Ex-Panama ambassador expresses regret in wake of severed ties

Panama's former ambassador expressed regret at not raising his voice more when Panama severed ties with Taiwan

Panama's former ambassador Alfredo Martiz Fuentes and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI -- Panama's former ambassador to the Republic of China (Taiwan), Alfredo Martiz Fuentes, has expressed regret at not raising his voice more when Panama severed ties with Taiwan and voiced his affection for Taiwan's people.

Panama announced its decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing on June 13 Taipei time.

While Taiwan received little warning of the move, there were signs that Panama was considering a shift, including when it did not send a new ambassador to Taiwan after Martiz left on April 30 to take over as his country's head of social security.

In a letter linked on his Twitter feed early Sunday, Martiz said he was at fault for not raising his voice when learning of the severance of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

"Owing to the diplomatic circumstances between my country and the Republic of China (Taiwan), I have to acknowledge a sole fault: not having raised my voice when I realized the breaking of diplomatic relations between both countries due to the impact of the news and the pain it causes me to leave such fond and happy memories," he wrote.

But he refused to pass judgment on his country's decision because "it is not my duty to do so," even if noting that the "human effort that enriched my diplomatic undertaking" has become "permanently clouded by the shadow" of Panama's decision.

Martiz, who served as ambassador to Taiwan for two and a half years, also directly addressed the people and government of Taiwan.

"To the People of Taiwan, my deep appreciation and permanent affection. To its Government, my commitment remains as strong as ever, I shall become a bridge and a means as interlocutor," Martiz wrote.

Panama's decision has left Taiwan with 20 diplomatic allies, with more than half of them in Central and South America and the Caribbean.