, with whom he has three children: Ricardo Martinelli Linares, Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares and Carolina Martinelli Linares.


During the presidency of Ernesto Pérez Balladares, Martinelli served as Director of Social Security from 1994 to 1996. From September 1999 to January 2003, during the presidency of Mireya Moscoso, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal and as the Minister for Canal Affairs.

Martinelli is the president of the Democratic Change party, which was founded in May 1998. He led the party and was the presidential candidate during the 2004 general election, when his party came last; Martinelli received 5.3% of the vote and came in fourth place in the election.

Martinelli was the leader of Democratic Change and presidential candidate in the 2009 general election. He made promises to cut political corruption and reduce violent crime and spent an estimated $35 million on promoting his campaign. By election day, Martinelli was the favourite to win the election, with opinion polls gaving him a double-digit lead over the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD)-People's Party coalition. He had the support of the Alliance for Change, a group of political parties which includes his own Democratic Change party, the Panameñista Party, the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement and the Patriotic Union Party.

His main opponent was PRD candidate Balbina Herrera. Though initially the favorite, she was damaged in the election by her links to former military ruler Manuel Noriega and by the perception that she was a "Chavista", a supporter of leftist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Martinelli was also helped by strong support from the business community.

On May 3, 2009, Martinelli won the national election by a landslide, with over 60% of the votes compared to Herrera, who received about 36%. Former president Guillermo Endara finished a distant third.{{cite web |url=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-199028861.html |title=Conservative supermarket tycoon wins Panama vote |author=Sara Miller Llana |date=May 3, 2009 |work=Christian Science Monitor |publisher= |accessdate=November 4, 2012}} This was the second-largest majority in Panamanian history, and the largest since 1989. Martinelli's victory was an exception to a trend of victories for left-leaning Latin American candidates.{{cite web |url=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-199203124.html |title=Super 09; Panama's presidential election |date=May 9, 2009 |work=The Economist |publisher= |accessdate=November 4, 2012}} He was sworn in on July 1, 2009.


Martinelli introduced a number of measures designed to alleviate poverty, including a $100 monthly pension for the elderly, an increase in the minimum wage, and subsidies for students to meet the cost of uniforms and supplies.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine