PANAMA CITY – Leonardo Zambranok, who moved from Venezuela almost three years ago to take a marketing job with Procter & Gamble Co. in Panama, has watched the wave of violent protests back home and says he knows he made the right choice.“Everyone said I was making a big mistake because they were still making a lot of money,” said Zambranok, 27, who like other Venezuelans fleeing economic and political instability thought the move would be temporary. “Now it’s more insecure than ever and you’re starting to see young people want to move away like crazy.”An exodus that began under the late President Hugo Chávez has gotten a boost under Nicolás Maduro, who vowed to extend his predecessor’s socialist policies after winning elections last April. Venezuelans in Panama predict that a new wave of young, middle-class job seekers will follow them in the wake of shortages of basic goods, accelerating inflation and anti- government demonstrations that have claimed at least 41 lives since February.With close cultural ties, more open immigration laws and plentiful jobs, Panama offers some advantages over traditional destinations like south Florida, Venezuelans say.Panama’s immigration agency said 233,921 Venezuelans entered the country to work or visit last year, up from about 147,000 in 2010. That compares with approximately 223,000 non- immigrant and immigrant visas issued to Venezuelans by the United States last year, according to the State Department. Venezuelans seeking work in Panama often come on a tourist visa and change their status later.For Venezuelans, Panama also offers many of the trappings of home. There are dozens of Venezuelan-run restaurants, yoga studios and bakeries in Panama City. Cable television packages include Globovision, a Venezuelan channel that has sparred with the socialist government since Chavez.Recommended: Desperate for coffee in CaracasCars sporting signs with “SOS Venezuela,” a slogan of anti-Maduro protesters, are regularly seen around Panama City. At pick-up soccer games in the capital, Zambranok said conversations bounce from hardships at home to opportunities in the new locale, with more acquaintances reaching out for work.“Our culture is about relationships, where you know a guy who knows a guy who can help you,” said Zambranok. He shows a photo of a friend standing in front of mayonnaise jars at a Caracas supermarket, taken amid recent shortages. “This is big news when you can get mayonnaise. It’s absurd.”Venezuela’s Information Ministry didn’t respond to a message left by Bloomberg News regarding emigration to Panama and other countries.Under Maduro, Venezuelan inflation has surged to 57 percent, the highest in the world. More than one in four basic goods was out of stock in Latin America’s fourth-largest economy in January, according to the central bank, which has stopped publishing up-to-date scarcity data. The government last month let the bolivar weaken 88 percent in a new currency market, part of a move to increase dollar supplies in South America’s biggest oil exporter.Wedged between Colombia and Costa Rica, Panama has lured workers with economic growth that has averaged about 9 percent per year since 2008 as completion nears on a $5.25 billion expansion of its signature canal. That’s prompted investments in banks, mining and real estate, including a new Hard Rock hotel, and created more jobs.“We’ve had to open up our immigration policy to attract more skilled labor,” Panama Finance Minister Frank De Lima said in an April 9 interview. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, center, speaks during a meeting at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on Feb. 26, 2014. AFP/PresidenciaAs unemployment levels hover near a record low of 4.1 percent, Panama’s immigration agency said this month that it has legalized about 50,000 foreign workers since 2010 in a series of open registrations, called “melting pots.” Of the 5,072 foreign workers approved in the April melting pot, 603 were Venezuelan, the fourth-highest number after immigrants from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.The government also eased requirements to gain residency for immigrants from more than 40 nations deemed friendly to the Central American country. Citizens from the United States and elsewhere can work in Panama or start a business by opening a $5,000 local bank account.Venezuela is not on that list. Even so, Panama has “seen an increase of Venezuelan investment, companies and entrepreneurs in the last couple of years,” De Lima said.Santiago Medina, a 27-year-old Venezuelan stock broker living in Panama, said any aspirations to return home have been dashed by Maduro.“I’d love to go back, but there are too many unknowns right now,” said Medina, who moved to Panama in 2008 and works at Banco General. “I’m way more comfortable here.”Panama experienced a surge of Venezuelan brokerage license applications after Chávez’s 2010 crackdown on financial firms, which sent 11 traders to jail. Eight of 12 firms applying for licenses at the time were from Venezuela, according to Panama’s security regulator.While Medina and Zambranok had visas sponsored by their employers, other Venezuelans said they found jobs initially while under their six-month tourist status and then applied to work legally.Zambranok, who jumped at a transfer offer when his company expanded their offices in Panama City, said the transition has been far easier than it would have been in south Florida.“Panama is still Latin America, it’s a lot more relaxed here,” he said.With assistance from Pietro D. Pitts, Corina Pons and Nathan Crooks in Caracas.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:Showdown looms for Venezuela, as protest leader Leopoldo López vows new march Venezuelan cartoonist fired after sketch slamming health care Venezuela’s crackdown on sales of everyday goods risks alienating loyalists Maduro picks new scapegoat for Venezuela’s problems
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires It could be a match made in draft heaven, but according to Bidwill, him attending the private workout does not mean all that much.“It’s funny, because each year I go to the Scouting Combine and I let the personnel people do their thing,” Bidwill told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday morning. “Steve and his team with the input of Bruce and the coaching staff do a great job, but I attend all those scouting activities and I attend private workouts.“I attend them every year; some of them, people report on, some of them people never report on — we never really announced which ones I go to and which ones I don’t.”Bidwill said he attends the workouts when his schedule allows it because he likes being at them to get a better idea of potential draft picks.Last season, Mahomes threw for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, and in three years with the Red Raiders he passed for 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns, with just 29 picks.The 6-foot-3 quarterback has excellent production and good size for the position, but comes with the question mark of coming from an offense that is nothing like what he would be running at the NFL level for a team like the Cardinals. LISTEN: Michael Bidwill, President of the Arizona Cardinals Your browser does not support the audio element. “We haven’t organized our board yet, we’re in the evaluation process,” he said. “Patrick Mahomes had a great college career, but there are other quarterbacks out there and other players at other positions that have had great careers at their positions, and we’re still evaluating them all.