Bernie Sanders Warned Congress About Panama's Tax Havens In 2011

Reno Berkeley

Once again, history has proven Bernie Sanders to be exceedingly prophetic. On Twitter, David Sirota of IB Times posted an excerpt of a 2011 speech Sanders gave to the Senate regarding the Panama Free Trade Agreement. In the speech, Sanders questioned the U.S. government's motives for urging such an agreement and cited Panama's reputation for being a tax haven.

The PFTA, he warned, would neuter the United States' authority and force the country to accept illegal behavior from tax cheats.

"…the trade agreement with Panama would effectively bar the U.S. from cracking down on illegal and abusive offshore tax havens in Panama. In fact, combating tax haven abuse in Panama would be a violation of this free trade agreement, exposing the U.S. to fines from international authorities."

The leaks also come at a time when people around the world are feeling anger and frustration at increasingly callous and insensitive leaders who seem to do more for themselves than for their constituents. Whether it will spur violence, peaceful protests, or even suspicious deaths among some of those involved in the leaks remains to be seen.

The German paper which broke the leak, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, has not released any information yet on Americans; however, those may come later. Regardless, of whether SZ releases U.S. information, it is clear that Bernie Sanders was right when he questioned the PFTA, which Hillary Clinton vigorously supported.

After Congress approved the U.S.-Panama trade agreements, along with the U.S.-Columbia and the U.S.-Korea agreements, Hillary Clinton released the following statement.

"The Free Trade Agreements passed by Congress tonight will make it easier for American companies to sell their products to South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which will create jobs here at home. The Obama Administration is constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the worked and these agreements are an example of that commitment."

"Finally, Panama is also listed by the State Department as a major venue for Mexican and Colombian drug cartel money laundering. Should we be rewarding this country with a free trade agreement? I think the answer should be a resounding no."

Since the 1960s, Bernie Sanders has fought for everyday Americans against corruption and economic inequality. The Panama Papers leak simply highlights how widespread and deep that corruption really goes.

[Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images]