Ex-Panamanian dictator Noriega, ousted in US invasion, dies at 83

Posted June 07, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Manuel Noriega, former Panamanian dictator, has died at age 83.

An operation in March aimed to remove a brain tumour but Noriega suffered a brain haemorrhage and had been in a coma since a second attempt at surgery. After U, S. observers accused him of stealing the 1989 election, President George H.W. Bush launched the Operation Just Cause invasion, sending in almost 28,000 troops.

Noriega was indicted in a U.S. federal court on drug-trafficking charges in 1988 and, after USA observers declared he had stolen the 1989 election, President George HW Bush launched the "Operation Just Cause" invasion, sending in almost 28,000 troops.

Noriega's promotion to full general of 1983 made him the de facto leader of Panama, which at the time had no control over the Panama Canal Zone, an area of US control surrounding the canal.

April 2010: Noriega is extradited to France, where he faces charges of laundering $3 million from the Medellin drug cartel through French banks.

Born in 1938 in Panama City, Noriega underwent extensive training in military and intelligence services before being hired as a CIA informant. He is survived by his wife and three daughters. When Escobar's group assassinated Colombian Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla in 1984, several drug lords in Escobar's network sought refuge across the border, allegedly under the protection of Noriega.

Noriega supported one of the coup leaders, General Omar Torrijos, who promoted him to head the feared G-2 military intelligence unit.

Noriega was a Cold War ally of the United States in a region where Soviet-backed insurgencies threatened American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere.

Noriega, once on friendly terms with the United States because of his country's location on the Panama Canal, became a USA target as relations deteriorated.

President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela made the announcement.

In an interview on Panamanian TV two years ago, Noriega read out a statement of apology. No to allowing the United States to run a school for dictators [the USA military's School of the Americas] any longer in Panamanian territory. "You may think what you like of Noriega, but we can't say he was anything but respectful toward his neighbors". "Even though there's a small sector that yearns for the Noriega era, it is not a representative figure in the country".

"Before the altar of my conscience I've come to express myself in the spirit of forgiveness", Noriega said. When the people of the country rose in protest against his dictatorial methods, he declared a national emergency and shut down media outlets and sent his opponents on exile.