Dr. Miguel Antonio Bernal is a Professor in the School of Law of the University of Panama. In the days of the Military Dictatorship in Panama (1968-1989), he was one of the leading critics of the Panama Canal Treaty (Carter-Torrijos Treaty). Among others, he maintained that the Treaty was not convenient for Panama. He was beaten up by the Panama Defense Forces in 1977 for demonstrating against the Treaty.
Others like student Jorge Camacho were not so lucky. Camacho was killed in the riots that took place prior to the visit of President James Carter to Panama City.
Thirteen years after President´s Carter visit, the U.S. used the Canal Treaty as the legal basis for the invasion of Panama. 500 hundred people were killed among Panama Defense Forces personnel trying to contain the U.S. and civilians caught in the crossfire.
Year 2005: Dr. Bernal appeared on TV and accused the Dean of the University of Panama, Dr. Carlos García de Paredes, of having a corruption ring of spurious enrollments in the University. Foreign students spend many years in the country as students but you never see them in class or anywhere else. What some people would say they do is that they have a student visa and use it to work legally in the country. They probably pay a lot of money for the student visas and probably there is a network that includes contacts in panamanian embassies abroad, contacts in the Immigration Direction and in the University of Panama.
To make matters worse for the ruling party, the outstanding absence of well known people participating in the contest for this position will make the decision very difficult for the ruling party in the National Assembly.