A massive power outage hit Panama on Sunday, just three days before the arrival of Pope Francis to the Latin American country.
The electric power company ETESA said service to various parts of the country had been affected by “an event in the integrated national system”.
Teams are working to re-establish service as soon as possible.
ETESA, which gave no details on the cause of the outage, said power would be restored gradually.
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Panama from Wednesday until Sunday, January 27 for the World Youth Day festival, which is expected to draw at least 200,000 people.
It would be the 26th foreign trip by the Argentine-born pope since he was chosen to lead the Catholic Church in early 2013.
The last pope to visit was Pope John Paul II during a tour of Central America in 1983, during the time that Manuel Noriega came to power.
Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno was a Panamanian politician and military officer who was the de facto ruler of Panama from 1983 to 1989.
He had longstanding ties to United States intelligence agencies; however, he was removed from power by the U.S. military invasion of Panama.
Before the U.S. invasion, Noriega worked for U.S. intelligence agencies.
Noriega was one of the Central Intelligence Agency‘s (CIA) most valued intelligence sources, as well as one of the primary conduits for illicit weapons, military equipment and cash destined for U.S.-backed counter-insurgency forces throughout Latin America.
The USA also regarded Noriega as an ally in its War on Drugs, despite Noriega himself having amassed a personal fortune through drug trafficking operations. Though his DEA intelligence handlers were aware of this, it was allowed because of his usefulness to the USA.
He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and ultimately served 17 years after a reduction in his sentence and time off for good behavior. So much for helping smuggle cocaine into the USA, under the umbrella of the DEA.
Noriega’s U.S. prison sentence ended in September 2007. But in 2010, Noriega was extradited to France, where he was sentenced to 7 more years of imprisonment for money laundering.
In 2011 France extradited him to Panama, where he was incarcerated for crimes committed during his rule. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in March 2017, Noriega suffered complications during surgery, and died two months later.
Now Noriega is out of the way, the pope comes back to Panama in order to reestablish Vatican relations with the Central American country bordering the lucrative notorious cocaine factory of Colombia.
ABC Flash Point News 2019.