One Laptop Per Panamanian Child

olpc panama president
OLPC XO in Panama?

Did Nicholas Negroponte just announce an OLPC Panama in his comments to Fortune?

"But the Intel news combined with the manufacturing launch shows this project really is going somewhere. Negroponte says the first transfer of money - meaning a firm order - should happen next week, with either Peru or Panama."
Reading that paragraph, I am shocked to hear the inclusion of República de Panamá in the One Laptop Per Child program at this time. According to the OLPC Wiki, Panama is a post-launch phase participating country, which fits into Negroponte OLPC distribution strategy he detailed at Forrester last year:
I say no to small countries. We get, a lot of small countries at the Head of State level, have asked us and Rwanda's one, Panama's one, Dominican Republic's one, uh, Ethiopia's one, I can go through lists.

Now Ethiopia's big and we will probably do Ethiopia, I'll go there shortly. But if it's a very small country, um, it doesn't help us in the launch. But we include them in whatever way we can, and we have a distribution model, because we're supply limited. So we will include them, get machines, and you'll see machines in Panama, you'll see machines in Guatemala, and so on.

And in fact, we do see "$100 laptops" and OLPC interest in Panama. Guillermo Garcia reports there are four XO laptops in Panama and SJ Klein says that OLPC has been involved with the Panamanian chess community around OLPC games.

But four laptops and a chess club do not make Ministers buy XO's, that takes official government purchasing processes. Activities that Negroponte says are much easier now that Intel ♥ OLPC:

The reception to the Intel news in the many developing countries where Negroponte has been indefatigably promoting his computer was "nothing short of euphoria," he says. "A number of government officials e-mailed me to say 'My god this makes my job easier.'"
Or maybe not. Pablo Flores says that Uruguay has delayed the Ceibal Project RFP deadline by a month at the request of participating bidders. While the delay may be unrelated to Intel joining OLPC's Board of Directors, it doesn't bode well for a OLPC Panama announcement this week.

Who knows about an OLPC Peru announcement though? Its always been a mysterious enigma, and resistant to predictions about new arrivals happening B4 this week is out.

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Wayan, there's a lot of hints but no formal information about Peru's transferring money for the acquisition of OLPC computers. The surest way would be to wade into the financial data for the Ministry transparencia/2005/proyectosdeinversion.php but still you'll have to know exactly what to look after.

So, it's a rumour, a very strong rumour, but I haven't seen confirmation yet. In case I do see it, I'll post ASAP.

Guillermo passes to john, john kicks to Klein, the ball approaches a launch date, they kick and it's..
vrooom.. Miss! No launch yet.
July is over and we are still on hold...