Nicolás Ardito Barletta was President of the Republic of Panama from 1984 to 1985. He belonged to the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD).
From 1968 until 1970 and 1973 until 1978, as a University of Chicago–trained economist, Barletta was one of General Omar Torrijos's trusted advisers as minister of planning and economic policy. He resigned from that position to become World Bank vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In late 1983, he was approached by President Ricardo de la Espriella about running for president as de la Espriella's successor. The election was the country's first after 16 years of military rule, something that had been agreed to during US negotiations that led to the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty in 1977 (Ardito Barletta was among the negotiators for Panama). In his inaugural address, the newly elected president pledged to repair the economy, fight corruption, and unite Panama's political parties.
Later on, Ardito Barletta was General Administrator of the Interoceanic Region Authority (ARI) from 1995 to 2000, an agency in charge of receiving, administrating, planning, and incorporating the former Canal Zone to national development.