Panama City — Panamas president-elect, Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo, said the US should pay more attention to Central America or risk losing ground to China, which has won diplomatic support and increased its investment in the region in recent years. Cortizo, of the centre-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), won Sunday’s unexpectedly close presidential election with 33% of the vote and a two-point gap over his nearest rival, the electoral tribunal said. The US-educated former agriculture minister and businessman said that if the US neglected a region it has long considered its backyard, it was inviting China to fill the gap. “We need, and we have asked, that they look towards the region more — the region, not just Panama,” Cortizo said in an interview before voting on Sunday. “They need to pay more attention,” he added. “While they’re not paying attention, another one is making advances.” While US President Donald Trump has berated Central American countries for not doing enough t...

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