“Again, I think there was a lot made out of that, but don’t read too much into it.” Some Arizona Cardinals fans likely fell into a tizzy when they learned the team held a private workout with Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes.The report came from NFL insider Aaron Wilson, and in it he said the passer “excelled for large contingent of staffers,” which apparently included Cardinals president Michael Bidwill.This would seem notable because Mahomes is viewed as one of the draft’s better quarterback prospects, and the Cardinals just so happen to be interested in selecting a quarterback. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5) scrambles in the pocket before passing in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) So if the Cardinals are indeed interested, it makes sense to learn as much about him as possible.“Patrick Mahomes is one we weren’t able to schedule at the Combine this year, and that was an important one because, again, all the top prospects I meet every year, and whether it’s at the Combine, it’s at our training facility or, on occasion, with private workouts,” Bidwill said. “I’m going to be attending many more private workouts this year — I’m not sure all of them will be leaked out to the media or whatever, but don’t read anything into that.”As so often happens this time of year, Bidwill could be throwing up a smoke screen in an effort to hide his team’s true intentions. In fact, a collection of mock drafts shows Mahomes isn’t really on Arizona’s radar, at least in the first round.That said, Mahomes would make a lot of sense for the Cardinals, perhaps even as high as pick No. 13. In a draft with no sure-thing at the position, he would seem to fit the mold of the kind of quarterback head coach Bruce Arians would like to bring on board.But if Bidwill is to be believed, his involvement in the scouting of a QB who accounted for 115 total touchdowns in three years with Texas Tech really carries no extra meaning. 0 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Want to know some insider secrets? Check out these 9 confessions of an airport baggage handler 7) You get to the destination airport and the taxi driver actually knows the wayGetting a taxi in an unfamilar city is not always an easy ride. Often the driver doesn’t know the way, they’ve never heard of SatNav and they’ve never heard of the place you want to go. This isn’t an issue for you though – as soon as you say the name of your hotel, your driver already has his foot down and he’s on his way. 8) You get a hotel upgradeThe one potential problem of arriving early at a hotel is your room not being ready on time. Not an issue, the staff at the check-in desk seem to have taken a shine to you and announce that you are being upgraded…to a suite. Sea views, a walk-in wardrobe, a fully stocked mini-bar and a jacuzzi bath. Find the best hotel deals with the Skyscanner hotels app9) You meet the love of your life on holidaySingle holidaymakers – this one’s for you. You take a short break to relax and recuperate and one evening, you turn round and the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen walks into the bar and makes a b-line for you. The pair of you immediately hit it off and a holiday romance blossoms. For ladies on the look out for love, check out our 10 holiday romance survival tips for girls10) You car is parked in the car park nearest the terminalYou arrive back home after the best holiday ever and the only thing to think about is the drive home. You know where your keys and parking ticket are – then you remember, you managed to get a spot in the car park nearest the terminal. Perfect.More: 7 secrets to getting an upgrade on your next business flightReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Related13 worst things to hear when you’re on holidayFrom bad weather to haunted hotels and lost luggage; the 13 things you really don’t want to hear on your next trip.20 top airport tips: How to stay calm and save time at the airportA weekend city break, a big family holiday, or a last minute business trip: whatever the reason you find yourself stressed out at the airport, here are a few insider tips from Skyscanner’s seasoned travellers. From secrets on how to jump the check-in queue to how to get an upgrade.…10 things you should never do at the airportAirports can be stressful, alright. While there’s a lot of advice out there for what you should do at an airport, forget there are lots of things that you should never, ever do – from gate lurking to chatting up staff. It’s finally time for your holiday and expectations are sky high. You’ve been counting down the days, your suitcase is by the door and you’re ready for the off. Here’s a guide to the 10 best things that could happen on your next trip. Fingers crossed…1) There’s no queue at the bag drop deskThere were clear roads on the way to the airport, you’ve remembered everything and you arrive at the airport early – this must be too good to be true? Usually there’s a horrendous queue of people waiting to drop their bags off, but what’s this? No queues and you walk straight to the desk – amazing!2) You get a great exchange rateYou’ve left it right until the last moment to get your foreign currency – schoolboy error? Or is it? You head to the exchange counter and miraculously, the exchange rate is even better than the rate you saw online – this day is certainly going well…3) The plane isn’t fullThere’s nothing worse than a cramped plane and a nightmare passenger sitting next you, but no need to worry, as this time, you walk on the plane and see that it’s half empty and there are two free seats next to you. Time to stretch out and pretend you are travelling first class. More: Check out these 10 top tips to make Economy feel like First Class4)You win on the scratch card they sell on the planeYou’re on a low-cost carrier and usually you’re the first person to label the scratch cards as the ‘ultimate con’ but something has tempted you to buy one today. As you scratch the cards to reveal a cluster of matching symbols, you have to get the air stewardess to double-check your ticket, you’ve only gone and won £1000! Holiday spending money – sorted. 5) Your flight arrives early at the destinationYour flight left on time but it arrives 30 minutes earlier than expected, thanks to favourable wind conditions. You now have extra time to explore the city and get settled in.6) All your luggage arrives intact and it’s the first off the luggage carouselWe’ve all been in the frustrating position of staring at the conveyor belt and wondering if our luggage has been lost…not today though. As soon as you walk up to the carousel, the light starts flashing and yours is the first suitcase to come out – could this day get any better?