Panama, with its large number of Venezuelans, closely followed the Venezuelan election which took place on Sunday, April 14, 2013. Social networks resounded with the reactions of Panama-based Venezuelans as well as Panamanians who wanted to follow what was happening in Venezuela, their near neighbour.
Panamanian daily Día a Día (@DiaaDiaPa) [es] tweeted that some 900 Venezuelans had turned up to vote:
Many Panamanian users followed closely, waiting for results, and some even dared to remember the time Panama spent under dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega. In May 1989, after losing the election, Noriega gave orders to the electoral tribunal to declare the polls null and void. This triggered a series of abuses and arbitrary violence which led to the United States invading Panama. Twitter user Panamá Vieja Escuela (Old School Panama) (@PanamaHistoria) [es] said:
When they learned the results of the polls, a group of supporters of the winner, Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’ vice president, launched fireworks from the Embassy of Venezuela in Panama. Venezuelan resident in Panama, Marian Queen (@inagc) [es] said on her Twitter account:
@inagc: Empleados de la Embajada de Venezuela en Panamá celebrando con fuegos artificiales. Mucho miedo a que los desenchufaran, no?
Supporters of Capriles reacted unpleasantly and tried to enter the Embassy of Venezuela in Panama, accusing the elections of being fraudulent. The police had to intervene to protect the Embassy according to reports from website La Verdad (The Truth) [es]:
La acción policial se produjo después de que simpatizantes del candidato presidencial Henrique Capriles intentaran ingresar la noche del domingo, por la fuerza y en medio de gritos de presunto “fraude”, a la sede diplomática localizada en el quinto piso de una torre en el área bancaria de la capital panameña.
In the end 1,036 Venezuelan citizens exercised their vote from Panama, where the majority voted for the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. Website El Venezolano [es] reported:
Finalmente, Miguel Martínez de la Riva, jefe Del Comando Simón Bolívar en Panamá, aseguró que mil 36 venezolanos votaron en Panamá, de los cuales 991 prefirieron la propuesta del candidato opositor, Henrique Capriles.
Finally, Miguel Martínez de la Riva, head of the Simon Bolivar command in Panama, said that 1,036 Venezuelans voted in Panama, of whom 991 preferred opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.