Ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega dead
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 09, 2017,
Jun 09, 2017, 1:39
Though dates vary, Noriega was most likely born in 1934.
Noriega, who studied at a military academy in Peru, supported Gen. Omar Torrijos in a coup that ousted President Arnulfo Arias in 1968. Among other tactics, USA forces blared loud rock music from Humvees parked outside the embassy to drive Noriega out.
In 1983, two years after Torrijos' death in a mysterious plane crash, Noriega - nicknamed "pineapple face" for his pock-marked visage - took charge of the now-defunct National Guard and became Panama's de facto ruler.
Worth noting, Noriega was an informant to the United States for decades.
His relationship with the U.S. defined his rise and fall as one of Latin America's strongmen.
At a point in time when leftist movements were on the rise in Central and Latin American countries, Noriega proved to be an important intermediary force to the United States.
The former Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, has died died aged 83.
Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela also tweeted: "closes a chapter in our history; his daughters and their families deserve a burial in peace".
Noriega soon became a regular informant for the Americans and was rewarded with an estimated $320,000, although he claimed at his trial in 1990 he was a prize asset that cost the Central Intelligence Agency millions. Beginning on December 25, 1989, US forces blasted '80s rock music - Noriega was a big opera fan - toward the embassy in an attempt to force him out.
Leaders who led coups against him were summarily executed by firing squads.
In February 1988, Noriega was indicted on federal cocaine trafficking and money laundering charges. The U.S. Congress ended economic aid and military assistance to Panama in 1987. He nullified elections which were easily easily won by the opposition.
A year later, then-US president George H W Bush ordered the invasion. The defense cited court documents describing him as the "CIA's man in Panama" and argued that the indictment "smells all the way from here to Washington". As part of the operation, U.S. military invaded Panama and took control of Noriega.
You need to be Logged in to sign up for Express Login. Upon return, he joins Panama's military, the National Guard, becoming chief of western province of Chiriqui. He was said to be a TV news junkie and a voracious reader about politics and current events.
With the knowledge of U.S. officials, Noriega formed "the hemisphere's first narcokleptocracy", a U.S. Senate subcommittee report said, calling him "the best example in recent U.S. foreign policy of how a foreign leader is able to manipulate the United States to the detriment of our own interests".