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International Relations/Technology

Panama will purchase facial recognition system from U.S.

President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, announced yesterday the intention of the Panamanian government to establish a facial recognition system similar to that operating in some United States (U.S.) airports, with the aim of refining the fight against crime in the Central-American country.

"We are going to establish a pilot project in Panama, which we expect to serve as example for other countries of Central America and South America, and perhaps also for the U.S., where the system is only currently being used at three airports," Martinelli said during a news conference in Washington on Wednesday.

The technology needed to implement this pilot project will be purchased from the U.S., said Martinelli, who hopes to foster an "exchange of data bases" with authorities from the U.S., South America, and Europe, in order to "detect if drug dealers, murderers, or other criminals enter our country."

Martinelli announced this on Wednesday to John Morton, Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE, according to its acronym in English), during a formal meeting, in which both talked about regional security.

Prior to his arrival in Washington, the President announced to the Panamanian press his proposal to convert Tocumen International Airport into an alternative customs entry point for the U.S., so that Latin-American tourists can carry out their immigration process there prior to arrival in the U.S.

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