José Isabel Blandón Figueroa was elected Mayor of the City of Panama in the
country´s general elections held on May 4, 2014. He officially began his functions and took
office on July 2, 2014, along with Vice-Mayor Mrs. Raisa Banfield.
After having served four years in the National Assembly, one year as Suplente (Substitute
Legislator) and three as Principal, Mayor Blandón is prepared and eager to face the new
challenges before his Administration. A lawyer by Profession, he is committed to guiding
the development of a more just, culturally rich, educated, harmonious and sustainable
society for the citizens of Panama.
His political career began in 1994, when he was elected as Primer Suplente of Legislator
Marco Ameglio, for the Circuit 8-8 (covering the districts of Betania, Bella Vista, Pueblo
Nuevo and Ancon). During that period, he was recognized for all the interventions he
made in the Pleno (Courts), especially during the process against Magistrate José Manuel
Faúndes. Similarly, he became one of the toughest critics against the privatizations
realized by then-President Ernesto Pérez Balladares and was one of the leading opponents
of the Constitutional Reforms that Pérez Balladares planned to introduce regarding
immediate presidential reelections.
In 1999, as part of the Arnulfista (Panameñista) Party, he was elected Legislator for the
first time. During that period, he achieved the approval of various important projects into
Law, such as the regulation of sworn Statements of Assets (Declaraciones Juradas de
Estado Patrimonial) and the law that establishes the writ of Habeas Data. Blandón
Figueroa has stood-out due to his continuous presence in the media, his active
participation in Parliamentary Debates and his permanent activity in the community.
Between 1999 and 2004, he was Chief of the Arnulfista Bancada (legislator´s bench),
President of the Education, Culture and Sports Commission, and President of the
By his own merit, he was reelected in 2004 and during the consequent two-year period he
directed the Panameñista Bancada (legislator´s bench) and was one of the principal voices
of the Opposition. Despite not being part of the majority in Parliament, he continued
proposing laws and was a firm proponent of the Law for the Control of Tobacco, creating a
strong precedent in Panama and becoming a role model for the rest of Latin America.
In 2009 he was reelected to a second term as Representative (Diputado), this time for the
Circuit 8-7 (covering the districts of Ancón, Betania, Bella Vista, Calidonia, Chorrillo,
Curundú, Pueblo Nuevo, Santa Ana and San Felipe), during which time he was President of
the Commission of Public Finance (Hacienda Pública) and again President of the
Education, Culture and Sports Commission, propelling the General Law on Culture (Ley
General de Cultura).
During his time as Representative, his main concerns were always issues of security,
transparency, citizen involvement, culture and urbanism. He has accompanied the
communities he represented in numberless struggles against projects and decisions that
affected their lives negatively, and has constantly shown support for the promotion of
sports and other cultural activities.
As a leader and member of the Panameñista Party for the past thirteen years, Mayor
Blandón has been member of the National Directory, he was II Vice-President of the Party,
and Prosecutor (Fiscal) for the Executive Committee (2011-2016).
Throughout his career, Mayor Blandón has proved to be a dependable proponent of the
principles with which he began his political career; not as part of a political party to gain
influence but rather, as a young activist during a difficult era of the nation´s history. He
proved his independence and strength of character through political activism, through his
study and practice of the Law, and through his commitment to progress, education,
sustainability and justice for all citizens.
As a young man, his father gave him a copy of the epic poem The Poem of the Cid, telling
of a Castilian hero during the Spanish Reconquista. This would lead him to discover a deep
appreciation of literature and retain him to this day as an avid reader. As a good
“Herrerano” [born in the province of Herrera], Mayor Blandon is also a big fan of baseball
and played quite well throughout his school years. He is married to Yamileth Araúz from
the Panamanian Province of Chiriquí and is father of four children.
About Panama City
The City of Panama, the biggest and most populated in the country, is the main cultural and economic center of Panama. The city was founded back in August 15, 1519, and since then its rich culture and diversity has propelled the city into its current beta global city status. Home of the Panama Canal which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, the city has a prosperous economy driven by agriculture, trade, and tourism. Over the years the City of Panama has evolved into a more global city, with intense economic activity and an international banking center. With a population of about 1.5 million people, the city has a dense skyline as well as a region of tropical forests that surrounds it. Tropical weather is one major characteristic of the city, making the city hot, rainy or both throughout the year. A popular city for tourism and retirement, Panama offers a lot culturally and professionally as well. As for trading, imports and exports, at each end of the Panama Canal there is a port, the Port of Cristobal and the Port of Balboa. They rank 2nd and 3rd respectively in Latin America as the busiest (most container units handled) ports. As of 2016, the Panama Canal is equipped with three sets of locks and is envisioned to continue aiding as a key factor for the city in its trade and economic growth.