Varela Rodríguez, Juan Carlos, 1963–, Panamanian business executive and political leader, B.S. Georgia Institute of Technology, 1985. He worked in his family's distillery business, Varela Hermanos, before going into politics. A member of the Panameñista party, he became party leader in 2006 and was its presidential candidate in 2008, but ultimately formed an alliance with his rival, Ricardo Martinelli, and was elected vice president in 2009. Varela also served as foreign minister (2009–11) before his relationship with the president soured. In 2014 Varela won election to the presidency, defeating Martinelli's hand-picked candidate, José Domingo Arias.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Panama History: Biographies