Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83, president says

Marsha Scott
May 31, 2017

"Noriega recently underwent an operation after suffering a hemorrhage following brain surgery".

Eisenmann also mocked Noriega for taking refuge in the Vatican Embassy when USA troops invaded in December 1989, instead of standing his ground like a soldier.

His relationship with the U.S. defined his rise and fall as one of Latin America's strongmen.

As Torrijos' intelligence chief, Noriega monitored political opponents and developed close ties with US intelligence agencies guarding against possible threats to the canal.

With US officials in the know, Noriega had formed "the hemisphere's first narcokleptocracy", a US Senate subcommittee report said, calling him "the best example in recent US foreign policy of how a foreign leader is able to manipulate the United States to the detriment of our own interests".

-Dec. 11, 2011: Sent back to Panama and immediately imprisoned.

The de facto dictator would leave those official (and empty) titles to the series of puppet civilian presidents whose electoral victories he'd help engineer behind the scenes, a convenient fiction he would maintain until the twilight of his rule in 1989.

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Noriega was the first foreign head of state to be convicted in a USA court, and the trial also led to revelations that Noriega had been a paid Central Intelligence Agency asset for many years. He was propped up by US officials, who paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight drug trafficking.

In 2015, he apologized to his country for the offenses of his regime and his own actions that led up to the 1989 USA invasion, and his ouster. A former dictator, he was at times an informant and an ally, but ultimately an enemy who was ousted by an invasion of American troops in 1989. He was 83-years-old. Noriega is survived by his wife and three daughters.

-May 17, 1984: Electoral court declares Noriega-backed Nicholas Ardito Barletta as victor of presidential election as opposition alleges fraud.

Noriega spent almost three decades behind bars in the United States, France and Panama following his ouster in 1989.

The next day Noriega was transferred to Miami for prosecution that would be sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug trafficking. He was later jailed in the United States on charges involving drugs and money laundering.

But the United States exhausted of his increasingly repressive role internally in Panama, and there were indications he was selling his services to other intelligence bodies, not to mention drug-trafficking organisations. As part of the operation, United States military invaded Panama and took control of Noriega. After completing that sentence, he was extradited to France to serve time for money laundering.

"Before the altar of my conscience I've come to express myself in the spirit of forgiveness", Noriega said. Faced with the sanity-destroying power of middle-American mallrat music, Noriega surrendered.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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